July 11, 2008

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Countdown guest host Rachel Maddow (and again, I ask, why does this woman not have her own show?) and Newsweek's Richard Wolff don't get trapped in the weeds of John McCain's truthiness over his bizarre assertion in an interview that he recited the Steeler offensive line-up when asked about his Vietnamese captors for the names of his squadron when all his past recountings of this story (including his published memoirs and a TV movie based on the same), it was the Packers' line-up. Instead, they discuss whether this compulsive and near constant exploitation of his POW days during his campaign ends up diminishing the experience and inuring his audience to it.

MADDOW: The McCain campaign is claiming that the Steeler story is an honest mistake. One of many, it would seem. So our choices here appear to be a) Sen. McCain's memory is so bad that he can no longer be counted on to remember much of anything; or b) he will say pretty much anything to be President, even pander on the very issue that's supposed to define him: the years he spent in a prisoner of war camp. Which one of those options is politically palatable here?

WOLFF: ...What we're seeing here might be a memory problem, I somehow doubt it. I think this is a... another sign of the exploitation of this compelling story, this compelling piece of John McCain's life story. And the problem is that the more you repeat this stuff-and where you repeat it in error and in excess-the less powerful that becomes. I mean, the reason in 2000 his aides said he wasn't trying to talk about his life story-even when he was---was because they knew that it was somehow precious and to be brought out when he really needed it. The problem about bringing it out every time is that it's no longer powerful.

So, has McCain gone too far pandering out his POW experience? Has he cheapened it so much that he needs to stop talking about it?

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