‘TINY’…. When it comes to genuine, almost pathological, dishonesty, the McCain campaign has secured a place in history. If there’s a Political Liars Hall of Fame, these guys are first-ballot inductees, no questions asked.

This afternoon, McCain re-released an ad first unveiled two months ago. The voiceover tells the viewer:

“Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to ‘generate power’ but threatening to eliminate Israel.

“Obama says Iran is a ‘tiny’ country, ‘doesn’t pose a serious threat.’ Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren’t ‘serious threats’?

“Obama — dangerously unprepared to be president.”

And here’s what Obama actually said, back in May:

“Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. That’s what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That’s what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That’s what Nixon did with Mao. I mean, think about it: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela — these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying, ‘We’re going to wipe you off the planet.’ And ultimately, that direct engagement led to a series of measures that helped prevent nuclear war and over time allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall.”

If McCain disagrees with Obama’s assessment, fine, let him make his case. But that would require intellectual seriousness and integrity, neither of which is found at McCain campaign HQ. It leads to shameless lying like this ad, which obviously distorts the meaning of simple words that even McCain/Palin should be able to understand.

Look, this isn’t complicated. During the cold war, the former USSR was “the world’s greatest land military power, with a massive strategic nuclear capacity that carried on a multi-decade ideological struggle” with the United States. Iran, meanwhile, has an economy the size of Finland’s, an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion, and hasn’t invaded a country since the late 18th century. Anyone who argues the threat posed by modern-day Iran is similar, both in size and scope, to a former nuclear superpower is either hopelessly confused or lying.

So, why the re-release? In August, the ad was slated for a national release that never came. Now, according to Halperin, “Tiny” will air “in key Florida markets.”

In other words, McCain wants to scare Jewish voters with blatant lies. Even by McCain standards, this is pathetic.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.