Remember the McCain supporter with the B cut into her face in a political hate crime?
Well, now you can forget her. The videocam at the ATM doens’t show her withdrawing money. She no longer claims to remember being marked with the B: says she was knocked out and only noticed it later. Police have asked her to take a polygraph.

[Update: Reportedly the “victim” in the Pittsburgh mugging/political “hate crime” has has confessed to confabulating the whole thing.]

The story of the McCain volunteer who had a B branded on her face by a knife-wielding mugger as a political hate crime is falling apart. The video cameras at the ATM she says she withdrew the money from don’t show her picture. Her initial report to the police didn’t mention the McCain bumper sticker she later said triggered the mugger’s anger. She says the mugger sat on her chest, which makes the fact that the B faces the wrong way harder to understand. She also says that she was knocked out and doesn’t remember having the B imprinted on her face. [Full text of the AP story at the jump.]

I’m waiting retractions and apologies from the wingnuts who tried to use this to revive the McCain campaign. But I’m not going to hold my breath. And of course waiting for Glenn Reynolds to admit that his latest attack on the non-wingnut media fell flat is entirely pointless.

Kudos to Michelle Malkin. [And boy, you’re going to have to wait a long time to hear me say that again.]


John Moody, Executive Vice President of Fox News:

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

If only!

Yes, the McCain camp shamelessly pushed this story. In addition to all the behind-the-scenes spinning, the campaign spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbacker, put out word that both McCain and Palin had called teh pseudo-victim, thus implicitly endorsing her claims. (Calling her to express sympathy would have been a good thing to do, without prejudice to the question of her veracity; publicizing those calls helped, and was intended to help, spread what had all he marks of a false story.)

That campaign deserves to be over. But we still have to suffer through eleven more days. And I doubt that the tone of Fox News coverage will change.

But go ahead, Mr. Moody. Suprise me.


AP reports:

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh police say a McCain campaign volunteer who said she was held down by a black man who cut the letter “B” in her face has changed her story.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard says investigators gave the 20-year-old woman a lie-detector test and are “looking at some inconsistencies” in her story.

The student, Ashley Todd, of College Station, Texas, initially said a black man robbed her at knifepoint Wednesday night and then cut her cheek after seeing a McCain sticker on her car.

Police say bank surveillance footage doesn’t show her at an ATM where she says she was attacked.

Todd, who is white, now says she was knocked unconscious and doesn’t remember being cut. She now says she only discovered the wound later.

No arrests have been made.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com