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 maybe John
McCain had called her and Obama camp had condemned, although
McCain/Obama angle to 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
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
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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