July 18th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain surrogate makes controversial Muslim comment

Bud Day, shown in the 2004 Swift Boat Vets for Truth ad.

Bud Day, shown in the 2004 Swift Boat Vets for Truth ad.

(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.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (623 Responses)
  1. tigerakabj

    Oh yeah, the terrorists are going to get us. All this party does is launch fear bombs. I can't wait for Obama to rip McCain apart in those debates.

    Obama/Sebilius 2008/2012.

    July 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. JC

    Why do people just blindly attack anything that is said (on both sides)? For those who don't really know anything about Islam – the faith advocates a permanent revolution against all non-Muslims until the whole world is Islamic. Most Muslims interpret this as a peaceful revolution. Islamic Fundamentalists interpret this as a violent revolution against all non-Muslims.

    July 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Dems are stuck in the fix they rigged

    The democrats played with the sanctity of the vote and they manipulated the democratic process and they sabotaged their own best candidate.

    Thinking this was the year that EVEN an unqualified, inexperienced, cocky, self-serving, egotistical elitist COULD win.

    So much for just going to the booth and looking for the big "D" lever to pull. America is not that far left. We want Hillary Clinton. We will NOT ever vote for Obama.

    Insult us or threaten us or force us- we will NOT bow down to the installed puppet nominee.

    July 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. EE

    Senator McDUFUS and Mr. Night are still fighting the Vietnam War. Somebody please tell them it's over! He's free in the America he did
    not respect until he was captured. There's a meeting on Afghanistan
    this weekend and I hope you can attend after your two year hiatus.

    July 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. nancy

    when u r so old, is easy to be so hateful?
    Jesus! You actually need Him!

    July 18, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. what are you thinking?

    CNN have the guts to post

    is swift boating like saying John McCain was responsible for the tragedy aboard the USS Forrestal July 29, 1967 killing 134 men and injuring 161? i am just asking.
    or is it like saying the truth squad is ready to release McCain's long hidden Military records?

    July 18, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Ogden

    Actually, the biggest threat to America is from radical right-wing extremists. Pity they hate this country so much.

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    McCain needs a better casting director for his commercials. A bunch of old geezers, led by a former member of Swift Boaters for Truth, an attack he JUSTIFIED in a recorded interview...can you say "FIRING squad?"...John's "Truth Squad" should keep to what they signed up for in this regard, which is to tout McCain's crowning credential–he was in the military and a POW.

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Brian

    What is the issue here? Muslims HAVE said they were going to kill us and make the USA an islamic state. Since when is stating a fact considered "controversial"?

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    Shasta--That was funny..grapes.

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Kevin

    One could also define Chistianity by the klu Klux Klan, which is a Christian organization. It is inaccurate to define a whole religion by a fringe group.

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Bush-Wacked!

    Geez! Just cause the guy was a POW certainly does not make him a leader or a spokesperson.

    It is good to honor and respect those that serve either in justified or unjust conflicts. But it does not mean we have to make them into idols or believe every word they utter as truthful.

    But.... then you read these blogs and realize the simple minded people that flock around and agree with such stupidity. Maybe we should at least have a minimum intelligence to vote. Such low-information fanatics are what the likes of Hitler in power.

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Eddie

    And who took the twin towers down?? And other bombs in the New York area??? And who wants to bow down to the terrorism and have in the past? Who wants to make slaves here in the U.S. ?? Is it Ted Kennedy & Kerry,??? And now Obama.? McCain was held as prisoner, and who should understand freedom better than McCain, not Obama for sure. Obama wants to give the U.S. way in taxing us for the U.N. ect. I hope Ms. Rice could be V.P. with McCain. She is everything Obama is not, to being in the potical area and saving the U.S. freedoms. Once the freedoms are gone you will not get them back, Like Cuba and some in South America. Think careful, before you make a choice.

    July 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. rw

    The fact is ISLAM/MUSLIMS and Jews are used by these politicians in the last few campaigns than before; Did it help ? They should focus on IMPORTANT issues that we are facing here like Gas price, Economy, Grocery price Increase, Job loss etc., rather talking about Islam/Muslims/Jews... Shame!!!

    July 18, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Chris

    The Swift Boaters are a pack of rat's and liars with a political axe to grind. Every single one of them contradicted thier sworn Navy statements about John Kerry. This man is a liar. Just becuase you win a medal does not make you honest

    July 18, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Max

    An even greater threat to the security of this country is to see the world through the rigid mind of xenophobia and military agression. I respect Mr. Day's service, and heroism, but jeez Louise, it doesn't make him an expert on geopolitics.

    Let these 527s waste money on the 'fear factor' vote–it already belongs to McCain.

    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Voter

    There are extremists of ALL religions (including Christian)

    Is anyone trying to make this guy "kneel" in the USA? Why does he want to kill all Muslims – especially in their own homeland?

    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Big D

    McCain's new campaign advisor Schmidt must be so frustrated that both McCain and his surrogates keep getting off-message. Remember that they were going to relaunch and keep tighter control on their message? Instead it's like they just say any random thought that pops into their head, whether it's related to the current sitation or not. Yesterday McCain said 'we have succeeded in Iraq', today he says to expect spectacular attacks later and now this from a surrogate. So just what is McCain's current position on the Iraq situation, because his campaign is right now just putting out any old random idea to see how it goes over.

    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. McCain=the draft


    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. allan

    Did we so quickly forget that it was the Obama campaign that prohibited women in Muslim garb from sitting behind him on stage at a campaign rally. Nobody has a monopoly on prejudice.

    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Let hear the truth from Texas

    This is how the old fart really thinks.. it sad, that this is the type of company that McCain Keeps.. Name calling is not going to fix the problems facing America.. Obama is not a Muslism.. McCain needs to stop spreading these rumors..... thru his friends...

    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. PUMA

    Scary how Obama can fail this NOV- in a year when no Republican can win and no Democrat can fail.

    But that is the price to pay for selecting the nominee who was NOT elected by the voters.

    Thanks Oprah, Caroline, CNN, MSNBC, Pelosi, Dean and the DNC.

    Now we true democrats have NO good choice. We will NEVER vote for the thief- the one that destroyed our party and divided the democrats.

    Freedom and justice is too important to allow this travesty to go unchallenged.

    July 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Stan

    Yup, these are the folks who would be advisors and leaders in MacBush3. I think not, the lead with there vocal cords not their minds.

    July 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Lesley

    Why don't these old men give it up? This is totally inappropriate, and if he thinks he's helping, someone tell him the swift boat thing won't work this time.

    July 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. M.S. Indiana

    THE ONLY DEM who can lose in NOV

    funny thing you talk about theocracy, because plenty of Christian groups are promoting that we should have a type of Christian regime, rather then keep church and state separated..

    July 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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