James McCain, the 19-year-old son of presidential contender and Arizona Sen. John McCain, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq's Anbar province, entering bootcamp on Sept. 11, 2006, The New York Times revealed Sunday.
The Times notes the Iraq issue is a top priority for many voters and the service of Sen. McCain's son in Iraq may support his assertion regarding the importance of the Iraq war.
Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., whose son served two tours of duty in Iraq, empathized with the senator, saying "he's basically a father, very anxious about what his son's going to be doing."
Lance Cpl. McCain, now back in the United States, did security detail in Iraq, searching for weapons caches and training Iraqi security forces in basic policing tactics, the Times disclosed.
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., said Lance Cpl. McCain's service in Iraq underscored his father's resolve on his campaign issues.
"It's among the most important things that people want to know about John McCain in trying to decide whether or not to trust him," Kerrey said.
The McCain campaign said it "strongly" rejected the publication of the Times piece, calling it "an intrusion into the privacy of Senator McCain's son."