PALIN’S BOOK-BANNING EFFORTS…. There’s been a list making the rounds lately, showing books that Sarah Palin allegedly tried to ban from Wasilla’s public library during her mayoral tenure. The list isn’t true, and in some instances, doesn’t even make sense (some the books hadn’t even been published in 1996, when the incident is alleged to have occurred).

The McCain campaign is apparently aware of the rumor, and is pushing back.

The McCain-Palin team is continuing its pushback campaign against stories about VP nominee Sarah Palin that have taken on a life of their own on the Internet.

On Monday, they sent reporters a memo in response to reports that the Wasilla, Alaska resident had tried to ban a lengthy list of books when she was mayor of that town.

“This is categorically false. The fact is that as Mayor, Palin never asked anyone to ban a book and not one book was ever banned, period,” McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said, directing reporters to campaign research “debunking this smear.”

While the purported list is bogus, we do know that something happened with regards to Palin and at least a question about book banning.

Time reported last week, for example, that Palin asked the Wasilla librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, about the process for banning books. Baker was reportedly “aghast” at the question. Soon after taking office, Palin, according to a New York Times report, fired Baker, and news reports from the time indicate that Palin thought Baker hadn’t done enough to give her “full support” to the mayor.

Palin reversed course on Baker’s dismissal after a local outcry, and later said the discussions about banning books were “rhetorical.”

I can understand why the McCain campaign is pushing back against a bogus list that’s making the rounds. Deceptive claims are deceptive claims, no matter who the target is. But as long as McCain aides are talking about this issue, maybe they can answer a couple of additional questions, such as, “Why did Palin try to fire the librarian in the first place?” Or how about, “Why did Palin broach the subject of book-banning if she had no intention of trying to ban books?”

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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.