John McCain doesn't seem to have learned much beyond "who are you going to believe -- me or your lying eyes ?" (OK also your lying ears). The genuinely strange thing is that he gets sincerely indignant when people believe what they see on video and not what he claims.
On Saturday July 26 he falsely denied that he said "timetable" on CNN Friday July 27 (maybe it was early Sunday morning).
I don't know if he is a meglomaniacal psychopath who thinks that the authority of his word is greater than the authority of the plain facts (he is debating what he said on CNN which is on video) or if he is a total idiot who can't remember what he said a few days ago. I don't think it matters much.
His final position is that he likes timetables except for the ones which schedule events as a function of time (I like Republican candidates for President so long as they are Barack Obama).
McCain has been spoiled by an adoring press corps which never reports his bloopers. He gives the impression that he is honest, because he makes simple brief definite claims without weasel words or qualifications so if he were to lie he could be nailed. Many of these definite claims are definitely false, and concern his own words and deeds (lies or errors due to shocking memory lapses). He speaks simply and directly because he has for years and hasn't been nailed because his base, the press, has chosen not to nail him.
update: McCain has been widely denounced for his ad which "blasts Obama for not visiting wounded troops during his visit to Germany." Here, to me, a key issue was the politicization of the US military which said that Obama couldn't visit with his campaign staff (to be neutral as in the order to US diplomats in Germany to not attend Obama's speech although the US ambassador to Canada attended McCain's speech there). Now I see that the total shameless dishonesty of the McCain campaign is demonstrated again (as if it were necessary).
The theory they present is that Obama didn't go, because he couldn't bring TV cameras "'Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras,' the ad insinuates." Sen. Jack Reed points out that
"Senator Hagel, Senator Obama and I visited the combat support hospital in Baghdad to thank those nurses, those doctors, to see patients that were there, to bring a bit of greetings from home and profound thanks, ... That should be in the ad that Senator McCain is running.
"But when we were in Baghdad, we made a point, at the end of a very exhausting day, to go in and see these magnificent young Americans and those doctors and nurses that give such tremendous care - without a lot of fanfare, just to say 'Thanks.'
"We went to Jalalabad to see the soldiers of the 173rd. We stopped in Basra to see our soldiers down there. We went into Anbar province to see soldiers there.
"That is a completely distorted and, I think, inappropriate advertisement."
So the rule is that McCain can deny that he said something even if he is on video saying it. In contrast Obama can't refute the claim that he only visits hospitals when there are video cameras around, because, for some strange reason, there is no video of him visiting hospitals without video cameras around. That's catch 22 for the 21st century.
update: Josh Marshall beat me to the punchline.
update 2: McCain's campaign called on the lie. There position is that if it's not on video it doesn't exist so the fact that Obama visited injured soldiers when there weren't TV cameras around doesn't prove that Obama would visit injured soldiers without TV cameras around.
factcheck calls them on it.
Andrea Mitchell calls him on it