Andrew Breitbart's unexpected death on Thursday has sparked a swift outpouring of grief and remembrances--but also the inevitable conspiracy theories about the timing of the outspoken conservative's demise.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., last month, Breitbart claimed he had damning videos of Barack Obama, and planned to release them before the general election.
"[We] are going to vet [Obama] from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008," Breitbart told the CPAC crowd.
Steve Bannon, producer of "The Undefeated" and a friend of Breitbart's, told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday that the tapes of Obama at Harvard do exist, and that they would be released "in a week or two."
The news quickly sent conservative bloggers--still shocked by Breitbart's sudden death--into a frenzy.
"In a stunning coincidence," Paul Joseph Watson wrote on InfoWars.com, "it appears Andrew Breitbart suffered his untimely death just hours before he was set to release damning video footage that could have sunk Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign."
Conservative blogger Lawrence Sinclair referenced a conversation he had with Breitbart in Washington D.C. three weeks before. "Andrew said, 'Wait til they see what happens March first,'" Lawrence Sinclair wrote.
Sinclair also took issue with the wording of Breitbart's death announcement as it was posted on BigGovernment.com.
"Claims that Andrew died of 'natural causes' are the opinions of his attorney Joel Pollak and not the statements of any medical personnel from UCLA or the L.A. County Coroners office," he wrote. "L.A. Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Ed Winter says autopsy to be done tomorrow (Friday March 2, 2012) and no official cause of death has been determined."
But the coroner's office told Yahoo News on Thursday that it is unclear when the results of an autopsy would be released.
With conspiracy theory allegations floating around Sinclair's website, the comments escalated into more predictions of foul play.
"I do not believe Breitbart died from natural causes," one commenter on Sinclair's site wrote. "He died for speaking the truth...He probably should not have announced he had videos of BO's college days... I find it quite interesting that he died alone on a street. There will be an autopsy and they will decide on natural causes, but there is a way to induce a heart attack in human beings."
Wrote another commenter: "One thing is for sure. 43-year-old people don't die from 'natural causes.'"
But it wasn't just Sinclair News that housed conspiracy theorists. Conservative site InfoWars.com had plenty of speculations too.
"I'm going to reiterate what I said before," a commenter wrote on InfoWars.com. "In my opinion THIS GUY GOT ELIMINATED. Plain and simple." And another wrote: "Anybody who gets too close to the truth will be killed."
After sending commenters into conspiracy overdrive, Sinclair later clarified his post while simultaneously blaming the media for opening the door to these kinds of allegations because of overzealous reporting.
"In light of the comments which have been posted on this article we want to make something perfectly clear," Sinclair wrote. "We are not and have not said nor do we believe the death of Andrew Breitbart is the result of anything other than a believed heart attack. We simply reported that different media outlets reporting the cause of death as being of 'natural causes' before a cause of death has been determined is wrong and has created this sense of something more sinister."
But, the Obama tapes weren't the only things Breitbart had up his sleeve. As Simone Wilson reported on LAWeekly.com, the death of the polarizing 43-year-old came days before he was expected to announce a new Web project.
"This has been Andrew's obsession," Joel Pollak told the paper. "He was working incredibly hard."
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that Breitbart recently told friends that he was "in early talks with CNN about a Crossfire-style show in which he would argue from the right alongside former Rep. Anthony Weiner," the Congressman whose political career was throttled by Breitbart in 2011. (A spokeswoman for CNN, though, called the report "totally false.")
One thing that may quell the talk of a conspiracy: Breitbart's father-in-law told the Associated Press that he had suffered heart problems in 2010.
Other popular Yahoo! News stories:
• Andrew Breitbart dead: Outspoken conservative was 43
• Did Weinergate vindicate Andrew Breitbart?
• Gloria Allred accidentally reveals her 380-person press list
Want more of our best political stories? Visit The Ticket or connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or add us on Tumblr. Handy with a camera? Join our Election 2012 Flickr group to submit your photos of the campaign in action.
- Andrew Breitbart
- Barack Obama