Friday’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:

* Despite the talk of lowering expectations, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC is launching a massive $3.1 million ad buy in Iowa. If Romney loses Iowa now, it looks even worse.

* Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann both dropped out of the upcoming NewsMax debate, to be moderated by Donald Trump.

* With only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum agreeing to participate, Trump himself acknowledged this morning that the debate may be scrapped.

* In a new national Fox News poll, Gingrich leads the GOP field with 36% support, followed by Romney with 23%. No other candidate comes close.

* Struggling badly in a state where he hoped to win, Rick Perry will soon launch a two-week, 42-city bus tour of Iowa. He’s also making increasingly-aggressive ad buys.

* Speaking of Perry advertising, this week’s anti-gay culture-war ad was so out there, his lead pollster, Tony Fabrizio, objected to it and called it “nuts.”

* In perhaps the best news of the year for the Santorum campaign, the former senator will pick up Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s (R) endorsement today.

* At the national level, the Republicans’ “enthusiasm gap” advantage appears to be shrinking.

* In the latest Public Poling Polling Surveys, President Obama leads Romney and Gingrich in Colorado, while in North Carolina, Obama leads Gingrich and is tied with Romney.

* After hinting at a variety of options, unhinged Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) will seek a second term, running in Illinois’ redrawn 8th district, which is more Democratic-friendly than it was the last cycle.

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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.