Friday, October 24, 2008

Police Declare 'Mutilation' of McCain Campaign Worker a Hoax

From MichaelMoore.Com Via Editor & Publisher

October 24th, 2008 3:50 pm

By Greg Mitchell / Editor & Publisher

NEW YORK It had drawn wide local and national -- even political attention, with some of the candidates for president/vice president weighing in or even calling -- but now the story has fallen apart. Police in Pittsburgh have declared it all a hoax, and are charging the McCain worker at the center of the episode.

It started yesterday afternoon with Matt Drudge screaming at the top of his site in red type -- but no siren -- that a Pittsburgh campaign worker for McCain, age 20, had been viciously attacked and the letter "B" carved into her face, presumably by a Barack Obama fan. Her name, it soon emerged, was Ashley Todd and she had come to Pittsburgh from College Station, Texas, to help out.

It started to appear overblown (Drudge downgraded it to smaller, black type) as the police noted that it seemed to be a robbery ($60) and she did not seek medical attention. But later press reports said she would visit a hospital, Sarah Palin and perhaps John McCain had called her, and Obama camp had condemned, although McCain/Obama angle to a story not yet confirmed.

Still later, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, and some others, grew skeptical. For one thing, the "B" was carved a little too lightly and perfectly -- and backward, as if done using a mirror. Smoking Gun probed a too-pat "Twitter" angle and Gawker looked at her MySpace page.

Then police said that evidence from the ATM that she reportedly visited did not match her account. And then she changed her story, admitting that her assailant did not see a McCain bumper sticker on her assault, and adding to he account a sexual assault and losing consciousness.

John Moody, executive vice president at Fox News, commented on his blog that "this incident could become a watershed event in the 11 days before the election. If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee. If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting."

Now the Pittsburgh TV station KDKA reports: "Police sources tell KDKA that a campaign worker has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter 'B' in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.

"This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story. The commander added that Todd will face charges; but police have not commented on what those charges will be."

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