WEDNESDAY’S CAMPAIGN ROUND-UP….Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that wouldn’t generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers.

* Al Franken is on the Hill today for a two-day visit aimed at “preparing him for the Senate, both in terms of policy and in terms of familiarizing himself with the institution of the Senate and how it operates.” Norm Coleman’s legal efforts, meanwhile, are not letting up.

* John McCain formally announced yesterday that he will seek a fifth Senate term next year.

* Sarah Palin, after having agreed to headline CPAC this year, announced yesterday that she will skip the far-right conference. She cited “duties of governing,” but since that’s unlikely to be true, many are wondering what the real reason is for Palin’s cancellation.

* Former Sen. Jim Talent (R) has decided not to mount a comeback and will skip Missouri’s Senate race next year.

* The Quinnipiac poll showing Joe Lieberman struggling in Connecticut also showed Sen. Chris Dodd (D) looking pretty vulnerable. The poll found 51% of voters in the state who aren’t inclined to re-elect Dodd, presumably stemming from controversies surrounding his mortgage. Dodd may face former Rep. Rob Simmons (R), who could make the race competitive.

* Tom Schieffer, who served as U.S. Ambassador to both Australia and Japan under George W. Bush, is considering a gubernatorial campaign in Texas — as a Democrat. Schieffer said this week that he’s always been a Dem, and supported Barack Obama both in the primaries and in the general election.

* Justin Ruben has been named the new executive director of, replacing Eli Pariser, who is poised to become the president of the organization’s board of directors.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.