CHUTZPAH WATCH…. On the campaign trail, John McCain and Sarah Palin characterize a $3 million earmark to study bear DNA in Montana as “evil” and “corrupt.” What they fail to mention is that Palin requested a $3.2 million earmark to study the genetics of harbor seals, and an additional $500,000 earmark to study the mating habits of crabs.

It was amusing, then, to hear McCain appear on “The View” this morning and boast about Palin’s terrific record on earmarks.

McCain initially boasted that Palin would be able to “reform … all of Washington.” That, of course, doesn’t make any sense. Pressed for something resembling a detail, McCain said Palin has, and apparently will, reform “earmark spending.” When reminded that Palin took all kinds of earmark money in Alaska, McCain said, “No, not as governor she didn’t.” Asked about Palin’s mayoral tenure, McCain ignored the question.

McCain is either lying or he’s hopelessly confused about reality. ThinkProgress notes the ways in which Palin actively sought earmarks at the local and state level, and CQ reports on the $200 million in earmarks Palin requested in earmarks just this year.

The entire argument is so patently absurd, it’s almost frightening that McCain seems to mean it. His running mate not only accepted ridiculous earmark spending, she hired a lobbyist connected to Jack Abramoff to make sure she got as much pork as possible.

Why on earth would McCain go on national television and claim Sarah Palin never requested earmarks as governor? He either knows that’s false or should know that’s false. Either way, the distance between reality and McCain’s rhetoric keeps getting larger.

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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.