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. Sensible Cape Coral FL

    I am horrified at the ignorance of my fellow Americans and more especially at their eagerness to display it.
    Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world so it behooves us to understand it and YES even appreciate it. Fewer than one percent of its followers are fanatics and it is just plain stupid to condemm all Muslims because of them. Islam is actually a very beautiful religion if we would only take to trouble to learn about it.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Jim

    He is right. Islamic extremism has a simple policy – you agree with them for you die. There is nothing wrong with what this gentleman has said. Look around the world, in almost all conflicts one of the participants are muslims. Why is that? We may not like the implications, but this old man is right.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Antibush, Chicago

    I guess Bud Day is the Phil Gramm of national security, completely out of touch w/ reality. McCain may want to vet Steve Schmidt, as bad of a president as Bush is, his campaign was never run this poorly.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. No Nos No Nos Moveran

    Nominate Hillary Clinton in Denver and knock McCain out on his butt and give this country a fighting chance to move forward.

    Stick with the installed puppet nominee demanded by 12 %of America and the newbies who never before cared enough to vote, and watch the chaos.

    We do not want LEFTIST- we want liberal moderate democratic leaders who can appeal to moderate republicans as well.

    Obama will divide the Nation JUST like he has divided the democratic party.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. steve

    I am sick and tired of senile old men sticking their ridiculous political notions into the heads of Americans.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. floridian

    "...who received the Medal of Freedom..." should read "...the Congressional Medal of Honor". Who writes your articles, CNN? Anybody edit them?

    Bud Day has done more for veterans than the entire 435 members of Congress combined - Tricare for Life, being a prime example. Those who write in to criticize need to research before you sling mud and besmirch an American hero.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Tony in Chicago

    It really does not make a difference what McCain (or surrogates) say or do. The media will give it very brief coverage then go directly back to hammering things about Obama that are not really an issue but if you look at themt from twenty-five different ways, under three microscopes while standing on one leg, come possibly be strecthed to be an issue.

    McCain jokes about bombing people, killing people and yesterday it was reported that McCain, in the past when running for Senate, told jokes involving women being rape and beaten. If that was Obama, he would have to leave the country..

    It is so ridiculous these days it is funny.

    July 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    Keep is comming Bud, and all the rest of you morons.

    Hate-mongering = An Obama presidency

    Were not gonna take it...............ANYMORE!!!

    OBAMA '08 + '12

    July 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Checker

    "Medal of Freedom"? Don't you mean "Medal of Honor"?

    July 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Dems are stuck in the fix they rigged

    Obama is so divisive that he is forcing life-long democrats to chose McCain over him.

    Both are bad, but Obama is worse, and an installed nominee.

    The democrats messed this up bad.

    July 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Derrick - Houston, TX

    wow... i wonder if this stupidity will get any air time? doubt it

    July 18, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |

    This old moron has one leg in the grave and is still preaching hate?
    Should be asking god for forgiveness for all his sins.

    July 18, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    If the threat is from from radical Islam, then moderate Islam shares the responsibility since they don't seem to do anythings to curb the radicals. Bud Day is right. Ultimately it will be us or them.

    Remy, Muslims aren't a race any more than Protestant is.

    July 18, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |

    LOL they look real upset...LOL

    July 18, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Gene from Georgia

    A swift-boater on a truth squad, now that's ironic.

    July 18, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Toby Hill

    Not all Muslims are terrorist but a vast majority of terrorist are Muslim and since my ability is limited on who the terrorist might be I will just be suspicious of them all.

    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    This guy is nuts. I hope McCain keeps him.

    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. skunkrat The Marine

    Another old burned out psychologically damaged POW spreading hate and fear. McCain really needs to re-examine his staff. They are giving Obama & his staff some substantial ammunition to use once they fully engage.
    McCain talks about running a clean campaign while at the same time he surrounds himself with the mud slinging CREEPS from the BUSH/ROVE camp. That's OK because Mccain can dish it out but he cannot take it but Obama is going to SOCK IT TO HIM and he is going to have a melt down for all of America to see.

    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. WOW!!!!

    Hey Dan-

    It appears you can do your own colonoscopy by just opening your eyes. McCain made the statement you quoted, but Bud Day just said 'Muslims'. Get a clue....

    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Eileen from Maine

    The rich white men should pull the sheets back up over their heads before the boogey men get them. BOO!

    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. OH

    Kinda one of those things you think of but better left unsaid.

    We do have to remember – American Islam is very different from Middleastern Islam. We are one nation under God.


    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. socialist whiner

    griff?ever feel lonely?

    July 18, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Why is the press so negative about McCain? Because he and his cronies shows themselves that way.

    July 18, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Otanes - Atlanta

    Bud Day would be a perfect VP candidate for McCain. He has all the qualifications of a GOP presidential and VP.

    July 18, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Amerika the beautiful

    We would now have a valid choice and a winning nominee if the DNC had not decided to fix the primary for Obama.

    If only Oprah and Caroline and the media and the DNC had NOT interfered with and forced the process... we would now be rejoicing that Hillary Clinton- a dedicated servant of ALL Americans would soon take the helm.

    As it stand, we must work to make her the nominee at the convention in Denver.

    Never Obama... Will settle for McCain.

    July 18, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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