John McCain tapped Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond, a veritable Missouri political institution, to head his campaign in the battleground state.
"Missourians know how much this election means for the future of our state and our nation, and I'm proud to work on John McCain's behalf to ensure his victory in Missouri," Bond said.
Although Bond will stump for the McCain campaign, he has at times staked out positions at odds with the presumptive Republican nominee. Bond voted against the Detainee Treatment Act, which McCain vigorously sponsored. The act bound CIA interrogators to the methods outlined in the Army Field Manual in an attempt to prevent "waterboarding" and other controversial techniques.
In a 2007 PBS NewsHour interview, Bond said: "I think it was a terribly bad idea that in the intelligence authorization bill there was a ban imposed on the CIA using any techniques other than those in the Army Field Manual."
In the same interview Bond compared waterboarding to swimming, although he added that it should not be used by US interrogators.
Hailing from Mexico, Mo., Bond has built a legacy in his home state. He has represented Missouri in the Senate since 1986. Before that, Bond served as the state's governor -- the youngest governor ever elected in Missouri, at age 33.
McCain's selection of Bond means both of the state's senators will play a role in the 2008 race. Bond's Senate counterpart, Claire McCaskill, serves as a co-chair of Barack Obama's national campaign.
Missouri, which voted Republican in 2004 and 2000, has emerged as a swing state this election. RealClearPolitics, which averages the results of various polls, shows McCain with a scant 2.5 percentage point lead over Obama in Missouri, 47.5 percent to the presumptive Democratic nominee's 45 percent.
A victory in Missouri may also be seen as a vital bellwether for the general election -- since 1904, the state has voted for the eventual winner in every presidential contest, except for in 1956, when Adlai Stevenson narrowly edged Dwight D. Eisenhower.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.