I’d call it stupid except that the people circulating it understand perfectly well what happened here. After all, if they’re willing to accuse him of lying about the POW cross story based on no evidence, why would they cut him a break on this? I first saw it this afternoon and didn’t think it was worth responding to, but since Marc Ambinder’s gone to the trouble of debunking it, here’s a link. Nutshell: A woman asked him a long question about veterans’ benefits, then punctuated it by saying we should bring back the draft. McCain responded by saying “I don’t disagree with anything you have said” before proceeding to give a long answer about … veterans’ benefits. I.e. he simply ignored the bit about the draft, which stands to reason given that (as Ambinder notes) he’s said repeatedly that he opposes conscription “unless we were in an all-out World War III” — which, of course, is precisely what the left believes he’s plotting. Don’t call this fearmongering; only the right is capable of that. Rather, try to imagine how The One might respond if pressed on whether he too would consider a draft in the event of “an all-out World War III.” He never fails to say in the context of Iraq that any C-in-C worth his salt always keeps all options on the table. Is there a “World War III” exception to that rule or is he also a warmongering conscriptor in waiting?

Exit question: Which lefty hatchet site, do you suppose, is chiefly responsible for spreading this? There are really only three options. It’s not TPM and it’s not Media Matters, which means it can only be… As much as I hate to send them traffic, do follow that link and compare where the edit of the McCain video they’re using ends to the full version below. Like I say, stupidity has nothing to do with this.

Update: Here’s McCain on the trail last September. And before you ask, yes, of course Olbermann picked this up tonight.