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Republicans Viciously Attack Veteran Who Won Bronze Star: ‘Not a Real Patriot’

As the midterm elections approach, Republicans have launched a desperate smearing campaign against veterans running as Democrats across the country, questioning their patriotism.

The latest GOP shameless attack is playing out in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, where Democrat Dan Feehan is running against Republican Jim Hagedorn to fill a vacated seat in a hotly contested race that is currently rated a “toss-up.”

Fearing a devastating defeat, Republicans are smearing Feehan, who served two duties in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star in the process, claiming “he’s not sufficiently patriotic,” local CBS station WCCO-4 reported.

Although the Hagedorn has never served in the U.S. military, that’s not stopping the GOP nominee from waging an ugly attack against Feehan, a U.S. Army veteran — much like Republicans smeared John Kerry’s heroic military service when he ran for president in 2004.

In the new attack ad, Republicans try to claim that Feehan isn’t a “real patriot” because he supported former quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he quietly knelt during the national anthem prior to the start of NFL games.

“Liberal Dan Freehan celebrated Colin’s protest of the national anthem,” the ad claims, wrongly suggesting Kaepernick was protesting the national anthem (he wasn’t), or that Freehan “celebrated” it (he didn’t).

As noted by Shareblue, “it’s just the latest in a series of vicious smears against veterans funded by national Republican groups.”

WCCO-4 looked into the GOP attacks on Feehan’s patriotism and concluded they were “deceptive, out of context and mostly false.”

“We looked at all of the Feehan tweets about Kaepernick and the NFL protest, including retweets and his use of the hashtag #VeteransforKaepernick,” local CBS affiliate WCCO reported. “In Minnesota, what Feehan supported was Kaepernick’s RIGHT to protest. Feehan tweeted: ‘It is the precise use of freedom I fought for on foreign soil.’”

The Feehan campaign denounced the disgraceful smear, saying, “This type of misleading attack does a disservice to the people of the first district and quite frankly, is an affront to the service of veterans everywhere who fought for these freedoms.”

Veterans advocacy group VoteVets also slammed the false attack, hitting back at the GOP for exploiting veterans as a political strategy.

“This is nothing but a baseless and shameful attack on a combat veteran,” VoteVets Chair Dan Helmer said in a statement. “For a party that claims to care about veterans, Republicans sure do spend a lot of time attacking us.”

Ironically, the attack TV ad uses an image from 9/11 to question Feehan’s patriotism, even though it was that traumatic terror attack from 2001 that prompted Freehan to join the ROTC as a student, and to then go fight in the Iraq War, where he earned Bronze Star for Service, and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

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