I Was About To Weigh In On The Ashley Todd Story….

Ken AshfordCrime, Election 20081 Comment

You know what I mean, right?

Ashley is a 20 year old McCain volunteer.  In the wee hours of yesterday morning, she stopped at an ATM in Pittsburgh "on the wrong side of town" and was robbed.  Sixty dollars were taken.

The reason it made headlines (asn was HEAVILY promoted by Drudge) was this: she claimed that her assailant (a black man) saw the McCain sticker on her car, and went ballistic on her.  He beat her and even carved a 'B' (for "Barack" presumably) on her face.

Oh, those Obama supporters.  They're so unhinged.

Right away, I smelled something rotten about her story.

First of all, this woman twittered the whole thing.  Her Twitter page has been taken down since then, but The Smoking Gun managed to screen capture it.  Key entries (most recent entry is first):

atodd: Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers- I'm phonebanking so let's all work together and get John McCain elected #litf08
Thu, 23 Oct 2008 18:55:41 +0000

atodd: Oh the blog I will be making soon… Its been a rough night #litf08
Thu, 23 Oct 2008 03:52:58 +0000

atodd: Pretty sure I'm on the wrong side of pittsburgh
Thu, 23 Oct 2008 00:45:59 +0000

atodd: Stubbornly searching for a bank of america to avoid ATM fees.
Thu, 23 Oct 2008 00:23:21 +0000

Now, I know we live in a world where people give status updates, but it is odd that she would that she would give a status update about GOING TO THE BANK as well as her REASONS FOR BEING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF TOWN (i.e., to avoid ATM fees).  People typically don't twitter such insignificant things.

Then, of course, came the picture of her post-crime injuries:


The Obama campaign release this statement: ""This is a horrendous act of violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery, and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."

The McCain campaign called the attack "sick and disgusting".

Okay….. but hold on.  Notice anything about the 'B' that was allegedly carved in her cheek?

It's backwards.  Gee, it's as if the 'B' had been carved by someone looking in a mirror.

Undeterred by the obvious fish-smilliness, conservative bloggers went ballistic over this, somehow equating this attack with the kind of nutjobs that Obama supporters really are.

At Redstate, theycomplained about the media — how it covers McCain supports who shout "Kill him", but they never cover the supposedly violent protests of Obama supporters.

Jim Kouri at Renew America:

Once again, the mainstream news media are bending over backwards — except for Fox News Channel, talk radio and the blogospehere — to avoid covering a breaking crime story that occurred in western Pennsylvania that may cause Barack Obama political problems….

….Watch how the news media attempt to discredit and smear this woman with the help of their comrades in the Democrat Party.

Dan Riehl writes (in a post "Thugs For Change"):

Well, I'm sure the Kos Kidz will get some real laughs out of this. Obama's run his campaign just like a street thug out of Chicago. Now we get to see what some of his worst supporters are like.

Over at Powerline, Hindraker writes:

I also think that a great many voters, some of them heretofore uncommitted, will see this incident as symbolic of a race in which every voter who has not jumped on the Obama bandwagon has been subject to various forms of harassment and bullying. Americans, generally speaking, don't like to be bullied. This, as much as anything, explains why the McCain campaign still has a chance.

Some more cautiously, the exectiive VP of Fox News wrote this:

It had to happen.

Less than two weeks before we vote for a new president, a white woman says a black man attacked her, then scarred her face, and says there was a political motive for it.

Ashley Todd, a 20-year-old white volunteer for John McCain’s presidential campaign, says she was mugged at an ATM machine in Pittsburgh (my hometown) by a big black man. She further says he threw her down, then disfigured her by carving the letter “B” into her face with a sharp implement when he saw that she supported McCain, not Barack Obama.

Part of the appeal of, and the unspoken tension behind, Senator Obama’s campaign is his transformational status as the first African-American to win a major party’s presidential nomination.

That does not mean that he has erased the mutual distrust between black and white Americans, and 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.

[Emphasis mine] [UPDATE:  Credit where credit is due –  Michelle Malkin — one of those most fire-breathing unhinged conservative pundits out there never once bought into the story, to her credit.

Anyway, I was in the middle of writing this post on my suspicions about Ms. Todd's claim, when the news came out:

Police: Campaign Worker Admits Making Up Story

A Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Ashley Todd confessed to making up the story & is facing charges

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― 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.

Ashley Todd, 20, of Texas, initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car.

Police investigating the alleged attack, however, began to notice some inconsistencies in her story and administered a polygraph test.

Authorities, however, declined to release the results of that test.

Investigators did say that they received photos from the ATM machine and "the photographs were verified as not being the victim making the transaction."

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.   

Yeah, I saw that coming…

This campaign worker was attempting (I hope without endorsement by the McCain campaign) to create a Willie Horton moment, a political game-changer in the state of Pennsylvania.  It backfired.  It became a Tawana Brawley/Duke rape moment.  And THAT's the story that will be talked about.  Just the sort of things that hurts McCain.