Of all the attack dogs McCain could have picked ...

To go after Clark and Obama, McCain campaign taps member of '04 Swift Boat group.

Published June 30, 2008 7:28PM (EDT)

The McCain campaign wants to manufacture a controversy over Wesley Clark's comments about McCain's qualifications. Fine. McCain and his allies want to feign outrage. Fine. They want to spend the day whining about the Obama campaign being insufficiently sycophantic about McCain's military record. Fine.

But did these guys really have to give us Bud Day?

One of the members of John McCain's new Truth Squad -- which his campaign says was launched to respond to unfair attacks on his record of military service –- was a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and appeared in an attack ad for the group in 2004.

The group was created to attack 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry's military service record.

"How can you expect our sons and daughters to follow you when you condemned their fathers and grandfathers?" asked former Air Force Col. Bud Day, who was a prisoner of war with McCain in Vietnam, in a 2004 Swift Boat Vets spot.

The Politico's Ben Smith asked Day this morning if he sees a similarity between the lies spread by the Swift Boat group in 2004 and Clark's questions about McCain's qualifications Sunday. In an apparent attempt to bury the needle on the irony meter, Day rejected the comparison, saying, "The Swift Boat 'attacks' were simply revelation of the truth. The similarity does not exist here."

Sometimes, the irony is so overwhelming, I have to wonder if the political scene is some kind of satirical performance art and I'm just not in on the joke.

And let's not brush past the point too quickly that McCain, four years ago, expressed a fair amount of disgust for the vicious smear campaign that Day was involved in. In August 2004, McCain called the Swift Boat group "dishonest and dishonorable," and the kind of politics he "deplores."

With that in mind, why, pray tell, is McCain encouraging one of the people responsible for the "dishonest and dishonorable" smear to speak on behalf of his campaign, in order to distort the words of a four-star general?

By Steve Benen

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