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More on the fake Marine anti-war poster boy

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 15, 2009 04:48 PM

There’s more on “Rick Duncan/” Rick Strandlof, the fake Marine anti-war activist who managed to dupe Colorado politicians, leftists, and the local media for years.

First, “Duncan’s” veterans’ group has disbanded.

Next, the Denver Post, which had quoted him extensively, now jumps on public officials who happily pimped “Duncan”/Strandlof:

Dems red-faced over veteran imposter

Democrats are incensed over how a man duped the party and veterans during the ’08 campaign.
By Michael Riley

Rick Strandlof, executive director of the Colorado Veterans Alliance and the man most colleagues knew as Rick Duncan, was front and center during the 2008 political campaigns in Colorado.

He spoke at a Barack Obama veterans rally in front of the Capitol in July, co-hosted several events with then- congressional candidate Jared Polis and attacked Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer in a TV ad paid for by the national group Votevets.org.

And the mostly Democratic candidates he supported — looking for credibility on veterans issues and the war — lapped it up appreciatively.

Now, politicians are dealing with news that the man they believed to be a former Marine and war veteran wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb, in fact, never served in the military — but did spend time in a mental hospital.

Many of the candidates he supported won their elections handily and now say they were defrauded as much as anyone else…

…There is little doubt that Strandlof had a remarkable ability to fool people, something aided by the fact that among his fabrications was his claim that he suffered a severe brain injury, which helped cover behavior that associates now concede was often erratic and strange.

But there were also plenty of signs during much of the time Strandlof was working on behalf of candidates for anyone watching carefully.

Not including the Denver Post, apparently.

CVA wasn’t registered as a political organization until well after the campaigns were over, and then only at the state level despite being active in federal campaigns.

And although he claimed to represent 32,000 veterans — the biggest post- 9/11 vets group in Colorado — Strandlof always showed up at events with the same small number of supporters, and there were few concrete signs he represented more than a close circle he had gathered around him.

“Nobody really fully trusted any of those numbers. . . . He had a few dozen people who were helping him out. He claimed to have a huge mailing list that no one ever saw. The VFW, the American Legion, none of those traditional veterans groups had ever heard of him,” said one prominent veterans activist who worked for Democratic candidates during the campaign and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The veterans community was very protective over him because he had portrayed himself as a wounded veteran. This is someone who claimed spending 18 months undergoing physical rehabilitation after suffering debilitating injuries. . . . You don’t go at somebody like that hard,” the activist said. “Perhaps we learned a good lesson here.”

Reminder: It’s not the first time.

It won’t be the last.

***

Much more at This Ain’t Hell.

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