(CNN) - A leading John McCain surrogate stirred controversy Friday after defending the Iraq war in particularly stark terms, telling reporters "the Muslims have said either we kneel, or they're going to kill us."
Bud Day, who was a prisoner of war with McCain in Vietnam and often advocates for the Arizona senator's presidential bid, made the comments during a conference call with Florida reporters organized by the Florida Republican Party.
The Miami Herald has posted audio of the call
"I don't intend to kneel, and I don't advocate to anybody that we kneel, and John doesn't advocate to anybody that we kneel," he also said.
Asked to respond to Day's comments, the McCain campaign issued a short statement from spokesman Michael Goldfarb.
“The threat we face is from radical Islamic extremism," he said.
Corey Saylor, the national legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CNN Friday McCain should directly repudiate the remarks.
"CAIR would like to see Senator McCain come out and make a clear statement repudiating these remarks," he said. "We don't believe they're helpful at all in either putting out the campaign's message or winning the hearts and minds in the Muslim world that America needs to be winning."
"Earlier this year Sen. McCain in a similar situation said that there's no place in his campaign for that kind of rhetoric," he added. "I'd like to see him come out and reiterate that statement because obviously people in Florida haven't heard his position."
Day, a highly decorated retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam, is a member of John McCain's "Truth Squad" - which his campaign says was launched to respond to unfair attacks on the Arizona senator's record of military service.
He was also a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - the group that was created to attack 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry’s military service record and derailed his presidential bid.
"The bottom line is this: 527 groups can do very effective, truthful things, and the Swift Boat attack was totally truthful," Day also said in Friday's conference call.
Wow...the ignorance. The fear mongering. It will not work. Not this time. Not this year!
Barack Obama for President of the United (Christian, Muslim, Jewish , Atheist and whomever) States of America! One America!
This Guy spoke thetruth.... The Arab's want what you have....
No Controversy! Only to people who believe in some God...
The Middle East is a 'Hot -Bed of Anger'.....
How about hearing from the Budists, The Hindus, the Christian radical skin heads. I think this is getting rediculous and all muslims are not out to get us! Hope America takes this with a grain of salt. They have nothing else. AND the swift boaters are starting to look really OLD!!!
He needs a hood and a white robe. A brown shirt under the robe would go nicely too.
This is McCain's intolerate, dull as hades, America I suppose.
We have had enough hate.
These people are all truly evil... after 8 years of this crap can we please get these simple minded ignorant idiots out of office?
Really? and just when I was beginning to believe Drew Griffin was our major threat. Ha Ha Ha
Muslim comment is something racial, I believe.
Why do CNN promote this kind of ideas in USA?
You know, I used to ask if the McCain campaign could go one day without making some sort of mistake.
Now I'm going to start asking if they can go one day without making multiple mistakes...
This is really getting silly.
Something I would expect from that side. It seems like all of McCain's ads are more attacks on the other side and less of what he can do. While I do expect some attacks, this is just dumb.
This is why Obama gets my vote, he is so much more diplomatic.
very ignorant of him!
Someone has got to tell this moron that not all Muslims are extremists and that the U.S. is dependant on improving our image in the Arab World.
We need all the allies and support we can get in the Muslim World – NOT to fall into the stupidity of that statement and get into a religious war like the Crusades. This statement is exactly what our enemies want to hear and helps them recruit. Moron of the year award to the McCain camp.
McCain is on a rolllll today!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everybody be afraid!!!! PATHETIC!!
Bud Day. Hate spokesperson. Fear monger. Extremist.
It's statements exactly like this that show a need for a new diplomatic approach that Obama will provide.
The 1960's were such a time of hope for this country.
It's sad to see that the group of people that had stood up for a greater vision of what we could be are now a bunch of fear mongering angry old men.
We can do better. Vote Obama and end the fear!
Senile Old Men speaking for a senile old man running for President. Yes, their heroes but even heroes get TOO old.
The threat we face is fear, from fear mongering leaders.
War and hate mongers...
This guy is an idiot, but of course what can you expect, he's a friend of John McCain's who has made disgusting jokes about other people. Here is the disgusting comments he thought was funny: But of course CNN will keep this disgusting comment quiet.
"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno".
The Fear-mongering Express stricks again.
Bud need to shup up you old fool
Just another old man losing his bearings
Not that I don't trust Bud....................BUT................if Bud is quoting "THEY" .........just who is "THEY "??? If you are going to make comments that could infuriate muslim's in this country and around the world....He Had Better Know whom he is quoting....and....WHO that individual(s) is. Bud the voter today is asking questions like NEVER BEFORE. YOU CANNOT SHOOT FROM THE HIP AN LONGER. WE ARE DEMANDING TRUTHFULNESS.
The question is: Is Bud Day now swiftboating the McCain campaign from within?
This senior citizens need to chill, why are the lose anyway they need to be a the nursing home and monitored so they do not hurt themselves.