Okay. Maybe it wasn’t exactly a “cross”

John McCain shares a story with us:

 Either McCain ripped his "Cross in the Dirt" story off or Solzhenitsyn and the two of them had nearly the exact same experience. Three kossacks explore the details, here, here, and here.

If it was stolen, I wonder McCain made it up himself, or if Mark Salter came up with it, and somehow convinced McCain it was true?

Andrew Sullivan asks the right question:

As he tells it today, it was the pivotal moment in his struggle to survive in the Hanoi Hilton. And yet, in his first thorough account of his time in captivity, in 1973, the story is absent. … I have one simple question: when was the first time that McCain told this story?

As for whether or not there’s precedent for McCain fabricating POW stories, consider the fact that he claimed that he became a fan of ABBA’s Dancing Queen before his capture (Dancing Queen came out two years after his release), and consider his convenient swapping of the Green Bay Packers with the Pittsburgh Steelers in another POW story when he was in eastern PA.

Now I don’t know if this really happened to John McCain or not. He may think it happened, I mean, c’mon he’s ninety-one and he sometimes mixes up his experiences from the Vietnam war with something that happened to him during the Spanish-American war. It happens.

The important thing is that the rubes parishioners at Rick Warren’s House of Tithing church cooed appreciatively because these are the kinds of stories that reinforce their faith much like sightings of the Virgin Mary in the gravy pan at Hometown Buffet. Take it from me  ( a Catholic regardless of the restraining order), true faith is a powerful and mysterious thing that is as  hard to find as, say, the clitoris. I mean there is a lot of groping and fumbling around and false starts until finally a voice whispers in your ear, "Yeah. That’s it…or at least close enough for government work".

Needless to say the "Cross in the Dirt" story  focus-grouped considerably better with the religious demographic  than the story he had been telling to veterans groups: