The Welch Effect continues. Not only did John McCain disappoint supporters with a $12.5 million fundraising haul in January-March, he's got only $3.4 million left to spend once you factor in his debts.

McCain, an Arizona Republican who raised less money than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also spent a bigger percentage of his campaign treasury than his rivals, according to federal reports filed electronically over the weekend.

From January through March, McCain raised about $13 million. But he spent $8.4 million, leaving him with just under $5.2 million at the end of the quarter. The campaign reported $1.8 million in debt, as well.

The figures underscore the difficult political position McCain is in as he struggles to restore some energy to his bid for the White House. Once the heavy favorite in the GOP field, McCain now trails Giuliani by double figures in some national polls. He also lags former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who has not announced whether he will run.

It sounds a little like a Don LaFontaine voiceover, doesn't it? "He wanted to take the money out of politics. But he's about to discover… that sometimes… you get what you wish for!"

Seriously, McCain's last act in politics is providing a good argument against public financing. If the candidates' purses were being filled up with public or matching funds, Romney, Giuliani and Thompson wouldn't be able to build the advantage they're building over McCain, and come April 2008 or so the party would be stuck with him.