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. Still for Hill but now ONLY for Hill

    McCain and Obama are just not viable candidates for MOST Americans.

    Bring back Hillary Clinton and give this country a fighting chance to succeed.

    We want the MIDDLE GROUND.

    I hate extreme positions.... it doesn't matter left or right.

    I want the person who can govern all people and lead from the middle ground where all of America meets.

    July 18, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Arch D. Vaughn

    Being retired military, I agree with the senator, he knows what fanatics are like. Muslims is a a way of life thats not like our way it's their way or else. They do not except other religions, they have committed an act of war on us, so we have defend our selves or else.

    July 18, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Viet Nam era survivor

    Bud Day is a decorated Viet Nam vet. John Kerry is a decorated Viet Nam vet. If John Kerry's medal is bogus, then how do we know Bud Day's medal (or any medal awarde in Viet Nam) isn't bogus?

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Rob Moss

    There wasn't one ounce of "truth" to the "Swift Boat Veterans" and there is not any truth or legitimacy to this man. He and they are liars of the highest degree. The Karl Rove machine is fast at work and the only thing to compare to them is Joseph Goebbels and the "Big Lie"..."tell it long enough and loud enough and people will believe it."

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. andy

    Thanks Bud, for another fine contribution to American politics. Without the success you and your like-minded Republican advocates had with the Swift Boat campaign, we might actually not be in quite such a tremendous mess as we are today. And yet for some reason, many voters will still think your insight is of some value. Maybe it's not the Muslims (does that include the many American citizens who follow Islam, yet abhor terrorism as much as you do?) we should be so afraid of.

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. marvinj

    John McCain more of the same Grand Old Party = Good Old Boy's
    What kind of change does anyone really expect from McCain. If McCain gets into office the same greedy people Bush has help get richer and richer (American gouging Americans). These are the same people McCain has already surrounded himself with....MORE OF THE SAME .....

    Don't forget they are getting richer off of these wars while hard working americans suffer because of these old white men greed and lack of morality. It's not financially beneficial for the GOP to end these wars....

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Tubby The Tuba

    Now CNN is flip flopping; first McCain cries he doesn't get reported on like Obama, then all we get is what McCain said or did. Try a balance.Don't support either candidate, just report the news unbiased. That is all any of us want.

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. not important

    Ah the good old GOP scare tactics.

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Confused

    I'm confused, the CNN report says he won the medal of freedom? What? Yet the picture says he won the Medal of Honor. Does CNN even know what a Medal of Honor is? I would be surprised if they did, yes very surprised indeed!

    July 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Bubba

    Poor Dan . . . you think all Muslims are the same, too, doncha? Day said "Muslims." It was the damage control guy trying to clean up the spill who said "radical Muslims." Sure it's not radical Christians?

    July 18, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. The majority meets in the middle.

    That is why true democrats are wanting to bring Hillary back at the convention in Denver.

    Neither Obama nor McCain are desirable.

    The ONLT true, unselfish, dedicated, champion of the people is HRC.

    Without her as nominee, the democratic party WILL lose in Nov, and will be destroyed for decades to come.

    July 18, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Ross, Chautauqua, NY

    Unfortunately, this man is deranged. If McCain doesn't remove him, it speaks poorly of his judgment.

    July 18, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Seam, Philly PA

    Grandpa's Unite to lead the next generation. LOL hahahahaa.
    These dudes look ridiculous with their angry, old faces. Not to worry, they won't be around much longer.

    July 18, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. WOW!!!!

    Maybe we could 'swift boat' Bud Day, McCain, and the rest of the group back to 'Nam. What a sorry bunch of worthless losers – even if he was decorated with many medals.

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. dEMOBRAT

    Everyone needs to simmer down here for a minute. Perhaps he used the word "muslims" because the people that have attacked us in the past were muslims, although extremists. I for one do not think Day meant all muslims throughout the world when he was speaking of the 'enemy.'

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Lisa

    He may be a hero, but he's an ignorant one. I can't imagine this guy in Vietnam, not knowing or caring which Vietnamese were on our side and which were the enemy combatants. There was a difference then, just as there is now, and Bud Day's view only expresses the ignorance of a few Americans who don't/won't take the time to learn about those differences.

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Jonah

    At least McCain's surrogates, unlike Obama's ( i.e., Jesse Jackson), don't want to "cut his nuts out!"

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Dave in CA

    Although he is correct in that radical Islamic extremism is a threat, it does not follow that staying in Iraq decreases that threat,

    What is really pathetic is he still insists that the Swift Boaters were telling the truth when they were really exposed as a bunch of liars. Of course that was never played up by the press because it is much easier just to report the accusations than to do the research and then have to admit everything was just a bunch of hype.

    See U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken's book, "The Truth" for the story of the degraceful deceit of the swiftees. who hated what Kerry represented so much that they believed their own fabrications instead of those with actual knowledge of what occured.

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. socialist whiner

    now they tell us to kneel ,or the'll double the price of the oil you are trying to steal from iraq.

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Floridian

    ...But what's the connection BUD? Are you saying Muslims are bad so vote McCain? What's next? Latinos are lazy? Blacks are too radical?

    When does dissecting differences among friends AND enemies become a REASON to elect McCain? Or do you think that McCain is bankrupt of (good) ideas for a (new) America.

    What muslims, catholics, protestants or jews feel is no reason to vote McCain. So I'll save my vote for the candidate gives me a grip on the American dream, and an America we cal all be proud of.

    July 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Nutter

    So McCain has a swiftboater on his "truth squad" ... now that just has to be the most ironic thing I have heard all week.

    July 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Pat F

    I am really horrified by the unabashed and ugly ageism that comes into play whenever John McCain or his spokesmen are in the news. Really amazing that these commenters call themselves Democrats – the caring party. Yeah, right.

    July 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Johnny

    Oh, that's beautiful. And on top of this, McCain is now trying to mock Obama for going to Iraq. McCain dared Obama to visit Iraq, and then as soon as Barak takes up the challenge and goes there, McCain starts trying to make fun of him for going there.

    This is all so transparent and weak. I'm starting to think McCain doesn't even want be president. And I can't really blame him, considering that a lot of Bush's disasters are still in "seed" form, and McCain wouldn't want to have to take credit for them.

    July 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Cracka lova

    The truth doesn't hurt.....only when you lie to yourself does the truth hurt......the GOP is lieing to itself.........it has managed to deflate the economy unless you make or sell bombs and bullets.......then you are part of the 1% growth that they talk about.......so what about the rest of us.........well it is time to get the good-ole-boys off of Pennsylvania Ave........

    July 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Becky

    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 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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