Following the Drudge Report’s lead yesterday, news organizations picked up the story of a McCain campaign volunteer in Pittsburgh named Ashley Todd, who said that a black man mugged her, sexually assaulted her, and scratched a “B” into her cheek because she had a McCain bumper sticker on her car. The police quickly pointed out “inconsistencies” in her story. Todd has now confessed that she made up the story. On his blog yesterday, Fox News Executive VP John Moody, who is a Pittsburgh native, wrote that the incident’s credibility was inextricably tied to McCain’s campaign:
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.
For Pittsburgh, a city that has done so much to shape American history over the centuries, another moment of truth is at hand.
Yesterday, before Todd had confessed, the McCain campaign put out a statement about the incident, saying, “We’re shaken up by this. It’s sick and disgusting.”
Greg Sargent details the McCain campaigns involvement in this story.