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McCain volunteer claims attacker cut 'B' into face

Thursday, October 23, 2008

PITTSBURGH —  A campaign volunteer for John McCain told police she was robbed at knifepoint at an ATM and knocked down by a man who then carved a "B" in her face after noticing a sticker for the presidential candidate on her car.

Police said the woman, 20-year-old Ashley Todd of College Station, Texas, refused medical attention. An officer saw the injury, but the police report did not describe its size or severity, a police spokeswoman said.

Todd reported the attack late Wednesday. She was to be reinterviewed by investigators late Thursday.

"We're looking at all angles at this point," said Diane Richard, a spokeswoman for Pittsburgh police.

Todd told police she was withdrawing money just before 9 p.m. Wednesday when a man approached her from behind, put a knife to her neck and demanded money, police said. She said she gave him $60.

The robber then noticed the bumper sticker, punched her in the back of the head, knocked her down and used the knife to carve a "B" on the right side of her face, the woman told police.

It was unclear what the "B" was meant to symbolize, Richard said.

Richard said the woman was unfamiliar with her surroundings and was unable to tell police which way the attacker ran.

McCain spokesman Peter Feldman confirmed that the woman is a campaign volunteer but declined to comment further.

The Republican candidate and his running mate, Sarah Palin, called Todd on Thursday afternoon to express their concern, the campaign confirmed.

Allison Price, a spokeswoman for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign in Pittsburgh, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."

Police said no police photo had been taken of the woman Wednesday, but by Thursday afternoon a purported picture of a woman with a "B" scratched into her cheek was circulating on the Internet.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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