MCCAIN AND BIN LADEN…. Last night, ABC News’ Charlie Gibson asked John McCain to respond to a line from Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last week.

GIBSON: Serious reaction to this statement: “John McCain says he’d follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.”

MCCAIN: Well, look, President Clinton [had] opportunities to get Osama bin Laden. President Bush had opportunities to get Osama bin Laden. I know how to do it and I’ll do it.

I’ve noticed that McCain has been using similar rhetoric for quite a while. In June, he declared at a town-hall forum, “I will look you in the eye and promise you that I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.” In January, McCain hinted that he has a secret plan to get the al Qaeda leader.

Maybe the bravado will work on some voters. It’s possible people want to hear McCain “promise” to “get” bin Laden. His line — “I know how to do it and I’ll do it” — may even sound compelling, just so long as you don’t think about it too much.

If McCain knows how to get OBL, why not share his ideas with, say, the White House and the Pentagon? That way, the plan could be implemented now and the al Qaeda leader could be brought to justice before he could launch additional attacks.

Expanding on this subject in January, McCain added that he has his “own ideas” about capturing bin Laden, but it would “require implementation of certain policies and procedures that only as the president of the United States can be taken.”

But if there are “certain policies and procedures” that could lead to OBL’s capture, and a president could implement those policies and procedures now, why wouldn’t McCain stop by the Oval Office for a chat with the Commander in Chief about how best to proceed?

It’s probably because McCain doesn’t “know how to do it” and there is no secret plan. He’s just making foolish promises with the hopes that Americans fall for his nonsense.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.