‘Preemptive lying’

‘PREEMPTIVE LYING’…. This may be my single favorite press release of the entire presidential campaign. McCain campaign spokesperson Brian Rogers issued this statement:

In his rush to score political points on economic disaster, we’ve heard that at his next event in New Mexico, Senator Obama is about to distort the facts and attack John McCain’s call for removing the Chairman of the SEC.

Rogers’ concern, obviously, is that Obama would point out that McCain told voters today he would “fire” the chairman of the SEC, when in reality, that’s outside the president’s authority — a fact McCain should have realized before tackling the subject.

Regardless, it’s more entertaining to realize that the McCain campaign is criticizing Obama for something he might say, before he says it, accusing Obama of “distorting” the facts, before he’s even spoken. In other words, the McCain campaign line is, “Obama might point out how McCain screwed up earlier, and if he does, he’s being totally unfair — because we say so.”

Even by the McCain campaign’s standards, this is surprisingly foolish. I know Schmidt & Co. must be kicking themselves for failing to check first to see if the president can fire the SEC chair, but attacking a speech they haven’t heard? C’mon.

Greg Sargent asks, “Are we seeing the birth of a new McCain campaign doctrine of preemptive lying?” Apparently, so.

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Steve Benen

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.