John McCain alleged today that Barack Obama declined to defend his country when speaking in Germany last month:

Referring to Obama’s speech in Berlin, McCain said that he had a “chance to express such confidence in America” -- but passed it up.

“He was the picture of confidence, but in some ways the confidence in one's self and confidence in one's country are not the same,” McCain said. 

As NBC's Mark Murray points out, this charge is utterly false:

In fact, in that Berlin speech, Obama expressed plenty of confidence in America. "I also know how much I love America," the Illinois senator said that day. "I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived -- at great cost and great sacrifice -- to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world... What has always united us -- what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores -- is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please."

There's actually a lot more, too. In this passage, Obama straightforwardly criticized Euro anti-Americanism:

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth -- that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

This is just a shameless lie by McCain. News reports usually just repeat politicians' claims without making much of an effort to gauge their accuracy. So Mark Murray deserves some credit for placing McCain's smear into a factual context.

--Jonathan Chait