McCain's first quarter fundraising tanks

Here’s what Hotline predicted for the GOP a few days ago:

Romney: $19M-$21M. Actual figure: $23M (including a $2.35M loan he made to the campaign).
Giuliani: $12M-$15M. Actual figure: $15M, including $10M in March after he joined the race in earnest.
McCain: $18M-$22M. Actual figure: …$12.5M. The good news is, he actually had many more donations than Romney did. The bad news is … well, the bad news is just all kinds of bad. Where are all the big conservative donors on the Straight Talk Express? McCain’s big draw is that he’s supposed to be electable: more socially conservative than Rudy, more experienced than Mitt, a war hero capable of attracting independents, etc. How did he end up behind Rudy when Rudy’s only been running for two months? Is it just that no one’s excited about him anymore?

His guy’s pulling three percent in some polls right now so I’m going to give Barnett a platform to exult for once:

[A]s a Romney supporter, I’ll appraise today’s developments as two pieces of really good news and one piece of non-news. The first piece of good news is that these numbers buttress the argument that I’ve long made that people who get to know Romney (like I did long ago) find him incredibly impressive. Extrapolating this out to the distant days when Americans actually head to the ballot box, if the country gets to know him the way his supporters have, he’ll be hard to beat.

The other piece of good news, as mentioned above, is that Romney is proving to be innovative and dynamic at this part of presidential campaigning. At the risk of gushing, Romney’s numbers are fairly remarkable for a guy who’s still unknown to most of the country and in single digits in the polls. The hope here in the heart of Romney country is that the fund-raising innovations and prowess will ultimately be reflected in all aspects of the campaign.

Which sort of leads us to the piece of non-news: The money in itself means very little. This quarter’s numbers were a hurdle the candidates had to get over to be able to run a legitimate campaign. All the top tier candidates, even McCain with his disappointing results, sailed over the hurdle with ease.

Hillary raked in $26 million to lead everyone but Obama’s people haven’t released his numbers yet, possibly to build anticipation for a dramatic announcement. Some rumors say $21M, some say much more than that. Hotline even gives him an outside shot of topping Hillary, which would be an atomic bombshell. Can it happen? Barry O, outpacing the Clinton machine?