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:

* A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Herman Cain leading the Republican presidential field at the national level with 25%, up eight points from early October and up 20 points since mid September. Mitt Romney is second with 21%.

* Rick Perry’s presidential campaign this morning began pressing Romney to make his tax returns public — a step Romney refused to take in all of his many previous attempts at public office.

* Perry will kick off his first televised campaign commercials this week, buying ad time in Iowa with 10 weeks to go before the caucuses.

* Perry has also hired Joe Allbaugh, the campaign manager for George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign, to serve as a senior adviser.

* Cain promised yesterday that, if elected, he would sign a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortions. Cain doesn’t realize that presidents cannot sign or veto constitutional amendments.

* Ron Paul’s latest money-bomb effort is going very well, with the congressman raising nearly $3 million in small donations over the five days for his strange presidential campaign.

* Cain and Newt Gingrich will get together for a Lincoln-Douglas style debate in Texas next month. I don’t know why.

* In Ohio, former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin (R) is ending his U.S. Senate campaign, all but assuring a race next year pitting State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) against incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

* And in Florida, former Sen. George LeMieux (R), hoping to return to the chamber, announced yesterday he’d like to see college tuition rates become more expensive, not less. That ought to help deliver the youth vote, right?

Steve Benen

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.