Monday’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:

* President Obama will begin a three-day bus tour of the Midwest today, starting with a town-hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. He’ll hit Iowa soon after.

* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was introduced this morning as the new chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association, succeeding Rick Perry. McDonnell is also making no effort to hide his interest in being considered for the 2012 vice presidential nomination.

* With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, his rivals have been eager to say nice things about him. There’s no great mystery here: the remaining candidates wouldn’t just like an endorsement, they’re also hoping to woo Pawlenty’s staffers, donors, and supporters.

* On a related note, Pawlenty was asked yesterday if he’d like to be part of the 2012 ticket. “I’ve been down that road before,” he said, referencing 2008. “That’s not something I’m even going to consider.”

* Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday that she doesn’t “judge” gay people. As even casual observers have probably noticed, Bachmann has spent most of her political career condemning the LGBT community.

* Rep. Allen West (R) of Florida, seven months into his first term, has not yet ruled out running for the U.S. Senate next year. The extremist Republican conceded to a South Florida television station last week that “the door is cracked very slightly” on a campaign against Sen. Bill Nelson (D).

* And in Pennsylvania, Republican Tim Burns, who has twice lost U.S. House campaigns, has met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee about possibly running against Sen. Bob Casey (D) next year. To date, Republicans have struggled badly to find a credible challenger.

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Steve Benen

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.