* RALEIGH, N.C. - Democratic presidential candidate JOHN EDWARDS recently pulled out of a debate co-hosted by Fox News Channel, saying the cable network has a conservative slant.

It's the second time Edwards has decided to skip a debate because of its affiliation with Fox News.

Edwards decided in March that he would pass on an Aug. 14 debate in Reno, Nev., co-hosted by Fox News and the Nevada Democratic Party.

The Nevada Democratic Party canceled that debate just days after the Edwards announcement, citing comments by Fox News President Roger Ailes that the party found offensive. Ailes had made a joke comparing the name of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to that of Osama bin Laden.

IN ANOTHER MATTER, Edwards wants the Internal Revenue Service to calculate and complete the income-tax returns of up to 50 million taxpayers annually.

In a podcast the campaign will post on its Web site on Saturday, Edwards says the U.S. tax code is unnecessarily complicated and full of loopholes that favor the wealthy over the working class.

* NEW YORK - Sen. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON'S campaign announced Friday that she would participate in a presidential debate sponsored by the South Carolina Democratic Party. All the announced Democratic contenders have now agreed to participate in the debate, which will take place at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg on April 26.The debate will be the first time they engage with one another directly in front of an audience.

Other candidates participating are Sens. Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden; former Sen. John Edwards; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich; and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

IN ANOTHER MATTER, Clinton stepped off the presidential campaign trail for a few days, heading to the Dominican Republic to spend Easter weekend at the swank Punta Cana Resort and Spa.

She was joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, at the home of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

* WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate and former Wisconsin governor TOMMY THOMPSON raised just under $400,000 in the first quarter of the year, putting him well behind leading Republican candidates.

According to numbers provided to the Associated Press, Thompson raised $386,795 in the first three months of the year and finished the reporting period with $139,723. The top GOP fundraiser, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, raised $23 million in that time.

- Associated Press