Dan on McCain’s response to “What does your faith mean to you?” during the Saddleback interview:
McCain’s entire statement of faith essentially boils down to one story about when he was a prisoner of war. It’s a pretty touching story. One of his captors was unexpectedly kind to him. Later, on Christmas Day, when the prisoners were let out to stand for a few minutes in the sun, the same guard silently came up to McCain and drew a cross in the dust between the two of them, left it there a minute, then erased it, all without saying a word.
It’s quite a story. And it’s an even better story if it’s true. The problem is that it didn’t appear in McCain’s earliest account of his story in 1973. It’s also strikingly similar to a passage from “The Gulag Archipelago” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, released in the U.S. in 1973. We also know McCain is a fan and reader of Solzhenitsyn’s work, as evidenced by this article Solzhenitsyn at Work by John McCain. Is the story true? Does it recount a common sign used both in Vietnam and in the USSR? I don’t know. It’s enough to raise some eyebrows and perhaps prompt a bit of investigation. If it were a copyright case, it would be enough to get it to a jury.
McCain has repeatedly shown during this campaign that he’s willing to say and do anything that his advisers tell him will poll well.
Whatever credibility he had before this campaign was completely gone months ago. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he actually did pirate this story — that does seem like the simplest explanation, and the most likely to be true.