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. Joe, Miami, FL

    what's the big deal? The radical Islamic extremists are Muslim. What is so offensive and racist about this? If this is insulting, I'd rather insult radical extremist than insult the US citizens by stating they cling to their guns and religion and have apathy toward immigrants.

    July 18, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. David, New York, NY

    Matt, You are displaying your ignorance by lumping Muslims, gays, and atheists in with grown men who advocate sex with children. Try to understand that one is against the law (pedophilia, in case you are confused) while the others are 100% legal. Except in the America that you would like to see, I guess.

    July 18, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. ollins

    It will certainly help him and all of us,for once the world will cheer at our leaders after eight year of cowboy diplomacy and mispronounciation of neuclear for(nucular)we need an articulate leader who will restore our image and put us back to role of leadership in the world affairs.He will make the world open their mouth and listen again as we(America)shape the affairs of the world again.Remember,great leaders are born once in a century.Collins(Tx)

    July 18, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Gary Palmer

    How is the comment controversial? Convert or die is the mantra of many Muslims. Have you not been listening to them?

    July 18, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Judy

    What a group. So people think these guys are representative of USA. These guys were the ELITES of Vietnam they were the OFFICERS. Were are the foot soliders the one that were in the jungle. These guys got shot down from 30,000 feet. Why are we still listening to guys about a War that occurred almost 30 years ago. We might as well listen to guys from WWII about what they think. These guys are not news get some real soldiers.

    July 18, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Proud Liberal

    I suspect that there are people in the muslim world saying the same thing about christians. But consider this: Most of America's (Christianity's) bad experiences with the dreaded muslims have occurred within, say, the last 25-30 years. The bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut is probably a good starting point.

    Their problems with us (Christians) go back to the Crusades. Big difference. Shouldn't be relevant today, you say? Old history??? Okay, how about the CIA engineering the ouster of Iran's democratically elected President Mossadeq in the 1950's. Aren't we the ones who are supposed to be supporting and defending democracy? Only when it suits us, I guess.

    Like it or not, our chickens are coming home to roost.

    The worst part is that simple-minded people like Day only fan the flames with their belligerent, undereducated ramblings. And worse still is the large number of even more simple-minded Americans cheering on this kind thinking. Then again, how many Americans think "professional wrestling" is real, or are unable to locate their home state on a map of the US.

    It'll probably always be too much to expect them to ever locate, much less care about, a country like Bahrain.

    July 18, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. scott

    Ok. Now who ever wheeled Mr. Day out of his nursing home unit needs to take him back in. It's time for some strained peas and bed.

    July 18, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. richard

    they all look like a bunch of fools

    July 18, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Doc Sinn

    "All the deluded, anti-American Obamabots on this blog seem to care more about being nice to terrorists than calling them out for the despicable cowards they really are."

    No one wants to be "nice to terrorists". What we WANT is for hate mongers to stop clouding our vision.

    A terrorist is a terrorist. Period. Muslims dont own the patent on terror. Terrorist dont believe in Islam. They believe in terror. For them, Islam is just a tool to be used for their own ill gotten gains. True Muslims, Christians, etc believe in peace.

    Open your eyes and see past your fear, and your true enemies will be easy to identify.

    July 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. big craig

    So, all he forgot to add was the word 'extremists'?!? Other than that, I don't hold his comments against us, considering he was probably led into this statement by earlier conversation about extermists or terrorists. A muslim practices Islam. 99% of the terrorists in that region are muslims. Save for John Walker Lindh-types & influxes of new recruits.

    And yes, I am voting for McCain; I need someone who knows what and how to change, rather than just knowing how to repeat the word over and over from 2007 to November 2008. Like Pelosi, Barack knows a bad idea – it is any one that isn't his, trouble is, he has no original ideas, just disregard for anything from GOP or whitey.

    Pelosi – grow a pair and let your ego down and drill, baby.

    Obama wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons – WOW, does he also want everyone to be nice and stop using drugs and having sex.

    Has he ever REALLY experienced the human nature of our world. We fight. We hate. We have sex. We drink the booze. And we always disagree.

    The beauty of US and F-ing A is that we have the freedom to do these things. I love every legal American; even if you hate whitey. This honkey loves ya. Keep REAL freedom alive, brothers of all kinds of colors.

    July 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Dave, Illinois

    The terrorist have stated in their audio and video rants that they will kill the infedels unless they fall to their knees and worship Allah. Its fact, look it up! You Obamites might want to pull your heads out of the sand long enough to look up facts before spewing your usual ignorance.

