Thursday’s campaign round-up

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that won’t necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* Concerns about Tim Pawlenty’s campaign finances were intensified this morning by a report showing that “at least five” of his top advisers have been working for “little or not pay” for several months.

* Newt Gingrich explained yesterday why everyone involved in his campaign has a habit of quitting. “Philosophically, I am very different from normal politicians,” Gingrich said. He was speaking at the Atlanta Press Club, because he can no longer afford to fly to Iowa or New Hampshire.

* Jon Huntsman believes he can do well in Republican nominating contests, even if Republican voters don’t like him, because independents can vote in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. “These are wide open primaries, we forget that,” Huntsman told reporters yesterday.

* Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain told an Iowa audience yesterday that Jon Stewart mocked him because he’s “a black conservative.” I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Stewart’s motivation, but “The Daily Show” should get a good segment out of this.

* It seems very hard to believe, but a poll from Vanderbilt University shows President Obama leading all of his major Republican rivals in Tennessee. Obama lost in Tennessee in 2008 by more than 15 points, and it seems unlikely the re-election campaign will even give the Volunteer State a second look.

* The Michigan Republican Party continues to struggle in its search for a credible challenger to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) next year. In the latest recruiting setback, the party reached out to a retired hockey player who also passed on the race. State House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) is also facing pressure, but doesn’t want to run, either.

* And Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), one of the House’s great liberal champions, will reportedly announce her retirement early next week. Woolsey is in her 10th term.