John McCain, caught in his straight-talkin' lie [VIDEO/AUDIO]

Which Baghdad streets are safe senator?
While on the phone with high-stakes gambler and values champion Bill Bennett, John McCain thought he'd give a little wink to the wingnuts by saying that "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today." [audio right, courtesy CAW].

You're just not hearing that in the media, he claimed, aiming an arrow at yet another straw bogeyman, the media.

Well, it turns out the media doesn't like that. Especially when the Senator is so wrong about the state of things in Iraq that there's "laughter down the line" in response to his comments FROM THE MILITARY.

To CNN he claimed that "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee."

Nothing of the sort. Petraeus doesn't do that, nobody who wants to live does that. In the video (above, right) CNN's Michael Ware -- who's been in Iraq for four years -- lambasts McCain. It's damn near embarrassing.

If McCain would like to maintain his credibility there IS something that Senator McCain can do: he can name the streets that can be walked down (or, alternatively, he can walk them). That, at least, is John Aravosis' prescription for reputational healing.

The very latest has McCain claiming, with his own words thrown back at him, that that's not what he meant:
ROBERTS: Senator, did you mean to say that, that General Petraeus goes out every day in an unarmed humvee?
SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I mean that there are neighborhoods safe in Iraq and he does go out into Baghdad and the fact is there has been significant progress and people are stuck in a time warp of three months ago. Of course, it’s still dangerous. Of course it’s still very dangerous. We only have two of the five brigades there and we are already seeing significant progress.
ROBERTS: Because I checked with General Petraeus’s people overnight and they said he never goes out in anything less than an up-armored humvee. You also told Bill Bennett on his radio program on Monday. You said there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhood today yet retired General Barry McCaffrey said no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat reporter could walk the streets of Baghdad without heavily armed protection. We’ve got two different stories here. Who’s right?
McCAIN: Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that.
Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.
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