The Note

The Senator dabbled in gas politics Monday during a town hall in Sacramento, saying, "This administration has one economic policy: three million jobs lost and driving gas prices to $3 a gallon."

In San Francisco, Kerry sounded a similar theme: "Those are not Exxon prices; those are Halliburton prices, ladies and gentlemen."

Read more from the trail with Kerry on abcnews.com: LINK

Karen Hughes' "Ten Minutes to Normal":

Following her interview with Barbara Walters on last night's "20/20" uber-aide Karen Hughes sat down with ABC News' Claire Shipman to chat about life in Austin and her "more influential than ever" role in the Bush-Cheney campaign. "She's cooking spaghetti sauce at home in Austin these days," shipman Noted, "but Karen Hughes, it turns out, may still be the most powerful woman in the White House."

Hughes said that she loves the days when she's home and "just don't have to wash my hair or put on makeup," but added that she's never been that far from the White House. Would she have helped had she been in Washington the last couple of years? "There are times when maybe it would have been good for me to have been there and I haven't been there," she said. She called the day the president landed on an aircraft carrier during golden light "an earthquake."

Does she miss it? "When there's great moments like the capture of Saddam Hussein, it would be fun to be there," Hughes said. "But that doesn't compare with the opportunity to be here and drive — teach my son to drive." ("You didn't drive him crazy?" Shipman asked. "I tried to be quiet — very unlike myself" she responded with pride.)

And Hughes recalled this candid conversation which every reporter following the verbal slip-prone President has wanted to have. Following a speech in which he meant to say that terrorists "underestimated" American compassion, Hughes told Bush, "you said 'misunderestimate.' 'I did not,' he said. Andy Card helpfully said, 'three times.' He glared at me and said, 'You know, a bunch of second-guessers, that's all they are' — and walked off. Later that day on the plane under his breath he said, 'I want you to always tell me when I screw up.'"

Veepstakes:

Brian Blomquist of the New York Post reports Kerry hopes to announce his vice presidential running mate by the end of May. LINK

Dan Quayle has some veepstakes advice for Sen. Kerry, courtesy of Rush & Molloy. LINK

John Edwards "yearns" to be vice president, reports Katherine Seeyle of the New York Times in a near must-read, Noting that he "knows the dance of nonchalance that aspiring to the vice presidency requires." LINK

The politics of national security:

"The new chief American weapons inspector in Iraq has prepared a classified report on the hunt for illicit weapons there and will brief two Senate committees in closed sessions on Tuesday about his interim findings," reports Doug Jehl of the New York Times. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

The Wall Street Journal editorial page applauds Congress' efforts to cut $100 billion from the six-year highway authorization bill but warns that this "could open the spending floodgates in an election year, and further alienate fiscally conservative voters who are already wondering if there is still a point to having a GOP Congress."

ABC News Vote 2004: battlegrounds:

The Washington Post's Maraniss profiles the voter of Dubuque, Iowa who are "torn between inherent support of the military and concerns about the course of events in Iraq." LINK

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