David Kirkpatrick

October 24, 2008

That Pitt McCain volunteer mugging victim?

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:16 pm

(Note: headline changed to reflect the correct city for the “event.” Sorry Philly, I’ll have a cheesesteak in penance.)

Not so much.

From the Daily Dish link:

McCain Spokesman Implicated In Mugger Hoax

<!– –>And Palin called Todd:

John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain’s Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, “You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson.”

Verrilli also told TPM that the McCain spokesperson had claimed that the “B” stood for Barack.

McCain also called the hoax-merchant. Is this the kind of judgment you want in a president?

Here’s another report on the sick, false hate-crime hoax.

And here’s TPM Election Central’s report:

Report: McCain Volunteer Who Claimed “Carved B” Attack Confesses To Making Up Story

Wow. By now you’ve all heard about Ashley Todd, the 20-year-old McCain volunteer who claimed that she was assaulted in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night by an attacker who scratched a “B” in her cheek after learning that she was for McCain.

The story was flacked madly last night by Drudge, even though few if any details had been established or independently confirmed.

Well, take a look at this banner headline, from Pittsburgh’s KDKA:

A Pittsburgh police commander says a volunteer for the McCain campaign who reported being robbed and attacked near a bank ATM in Bloomfield has confessed to making up the story. Police say charges will be filed. More details to follow.

More soon.

Late Update: KDKA’s full story has now been posted. It’s based on anonymous sources. So it’s still unclear what the story is. Stay tuned.

Late Late Update: It’s worth keeping in mind what Fox News executive vice president John Moody had to say about what this would mean if this story proved a hoax:

“If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.”

Worth keeping an eye on Fox’s coverage of the latest turn in the story.

Late Late Late Update: Police are set to hold a press conference to discuss the news, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Latest Update: There are now conflicting reports on whether Todd confessed or police simply concluded the mugging story was a hoax.

Later Than Latest Update: Some extraordinary new details about her confession from the AP:

Ashley Todd, 20-year-old college student from College Station, Texas, admitted Friday that the story was false and was being charged with making a false report to police, said Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department’s investigations division. Police doubted her story from the start, Bryant said.Todd, who is white, told police she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night.

She now can’t explain why she invented the story, Bryant said. Todd also told police she believes she cut the backward “B” onto her own cheek, but did not provide an explanation of how or why, Bryant said.

Update 10/25 — Here’s the latest from TPM Election Central, including a little brushback against Team McCain’s assertion their spokesman in Pennsylvania is not a race baiter. Pretty thin gruel if you ask me.

From the link:

A spokesperson for McCain’s national campaign is pushing back on our story yesterday reporting that McCain’s Pennsylvania communications director was giving reporters an incendiary version of the attack hoax story before the facts were in.

But Keith Olbermann does a nice job of skewering the push-back. From the Countdown transcript:

Tonight, McCain`s spokesman, Brian Rogers, denied the campaign gave out those quotes, telling COUNTDOWN, they came from the police and were attributed to the McCain camp because of sloppy reporting.An account that doesn’t explain why two television stations both quoted the McCain campaign, or the fact that one of them, KDKA Pittsburgh specifically followed the McCain quotes with the line, quote, “Police, however, have not confirmed that.”

And tonight, COUNTDOWN asked the reporter from the other station, WPXI to check his notes. He says he got those quotes first, 4:08 p.m. yesterday from McCain`s Pennsylvania communications director.

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