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McCain supporter robbed, assaulted

A knife-wielding man robbed a McCain-Palin campaign volunteer and etched a “B” into her face after he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the woman's car, Pittsburgh police said.

Ashley Todd, 20, of College Station, Texas, was using an ATM at Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street in Bloomfield just before 9 p.m. Wednesday when a man approached her, put a knife to her throat and demanded $60, police said.

Todd handed the man $60 she had in her pocket and stepped away from him, investigators said. The man then noticed the bumper sticker on the woman's car, which was parked in front of the ATM. The man became very angry, made comments to Todd about John McCain and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground, police said.

"He continued to kick and punch her repeatedly and said he would teach her a lesson for supporting John McCain," said police Chief Nate Harper.

The man then carved the "B" into Todd's right cheek. Todd, who isn't familiar with the area, drove to a friend's house nearby and told her friend she wasn't sure of the exact location where the robbery took place but remembered a green sign above the ATM. The friend called police and the officer met them on Cypress Street in Bloomfield, police said.

Todd's friend offered to drive her back in the direction she came from to look at ATMs until she found the right one, police said. A police officer followed until Todd pointed out a Citizens Bank ATM at Liberty and Pearl, police said.

She declined medical treatment at the scene and said she would go to a hospital today.

Todd declined to comment.

"She is a volunteer for the McCain-Palin campaign," said campaign spokesman Peter Feldman. "Sen. McCain has reached out to her via telephone and has spoken to her and her family,” as has McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Feldman said. “Out of respect for her privacy we're not going to comment further."

Democrat Barack Obama's campaign released a statement saying: “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 described the suspect as black, about 6-foot-4, and said he was wearing dark-colored jeans and a black undershirt.

The ATM has a security camera and investigators are trying to watch the video, police said.

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