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:

* Asked this morning if rising unemployment would help her presidential campaign, Michele Bachmann (R) said, “I hope so.”

* On a related note, Bachmann yesterday became the first Republican presidential candidate to sign the Family Leader pledge in Iowa, which vows, among other things, to support a ban on pornography.

* Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty has a new message: he’s glad Minnesota’s government shut down.

* Karl Rove’s attack operation, Crossroads GPS, is launching the second phase of its $20 million summer ad campaign, spending $7 million on negative ads targeting Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).

* Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, left a voice mail seeking a donation from the president of Koch Industries. That, apparently, didn’t go over well.

* In an odd twist, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney told a group of New Hampshire voters the other day, “Unions have played a very important role historically in balancing in some cases the egregious actions of some employers.” That’s not the GOP message at all.

* Will Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) run for the open Senate seat in Wisconsin next year? She acknowledged this week that she’s “very likely to run,” though former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) has not yet shared his intentions, and Feingold’s decision would probably influence Baldwin’s plans.

* For whatever reason, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) is apparently running for president, and at this point, won’t say whether he intends to seek re-election to the House after his presidential campaign falters.

* And in Montana, state Sen. Dave Wanzenreid (D) ended his gubernatorial campaign yesterday, apparently to make room for Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) to run.

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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.