24 October 2008

Woman Mugged/Assaulted by Obama Supporter? Not. So. Fast.

A McCain-Palin campaign volunteer, Ashley Todd, claims to have been mugged and beaten by someone who objected to her "McCain for President" bumper stickers, and who then scratched a backwards "B" onto her cheek. Drudge broke the story. Bloggers, conservative and liberal alike, have expressed a good deal of skepticism about the woman's claims. It looks like they were spot on.

You see, the police aren't so sure about the young woman's claims. And Salon has discovered some additional information that casts a shadow over her story; for example, a webpage on which she asserts that "lying is the most fun a girl can have [. . . .]." She's also changed her story a number of times. See Salon for the updates.

As Kevin K has pointed out in his excellent post on the "mugging"(which he's been updating regularly), this case seems strikingly familiar to that of Francisco Nava. In 2007, Nava, a conservative Princeton student claimed, to have been sent threatening emails and then physically assaulted due to his socially conservative views and his participation in on-campus conservative groups. He made it up.

Update: Confirmed: Todd made it up. But why? A craving for 15 minutes? Attention from McCain-Palin? Some insane political motivation? Who knows. The police aren't saying much. It is clear, however, that this young woman needs help.

A larger question is whether or not this will affect, in some way, the McCain campaign. John Moody, an executive Vice President at Fox News, certainly thinks so. In a blog post written yesterday, Moody mulls over Todd's claim in light of the overall political context, and he concludes: "[i]f the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting." Here's the entire post. It's worth your time.

Update Two: Greg Sargent at Talking Points Memo reveals that the McCain campaign's communications director for Pennsylvania told the PA press "an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts in the case were known of established." That is, before the police issued any information.

The communication director's version of events were published by KDKA and WPXI; both sites have removed the director's comments. TPM, however, captured them before they were scrubbed. Opus Hussein X at TPM writes that the McCain campaign, "denied the campaign gave out those quotes." It looks like the communications director took it upon himself to make some political hay out of Todd's story.

One interesting point: according to Sargent, the reporters contacted the communications director after "seeing the story--sans details--teased on Drudge" (Sargent). Where did Drudge get the story?


Merge Divide said...

From the perspective of a Pittsburgh local, this looks like more race-baiting from the GOP:

Read About It.

mpandgs said...

Hi Merge Divide.
You're right that it's worth considering whether Todd's story was an attempt to race-bait, but I'm can't help thinking it's something else as well--she can't be entirely healthy, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for stopping by & commenting