In a last-ditch move to re-invigorate his failing campaign to win Florida, John McCain has started telling out-and-out lies about Mitt Romney.

This afternoon, McCain started claiming that Romney favored a “timetable for withdrawal” in Iraq. McCain said:

John McCain: If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher. (emphasis added).

McCain makes his claim about Romney based on the following quote from an interview Romney did with ABC News last April (which even the Associated Press says “didn’t show Romney making [McCain’s alleged] comment”):

Mitt Romney: There’s no question that the president and (Iraqi) Prime Minister al-Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about. But those shouldn’t be for public pronouncement. You don’t want the enemy to understand how long they have to wait in the weeds until you’re going to be gone.

For anyone who knows McCain or has followed his career, this is no surprise. Time and again, he’s proven himself dishonest enough to make self-serving claims that don’t even pass the laugh test.

And this time, it gets worse: Romney responded to McCain’s allegation, saying, “That’s simply wrong, and it’s dishonest, and he should apologize.”

McCain’s answer to Romney was exploitative demagoguery, pure and simple: McCain said, “I think the apology is owed to the young men and women serving this nation in uniform, that we will not let them down in hard times or good. That is who the apology is owed to.”

It’s been said of Mitt Romney that he’ll say or do anything to get elected. This assertion is shown to be both naïve and false by the depth of McCain’s mendacity, both in this election cycle and throughout his career. McCain’s behavior is a case-study of a candidacy that is really willing to say or do anything, and it makes Romney’s policy-maneuvers look innocent by comparison.

What happens now is this: McCain lies about his opponent, and thanks to McCain’s own campaign finance reform, it’s illegal for any organization to run ads to point out McCain’s dishonesty. Nicely done, Mr. McCain.