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. Hypocrits for Obama

    Touche, Becky- see below: I say that goes for Michelle Obama as well- if SHE says ignorant hateful bigoted things on behalf of a presidential candidate- then SHE is fair game too? Why does Obama and his supporters want to define/ control free speech?

    Becky July 18th, 2008 3:38 pm ET

    Johnny Mac July 18th, 2008 3:09 pm ET

    The dems are attacking another war hero.

    despicable and desperate


    The "war hero" you speak of says ignorant and racist comments on behalf of a presidential candidate. Fair Game.

    July 18, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. George, Lynchburg, Va

    What is CAIR's public position on religious persecution in predominantly Islamic countries ...... i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc?

    July 18, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Most of you writers don't belong on the same earth as our national hero Bud Day.

    I may not agree with all he says, but I'll defend to the death his right to say it.

    Why is it whenever anyone mentions obama, he is charged with racism.

    It is sickening to me to hear all the crap that some of you write. i wish you could have shared a cell with Bud and John. Think about what you have now because of guys like them, You have freedom. With people like obama in charge, you probably would be on the plantation picking cotton.

    July 18, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. Franky

    "When American Muslims get as vocal as the rest of us in condemning their radical brethren, it will be they who change the truth. Until then, quiet Muslims deserve no apology. Radical Muslims are our enemy."

    That is very disrespectful, you know that? You should be ashame for what you said...

    July 18, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. RJ, CA

    Travis (in the real world July 18th, 2008 5:42 pm ET

    These 2 geezers look like those 2 old men in the balcony in the



    Glad I don't live in YOUR world, Travis. Now go back to Big Bird and your lollipops!

    July 18, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. A Khan

    True Americans will vote them out from the stage this year. America can't efford further with such resistic attitude. America needs change.

    UNITE AMERICANS for change.

    July 18, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. SUE

    MCcane will make a good leader,I thank he know what he is doing..You OBAMA people don,t mind to call him dirty names,shame on you..We need to know OBAMA hes young and does he really know how to leade our country...something to thank about..

    July 18, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. Jon

    This is what McShame and his hooded friends want you to hear. they want you to think everyone is out to get you and Obama is leading the pack. Lets call all Muslims evil and lets say that Obama is Muslim he must be evil to. Lock the doors Obama is black and a Muslim he must want to kill you. Republicans want to to live in fear that way John Mcshame doesn't have to really talk about policy just point fingers. I'm sick of this crap. I sorry to say I was once a repub. but what is going on the left makes me sick.

    July 18, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  9. Al Bond

    Why is the US economy collapsing in so many ways? A government is not run by one person. It is run by a whole collection of people, so it is vitally important that the leader appoint good people to help run it. What has Bush done? He has appointed

    1. Diplomats who don’t believe in negotiation;
    2. Climatologists who don’t believe in climate change;
    3. Banking regulators who don’t believe in regulation;
    4. An Environmental Protection Agency which doesn’t believe in environmental protection;
    5. A justice department that doesn’t believe in justice (unless torture is justice);
    6. An education department that doesn’t want to fund education;
    7. A veterans administration that doesn’t support veterans;
    8. A food and drug administration controlled by the pharmaceutical industry;
    9. A defense department controlled by the weapons industry;
    10. An energy department controlled by the oil industry.
    11. A transportation department controlled by the auto industry;
    12. Judges who don’t believe in the law (except for the Bush Doctrine);
    13. UN representatives who want to destroy the UN;
    14. An Agricultural Department controlled by the agricultural industry.
    15. Intelligence agencies that punish intelligence.
    16. Biologists who don’t believe in evolution (like physicists who don’t believe in gravity?);
    17. Historians who believe the world is 6,000 years old.
    18. Futurists who believe the end is just around the corner.
    19. Economists who believe that the best way to stimulate the economy is to cut corporate taxes, wage endless war, and borrow as much as we can from foreign countries.
    20. Lobbyists to every regulatory position in government to regulate exactly the same industries that they worked for before the government job and will work for after the government job.
    21. An entire collection of staff members chosen based on their ability to overlook the obvious if it contradicts “the world according to Bush.”

    Well, we could go on all day, but you get the picture. And Americans are confused by why the US economy is collapsing and we get no respect in the rest of the world? It seems pretty obvious to me. And McSame will be, well, pretty much the same (if not worse).

    July 18, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. Franky

    "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.

