MCCAIN EXPLAINS THE ‘FUNDAMENTALS’…. In “The Princess Bride,” after Vizzini uses the word “inconceivable” once too many times, Inigo Montoya says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The same clearly applies to John McCain and the word “fundamentals.”

This morning, campaigning in Florida, in the midst of a crisis on Wall Street, McCain repeated his argument that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Not surprisingly, the Obama campaign wasted no time in bringing attention to McCain’s odd remarks.

This afternoon, carefully reading from a prepared text, McCain insisted that the fundamentals of the economy really are strong, just so long as he gets to redefine the word “fundamentals.”

“My opponents may disagree, but those fundamentals of America are strong,” McCain said this afternoon in Orlando. “No one can match an American worker. Our workers sell more goods to more markets than any other on earth. Our workers have always been the strength of our economy, and they remain the strength of our economy today.”

Fascinating. Most policy makers would look at “fundamentals” like economic growth, wages, unemployment, inflation, trade imbalance, value of the dollar, budget deficit, interest rates, etc. But not McCain, who believes the “fundamentals” of the economy are the American people. I see.

So, by McCain’s reasoning, the only time the “fundamentals” of the economy are weak is when Americans are awful. Or, as Atrios put it, “McCain has now defined the fundamentals of the economy as ‘workers and small businesses,’ so if you suggest something is wrong with the economy you’re insulting workers. This follows the Bush strategy of saying that criticizing his Iraq policies is insulting the troops.”

I realize there are some sycophantic supporters of the McCain/Palin ticket, but I have a hard time imagining how any reasonable person could actually believe McCain’s nonsensical spin. He got caught saying something foolish — it would have been much smarter of him to walk it back, rather than double down on it.

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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.