Subject, verb, POW

If McCain stole the cross-in-the-sand story from Solzhenitsyn he is not going to admit it, but he will express outrage at the insinuation and play the POW card, again.

Published August 19, 2008 2:08PM (EDT)

It is increasingly clear that John McCain and his campaign view his prisoner-of-war status as an unlimited immunity card. We have already heard a spokeswoman, while expressing outrage that anyone might imply that McCain broke the "cone of silence" debate rules Saturday, adding, midsentence, that McCain was a prisoner of war.

And now his campaign, complete with an insult about how Barack Obama blog supporters are a bunch of "Dungeons and Dragons" types, has issued a statement that, you guessed it, once again plays the POW card while scoffing at -- but not quite denying -- the McCain story of how one of his Vietnamese captors apparently duplicated an act of kindness that one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's captors did in Russia. Get a load of this:

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman's memory of war from the comfort of mom's basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.

Frank Nitti-style, McCain is going to flash his get-of-out-trouble-free POW card every time anybody challenges anything he says. Obama had better have an answer for this, and he would be wise to pick a vice-presidential nominee to raise some objections to McCain's annoying habit. Given Joe Biden's famous "subject-verb-9/11" barb about Rudy Giuliani, the Delaware senator is looking better and better.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Joe Biden John Mccain R-ariz.