That’s the headline. That’s how badly this story has spiraled out of control for the McCain campaign.
First, Greg Sargent at TPM broke the story yesterday that the McCain campaign was directly involved in fabricating details of Ashley Todd’s fake robbery and assault story:
John McCain’s Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established — and even told reporters outright that the “B” carved into the victim’s cheek stood for “Barack,” according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.
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.”
But it gets even worse. Somehow. Someway. It gets… even… worse.
Apparently, Ashley Todd is just the latest individual the McCain campaign failed to vet before shining the national spotlight on them. Because it turns out that not only was Todd’s story a complete hoax, but she also suffers from a history of mental illness:
She will be housed in a mental health unit at the county jail for her safety and because of “her not insignificant mental health issues,” prosecutor Mark Tranquilli said.
So the McCain campaign put their reputation, their entire Pennsylvania campaign– and by default, their entire national campaign– on the line to exploit and embellish the story of a mentally ill woman who, 24 hours later, has been institutionalized for her own safety.