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. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    No wonder the world views America as an ignorant, racist country.

    McCain cheerleaded for an illegal invasion to try to change the Muslim way of life and the way America is going who would want to emulate this country?

    July 18, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. SD Reader

    I have no problem with someone speaking their mind. However, this is not someone McCain should allow to speak for him. This is a guy who alleges to be a super-American when in reality he was responsible for the attacks on Senator Kerry’s military service. I am proud of McCain’s service. I am proud of Kerry’s service. Attacking a war hero’s service is simply just wrong…McCain needs to pull this guy!

    July 18, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. aware


    Give it up Obama slaves.

    Barack, the arrogant, obfuscating pretender with a single priority of winning, has no moral center, no core principles, questionable relationships, no judgment and egomania beyond belief! 😦

    And, he will not win! McCain 08, the only wise choice! 🙂

    July 18, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. Simple reality

    All the hateful Obamabots- who rained vulgar, foul, insults on Hillary and her supporters- will now denounce this simple comment as bigotry.

    How hypocritical.

    Look at your own selves- calling other democrats racist, and calling fellow Americans dirty white trash, inbred rednecks, ignorant morons etc etc.

    Chill out- FREE speech goes both ways. The extremist Muslims DO want to bring all NON-Muslims to their knees- the Koran tells them to eradicate all infidels and Jews where ever they find them.

    July 18, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. It true isn't it?

    Why is it controversial?

    The extremists themselves state that as their goal- destroy the evil satan... death to America...death to the West.

    Islamists have killed people over writing a book or printing a political cartoon.

    Why pretend otherwise?

    July 18, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Amen to this comment

    What about it is controversial?

    Don't the Islamist say so themselves? Don't they attack civilians? Don't they kill authors of books they label offensive? Don't they kill people for cartoons that depict religios topics? Don't they impose Sharia Law that demands beheadings and stoning?

    Don't they try to bring the entire world that disagrees with them, down on its knees?

    July 18, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Phil, FL

    Ignore him – he's old – just like his lying war-mongering best buddy.

    July 18, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  8. NoMccain

    Add it to the list of stupid comments.

    July 18, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. Johnny boy

    Another so called hero turned coward,painting all muslims with a broad brush.God will decide who lives and who will die not man.

    July 18, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. joaquin

    Dang these old warriors are ignorant. In the rush to "talk tough" couldn't someone explain the word "Muslim" to Colonel Swiftboat? Are we at war with a country called Muslim-kovakia now?

    July 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. phil

    I don't love McCain BUT, Unfortunately, the Koran does indeed require that all peoples in Muslim lands either convert to Islam ( i.e. "kneel" ) or to live in segregated communities known as "Dimi's" where they are taxed and enjoy less rights. It is a simple fact that Christians and Jews in Muslim countries have been forced to live in this fashion for centuries. Read the Koran or a history book if you don't believe me.

    You guys at CNN are being grossly dishonest in order to cater to the Muslims.

    July 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Hypocrits for Obama

    Once again the hypocrisy of the Obama followers is showing:

    Call Hillary any name in the book.
    Label those who disagree with you as racist.
    Insult others.
    Demean, mock and debase Hillary and her supporters...
    Defend the hateful rants of Rev Wright as freedom of speech.

    Defend the ugly comments against Hillary and America made by Michelle Obama as cool and true and freedom of speech.

    BUT do not say anything against Obama or Michelle- that is disrespectful and unfair.

    Don't speak out against our sworn enemies- that is bigotry.

    Practice the tolerence that you preach- be kinder and more respectful to your fellow Americans and your fellow democrats... then you can cry foul at any perceived hatred.

    July 18, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. D-MI

    This makes me want to go to Obama's website and pledge some more money... except that I already did that very thing this morning when I read about McCain's "socialist" comments (...'cause he might just be right...)

    What angers me is that nobody is bothering to point out the obvious, smack-yourself-in-the-head flaw with this whole "Well, we can't PROVE that Obama is a muslim..." nonsense:

    So what if he is? Am I to understand that the republicans would like to toss out Freedom of Religion along with the other rights they've decided we can do without? Say he is a muslim: are they implying that muslim's don't have the the same rights as christians? Or jews? Ask a republican the next time they bring that up. Make them explain how we send people half-way around the world to die for "liberty and democray" in Iraq, but they want to do away with those same ideals here...

    July 18, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Carol

    Why is this controversal? This is the truth spoken. The very definition of Islam is submission.

    July 18, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. manubi

    McCain has not repudiated or denounced this comment. Is this the "change" that we can trust? Think again. McCain is just another politician who allows his buds and himself roam around and make very unfortunate comments, statements and mistakes. Let me make a list of them:

    Loren Davis
    La Raza

    and now this fear mongering 527 fool Bud???

    July 18, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. Beth

    His remark is absolutely accurate.

    July 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. TK, Dallas, TX

    This comment is not a surprise. I am sure as the campaign progresses we will hear more of these types of comments, the fear factor will multiply tremendously. Expect terror alerts to go up and phantom terror threats.

    July 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. Ron Nebraska

    Bud Day is lying scum.........his brand of insanity is what has made a mess of our country.

    July 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. Uh, when can we vote?

    CNN, hurry, dust off your "analyst" Carl Brenstein for another "hatchet job" mission. That is, unless he is only capable of attacking the Clintons.

    July 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. Carol

    What world are you people livng in? Most of the comments on here are delusional. Obviously these people don't like truth.

    July 18, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. Walt

    McCain and his campaign are despicable. I can't believe that I once respected this guy.

    July 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. bimmer

    Not all muslims are terrorists. However, most condone the 9/11 attack on America.

    July 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. Helen


    July 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Iam4mycountry

    Griff: That is like saying "all whites are bigots" "all blacks are uneducated" etc, etc, etc, You can not lump all Muslims together. Not al Muslims are alike as not all Christians are alike. You cannot generalize. And you said Arab and he said Muslim, but not all Arabs are Musli!!

    July 18, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Since when did moth balls get such a bad name?

    July 18, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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