Left: Ashley Todd on Oct. 22, 2008. Right: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Mar 26, 2010
Eric Cantor's phony victim story
His false claim of office gunshots functioned as the Ashley Todd tale of 2010, distracting from right-wing violence
By Joan Walsh
Did House GOP Whip Eric Cantor just become 2010's answer to Ashley Todd, the white McCain supporter who claimed she was assaulted by a black Obama backer in October 2008?
You remember the story: A 20-year-old McCain-Palin volunteer told Pittsburgh police that a black man robbed her, and then, when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on her car, he beat her and carved a B – for "Barack" -- into her cheek, and told her she better support the black Democrat. Days later, the clearly disturbed Todd confessed that she made up the attack, and apparently mutilated herself to provide "evidence." But for a few days, the right wing insisted Todd's attacker was the Democratic equivalent of the menacing crowds at Sarah Palin rallies shouting "Kill him!" and "Terrorist!" about Obama. Drudge and Fox News hyped the story, with Fox news V.P. John Moody even claiming the attack might lead some voters to "revisit their support for Senator Obama."
No one's accusing Cantor of shooting up his own office, but from the minute he made his claim -- also implying he was targeted because he was Jewish -- it was almost certain to be untrue. [Maura Larkins' note: Cantor isn't the only one who plays games like this. See declaration of Daniel Shinoff for his lawsuit for defamation against this blogger.]
In the very first AP report on the incident, the Richmond police said the bullet had been fired into the air, not through Cantor's window. Two photos in Salon show that the nondescript office building is unmarked, with no signs indicating Cantor or his staff have one of the suites inside. Friday Richmond police confirmed the bullet was a stray: Neither Cantor nor his office was targeted, and in fact the bullet didn't even land in his office. A spokesman for Cantor told reporters he was "very happy" his story turned out not to be true...