Matt Welch, McCain biographer, wades into the debate over McCain's embellishments. Matt puts most of it down to the usual effect of telling stories and anecdotes over and over again - we all fudge and embellish and misremember our pasts, even to ourselves. But not all of us are running for president, with that level of scrutiny:

McCain's history has never really been scrutinized before. This may sound hard to believe for 26-year veteran of Capitol Hill, but no less true. Like [Richard] Riordan, McCain got used to being able to make a too-salty joke, or too-perfect anecdote, because the press was mostly amused and/or actively wanted to protect the guy from himself. This leads to bad habits, especially in the age of YouTube, and is one of many reasons why the Straight Talk Express is no longer a rolling press conference. But more than just malaprops, there are chunks of the McCain biography, including and especially the Vietnam chapter, that are just flat inconsistent and have never been fully examined journalistically.

And it's not just the non-"pivotal" stuff like the cross-in-the-dirt story, but fundamental experiences like McCain's prison suicide attempt, which has a variety of different tellings and timelines in different settings.

5) Seriously, are we gonna argue over the timeline of a guy's suicide attempt after having been tortured to the point of confession in a Vietnamese prison? This one's pretty self-explanatory.

6) Anyone running for president automatically loses the benefit of the doubt. This one should be too.