Sure, Reagan did this all the time. Still, it takes either a man whose memory is too wracked by age to be president — or an inveterate liar — to simply make up this kind of story. (See also Reagan.) Apparently, John McCain’s heartwarming tale of the Christian guard in Hanoi, which he related again over the weekend at the mutual kissing of Rick Warren’s ring, was in fact lifted from Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. (Apparently McCain, and/or his ghostwriters, are fans of the man.) Uh, Senator McCain, did you really feel you had to embellish your time in a Vietnamese prison camp? The situation should speak for itself.
For what it’s worth, McCain is blaming the controversy on “the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd.” Well, speaking as a member of the prObama World of Warcraft crowd (really, Senator, you’re dating yourself — again), I should note that the story actually originated with the Freepers several years ago, once the mythical maverick felt the need to start peddling false wares to the nation’s conservative Christians. For shame, Senator.
Update: Forget Solzhenitsyn. According to scholars (via TPM), this tale isn’t from The Gulag Archipelago at all, but rather seems to be a right-wing fairy tale emanating from the likes of Chuck Colson and Jesse Helms.