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. Franky

    "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."

    First of all, I could tell by the way you wrote that, you just don't care! I guarantee you! Second of all, explain to me the difference between a Muslim and a terrorist??? Because there is a difference. Third of all, can you explain to me how much money the U.S have wasted so far?? Fourthly, have you seen the economy lately??? I dont know if your family is struggling because it sounds like you don't...

    No offense but I'm Catholic, O.K? My god DOES NOT, I REPEAT, DOES NOT tell me to condemned people, O.K? So to portray Muslims as people who wants us to be slave states, and so forth, I hope you believe in a God....

    July 18, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Kaz

    It age factor..... give him a break.

    July 18, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Nia - Phoenix, AZ

    Once again the McCain immature hours has not failed. Not all Muslims are out to get us.....WOW!! And I thought the GOP wasn't going to fear monger this election.

    July 18, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Ted

    Since when does being a POW buddy make someone McCain's "surrogate?

    July 18, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The dems are guilty of fear tactics too. Black Churches will burn if you elect republicans (St Louis 2000) and Republicans will drag blacks behind picup trucks (Texas 2004) and republicans created Jim Crow (Democrats prior ot 1968).

    July 18, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Another Fear Lie, republicans will steal your social security.

    July 18, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Galileo

    mr mr,


    July 18, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Willow, from Iowa

    Thankfully, all of these surrogates and advocates are all over 70 years old. Not that age is a problem, but the fact that the world is very different than in their day. My Dad was so afraid that people would be breaking into his house, so he had guns hidden everywhere for safety. They just can't accept that they aren't everybody's bullseye.

    So much for detente, diplomacy, etc. McCain gets in office and he will continue to call Iran and all other Muslim countries, "our enemies", and they will refuse to talk to us, and through his lack of respect for someone different than him, he will get us into another war. The world is a different place than it was in '43. We have to learn to get along, something McCain is having difficulty with.

    July 18, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. It's a done deal

    These old war birds are owed a debt of gratitude. Not political power.

    July 18, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Brian

    Keep in mind the BUSH administration is buddying up to some of of Obama's foreing policy ideas. Pulling troups out of Iraq and putting them back in Afganistan and negotiatting with Iran (or whatever spin they try to put on dimplomats inside Iranian border). So McCain is looking more and more out of touch on foreign policy.

    July 18, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Sean

    So according to McCain advisors, now all Muslims want to kill us and Americans feeling the current financial pinch are all whiners.

    I used to like McCain, but now I fear the idea of him as President.

    July 18, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. Angi's mom

    Add Bud Day's name to the list of Republican Leadership Posterboys.

    July 18, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Robert

    I Agree , alot of folks are blinded by the " change " theme that they can't see that several delegates have said he is muslim ....Now New york comes out with muslim satire .....he's lost alot of super d's according to noquarter usa ... just can't wait to see what is next..

    July 18, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. kathleen

    John McCain's regard on GI and Veterans affairs:

    *AWOL for May 22nd vote on GI Bill. Expressed opposition to bill saying "it was too generous to Veterans".

    *Voted against Bill in September that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.

    *Voted No on $1.5-billion increase for Veteran Medical services (money would have come from closing corporate tax loophole).

    *Voted No on establishing a trust fund to bolster underfunded Veteran Hospitals.

    *Voted No in May 2006 against $20-billion allotment for expanding Veteran Medical Facilities.

    *Voted No in April 2006 to increase Veteran Outpatient care.

    *Voted No in March 2004 another $1.8-billion reserve for Veteran Medical care (again funded by closing corporate tax loopholes).

    Bottomline, McCain is more interested in taking care of big business then the men and women he wrongly sent to fight in Iraq.

    July 18, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. Just Sayin...

    Bud Day is whats wrong with america. He served a country he helped ruined...I don't know how that man sleeps at night.....esp cause the "muslims" are coming for him...as they should..its people like him that invaded their country...not us liberals. We know the differnece between muslims and islamic extremist...you know like christians and evengelicals...

    July 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. Moe, NY

    More fear mongering by the Republicans. This is really getting old, and certainly is not working this time around. Have the Republicans ever heard of diplomacy? If diplomacy does not work then America needs to do what needs to be done, but at least try diplomacy first....who knows, it could just work.

    July 18, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. Rev. Denis C. Gray

    It is claimed that in America there is freedom of speech.
    However there seems to be an immediate angry and abusive backlash whenever someone exercises that freedom by saying something unpopular even if what is aid is factually correct.

    July 18, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Joe

    For all of those who see fit to dishonor this man remember he is a war hero and a medal of honor recipient. If these detractors added up all of their accomplishments throughout their lives it wouldn't equal what he did during that period. He should be given the respect he's earned.

    July 18, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Alan Boyer

    Let the RACIsm begin!

    July 18, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. Galileo

    Those old guys have more balls than any of you will ever have! You should be thankful to them for the freedom to express yourself no matter how wrong you all are. They gave more for this country than any of you have ever done or will ever do.

    Vote Libertarian

    July 18, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. noclue

    .McCain is just desperate and grasping to stay in the media while Obama makes History. The reason McCain could not get as much coverage while on his experience tripping is because basically he has nothing to say that folks really want to hear. Believe me, no one even wants to see him coming or going

    Everything that he is promising are lies, none of them will be met because he cannot and will not win.

    He is just being allowed to the best that he can until the final day to say "Adios Amigos it was a good race while it lasted"

    Tara you comments as a black sister is so very sad, you talk just like McCain maybe you should run with him and his step ford Wife.

    As for as Lou Dobbs well, he is just another prejudice red neck who is so obvious every night. I have all my friends changing channels until his segment is over.

    July 18, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. Jeffrey G. Brown

    Bud Day was a war hero...thank you for that Sir. Now, Bud Day is an out of touch senior citizen like John McCain and should NOT be looked upon as any kind of sage.

    July 18, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |

    Let us hope American voters are up to the challenge this time - we need Sen. Obama in the White House ... We cannot fall for this type of campaign again. Hate breeds hate ... We need intelligence/judgment and ethics!

    July 18, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. RJ, CA

    Good! I will not bow or kneel to the Islamic terrorists, either - and neither will my country with McCain.

    I grew up in East Germany, which was under communist dictatorship, and I know first-hand what that's like - where family and friends suddenly "disappeared" in the middle of the night and were never seen or heard from again.

    YOU people who compare America to the terrorists are truly ignorant and should be ashamed of yourselves! You need to spend just one week under a terrorist regime - you'd change your tune in a hurry.

    Evil is REAL and thrives on complacency! And it is NOT called "America."

    July 18, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Ed

    Swift Boat attack was totally truthful,"

    spoke Bud Day.

    Weird, McCain comdemned their crap in 2004 and now he hangs with them.
    As for Mr. Day, he is delusional or lying. He is like Lillian Hellman.

    July 18, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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