    Good job liberals….national security is not a popularity contest…being nice to terrorist organizations and those that support them will never ever work and you are on drugs if you think it will"

    First of all, what does this has to do with the topic??? And by the way, it seems to me that President Bush also wants to talk........

    July 18, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  11. Jay

    Comments like this exemplify the ignorance of Americans. The Muslim religion does not support violence. However, as with all religions, including Christianity, there is a small percentage that are radical extremists. I think the events of 9/11 erased the memory of the Oklahoma City Bombing, which claimed the lives of 168 adults and children, from the minds of many Americans. That was a domestic terrorist attack by a radical Christian terrorist. Nor should we forget Waco, Texas. It is important not to target an entire religion because of a handful of individuals who twist religious conviction to suit their own purpose. Likewise, we must remember that America has it own home grown terrorists.

    July 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |

    What is this guy thinking saying things like this? Does he live in a bubble or a cave somewhere?


    July 18, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. preachercreature

    More wisdom from the Bush, oops, I mean McBush camp! Who is it again that has a better picture of international diplomacy and getting along with other parts of the human family?

    July 18, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. larry kraus

    You know Bush loves WWII comparisons well i have one for him. in WWII the NAZI's made up a reason to invade poland Bush made up reasons to invade Iraq. how's that for WWII comparisons?

    July 18, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |


    Who cares about what this RACIST man has to say?

    July 18, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. colombiano en canada

    It’s almost guaranteed that McCain will lose. He won’t be able to run in 2012 as he will be way too old. Right now he is just viewed as too old. Only 2% of people polled think someone in the 70’s is the best age for a President. So he has questionable health, is already viewed bu others as too old, and even states so himself: In the 2000 race he stated that he would be too old in 2008 to run again. So he is not trying to build momentum for a later victory, a-la-Reagan.”

    July 18, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  17. Doris,Memphis,TN

    We are already in poor standing with the rest of the world. The two
    "oil pimps" in the White House have done enormous damage.
    And now this guy says this. What a crock! I am to going to live in
    another country. Maybe( Czech).

    July 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  18. rexx

    Hmm how many Hindu suicide bombers have attacked the USA or its military in the last few years? It isn't "fear mongering" when it is the truth. Islam is going threw the same thing Christianity went threw during the middle ages. Now you can either ignore the truth and "hope" things get better or you can confront the truth and take action. I would guess most of the Leftists who post here are in favor of the "give them anything they want so they won't hurt us" option.

    July 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. SteveD

    Hey CNN, get your military decorations straight!

    Colonel Bud Day did not receive the Medal of Freedom for his actions in Vietnam...He received the Medal of HONOR!!!!!

    July 18, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Brittany. LA

    Right on--when Obama brings the troops home, Al Qaeda will be right behind them. We'll all be wearing flak jackets and dodging roadside bombs.

    July 18, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. rayster

    How meny Medal of honor were awarded at Wonded Knee when the military killed woman ,children and unarmed men? Remember this is USA history and yet this recipient spews this venom in the name of patriotism God help us

    July 18, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. Eric

    "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.".....excuse me? What does this fellow, Corey Saylor, mean? Is it the mission of Americans or the western world to win the hearts and minds in the Muslim world? I think not! The Crusades ended centuries ago. I am not aware of other religions or cultures that are threatining the Muslim world with terror tactics and swords. If anyone honestly believes that the Muslims will accept other religions in their culture, think again. The Muslim long-range mission is to dominate the world and drive out all non-belivers with whatever means are necessary...including the eventual slaughter of all men, women and children who are not Muslims.

    July 18, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  23. Allen in Hartwell, Ga

    I spent 22 years in the US military and 6-plus years in Saudi Arabia, a feat not many people can match. I am not an Arab nor a Muslim, but I do know about many of the problems the West faces when dealing with Arabs and Muslims. I seem to know more than just about anyone running the federal government about the Middle East – I definately know more than John McCain and any of his headless henchmen. We all need to pay attention to what the candidates do and say about themselves, rather than what they say about the competition.

    McCain has adopted the same campaign strategy as Dubba – which is scare them to death – and since Obama has a strike against him to begin with, it should be easy to scare many "patriotic" Americans.

    July 18, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  24. yns

    It is the extreme fundamentalists that are the threat. He is only speaking the truth. When is the truth racism? FREE SPEECH!

    July 18, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  25. Tim

    How can McSame be commander in chief? He can't remember countries, can't remember what he says or does, and surrounds himself with people who are as just as big a bunch of losers as he is. Remember America, we are a bunch of whiners who are having a mental depression.

    July 18, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25