The Blog

This is Disgraceful

4:50 PM, Oct 24, 2008 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The McCain supporter who claimed she was attacked by an assailant at a Pittsburgh ATM, who then became enraged by her McCain-Palin sticker and carved a "B" into her face, has admitted the incident was a hoax.

Ashley Todd, a College Republicans volunteer, reported to police that she was assaulted by a 6-foot-4 black man after getting money out of an ATM Wednesday. She claimed she gave him $60 before he was set off by her McCain sticker and started beating her. The police were skeptical of her claims because there were inconsistencies in her story, and the attack had taken out of range of the ATM's surveillance cameras. There were reports earlier today that police had given her a polygraph, but declined to release the results. Questions about her account continued to mount, as it was revealed that she only called police 45 minutes after the attack from a friend's house and that she didn't make any reference to her attacker's political motivations during her first iteration of the story.

Conservative bloggers, to their great credit, examined Todd's claims with a critical eye, noting that the "B" carved into her face was backwards, suggesting she might have done it to herself, and fielding contributions from police officers who said the incident was a bit too perfect to pass the "smell test."

Todd now, unbelievably, says she's upset with the media for having hyped the story.

She has managed to well and truly hurt the very people she purported to be helping, by going from volunteer to vigilante fabricator. The College Republicans have terminated her, as they should have.

Todd claims not to know where the black eye and "B" came from:

Todd confessed to police that she was driving alone, looked in the mirror, saw her black eye and the "B" on her face, and didn't know how they got there. She assumed she could have done it herself, she said, and then she made up the story about the attacker.

"She saw the 'B' on her face, and she immediately thought about Barack," Bryant said.

Kraus said the 'B' was what first led him to suspect Todd's story. He said he was struck by how neatly the letter was etched on her face.

Police suspect Todd's wounds were self-inflicted. She remained at police headquarters on Friday afternoon, because police "have concern for her well-being," Kraus said. He said officials are trying to determine whether she needs psychiatric evaluation.

"She hasn't really shown any obvious remorse," Kraus said. "She's certainly surprised that it snowballed to where it is today."

As if the media needed an excuse to a) paint all McCain-Palin support as unhinged and racist, b) accuse the campaign itself of inciting such behavior or, c) ignore similar rage and incitement on the left, now they have the perfect excuse to do all three, thanks to Todd.

The hate crime hoax is not a new phenomenon, but it's fairly rare on our side of the ideological spectrum. By calling Todd out swiftly and condemning her in the strongest terms possible, we can keep it that way. Bizarre and disgusting.