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Columbia Missourian

Sen. Bond speaks in Columbia

By JUSTIN O’NEIL
February 2, 2008 | 9:12 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Unlike the other high-profile politicians making stops in Columbia on Saturday, Sen. Kit Bond wasn’t here vouching for a presidential hopeful.

While in town for the Dr. Hugh Stephenson Heart Ball, put on by the American Heart Association and MU Health Care, Bond took a break to address the local media and discuss the war on terror, the proposed economic stimulus package, and the races for president and Missouri governor.

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Bond had endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the Republican presidential race, but Giuliani dropped out after finishing a distant third in the Florida primary on Tuesday .

“Rudy Giuliani challenged the conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom won in a TKO,” Bond said, referring to Giuliani’s strategy of skipping early primary states in hopes of winning Florida.

Bond said he will not be endorsing another candidate.

“I told Governor Romney that I already picked my candidate.”

As a former two-term Missouri governor, Bond said he empathized with the reasons Gov. Matt Blunt gave for not seeking reelection.

“There is no question about the pressure on the office and the family, and I will take him on his word,” he said.

There are currently three candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor, and Bond said his role in the campaign was to make sure the primary race stayed positive and about the issues.

He said primaries can be a positive for candidates and strengthen a campaign, pointing out that he won the two gubernatorial elections that had a primary and lost the election when he did not face a primary challenger.

Bond also emphasized the need for Congress to extend the terrorism surveillance bill due to expire Feb. 15., saying the information he sees as a member of the Senate Committee for Intelligence showed the program is both effective and crucial.

The senator said he supports the proposed economic stimulus package but hoped the Senate would refrain from adding additional spending that could jeopardize the bill.