    July 18, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Just more reasons why we need a NEW, fresh leader in the white house and around the world. Stirring the pot in the middle East will NEVER bring peace and stability to the region or make us any safer at home. God Republicans are just clueless. Time for America to stop with the 20 second soundbite and wedge issue, and really pay attention to the opportinity that is right in front of our faces. OBAMA '08. Oh and to the Puma folks, McCain can't stand Hillarycare. Still wanna vote for him you fools?

    July 18, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. hk

    Islam IS the threat...not radical islam, not fundementalist islam, not the "highjackers of islam". The threat is in the Quran, a "good" muslim
    reads and follows the Quran. To do otherwise is blasphemy and blashemy is a punishable offense. Read what W. Churcill wrote of Islam. This is simply the continuation of a 1400 year old war against the infidels. Islam was spread by Muhammad and his followers by the sword and continues to this day. Religion is invoked by the islamic terrorists worldwide, NOT by the Americans fighting them. The intolerance of muslims toward anyone not in step with islam is remarkable. I urge all of you to read the Quran. "Converted" muslims are a joke, unless and until one has lived in a totalitarian islamic country under shari'a law then one is not a real muslim. Despite simply saying, "I'm a muslim." I am not a christian nor a jew and certainly not a muslim but an American and it is my right to critisize any and all religions. Despite the Quranic edict for muslims not to kill other muslims such is not the case. During the "so called golden age of islam" the so called rightly guided caliphs were murdered by other "loving" muslims. Sorry. enough.

    July 18, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Johnny

    There are more than a BILLION muslims in this world. I am ready to bet my paycheck that not ALL muslims are terrorists.

    Can we go for at least one day without a single gaffe from McSame's campaign??

    July 18, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. JK

    Hi Jake,

    I'm a Muslim. I am not an extremist. In the twenty-plus years since my conversion I have met no violent extremists–a few who were extreme in their thoughts, maybe, but they were only irritating. (There are people like that in every religion.)

    It's not political correctness. I'm an American as much as you are. I was born here and so were my parents. I was raised Protestant but I chose Islam as a young adult. Oh, and in case it matters (it shouldn't) I'm white.

    My six kids are also native-born Americans. There are millions of us. Doesn't our citizenship count as much as yours?

    July 18, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    This election will come down to a vote between people who think like Bud Day and people who reject his thinking. The McCain campaign cannot point to anything positive from the last 8 years of Republican rule so must instead disparage Obama. Sad that politics has become the art of making 51% of the voting public frightened and hateful of the remaining 49%. I hope we can get past this...

    July 18, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Brian

    A group, like the PUMA's, who are bent on only destruction.

    July 18, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Mary-Beth Frazee

    Does anybody remember what happened on 9/11? If Muslims are so "peaceful" why do they terrorize their own people (women, children) let alone those they see as their enemy? – Even young muslim men are afraid to defy muslim leaders. Well, American Christians are not afraid of them!!!!! That is why we need a brave American leader like McCain – not someone that more interested in what The World thinks of America than it's own citizens. Go get em, McCain!!!

    July 18, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Jack

    “The threat we face is from radical Islamic extremism,"

    For those who like to refer to Day's comments as being negative, hurtful, hateful, or any other slur, bear in mind that it was in fact RADICAL, EXTREMIST MUSLIMS that flew our planes into the WTC, and have actively engaged in acts of war against the United States any anyone allied with us. Please quit being so thin-skinned. For those Muslims who are neither radical, nor extremist, why are you offended by this comment? It obviously DOES NOT refer to you.

    July 18, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. Enlightened Patriot

    Anyone who loves America and who is truly disheartened by the current state/course of America, will not vote for John McCain in November.

    July 18, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  21. DC from NJ

    I'm really sick and tired of the media dissecting every single word that comes out of BOTH campaigns. It's bordering on ridiculous now.

    July 18, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. California Gold

    I respect the Congressional Medal of Honor, but recipient Mr. Bud Day is a total turn off. The fact he wears the Congressional Medal of Honor as he actively engages in this offensive, dishonorable behavior is a travesty. As a veteran I am personally offended.

    On a lighter not this could be a possible cover for The New Yorker: Bud Day with his Congressional Medal of Honor as he is dressed in Muslim garb, in a Swift Boat with the name "Straight Talk Boatway" yelling offensive slurs and innuendos as ordinary appearing boaters are paddling like crazy to get away. 🙂

    July 18, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Susan, CA

    It seems that all the people that McCain surrounds himself with think alike. He has had to distance himself from a lot of people. If he is elected (God forbid), will these people be put in positions of power? I fear he won't feel the need to distance himself then. What a scary thought.

    July 18, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Gary

    Telling it like it is Baby! What's so controversial for telling the truth?

    Dems can't take the truth because they are not used to it!

    vote Libertarian

    July 18, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. mjaber6113

    Day's cooments are horrible and racist. That's the most outright plain bigot I've ever heard of!!!

    July 18, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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