If the latest report pans out, Ron Paul has leaped out of the asterisk box in the GOP campaign. His largely online funding, if verified, would put him on a par with McCain. Money quote:

Observers close to the campaign are revealing – with some astonishment – that donations to the campaign in recent weeks have pushed the total up to perhaps $4 or $5 million. "That's a huge number at this stage," says one observer. "That starts to put him in a position where he can compete – state by state, anyway – with the major candidates."

I'd credit the Internet, wouldn't you? Stay tuned for confirmation. If it holds up, it means he's in this race for a good while yet - which is good for philosophical diversity in the GOP.

(Hat tip: Radley. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty.)