McCain says monkey business on Twitter just a joke
February 4th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain says monkey business on Twitter just a joke

(CNN) – After catching some flak for slyly calling Iran's president a monkey on Twitter Monday, Sen. John McCain wondered what the fuss was about.


That was after he took this swipe at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said Monday he wants to be the first Iranian astronaut in space.


That prompted backlash on Twitter, including from Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican.


McCain was linking to an article from last week on Iran's attempt to launch a primate into space. According to official Iranian news reports, the monkey was strapped snugly into a Pishgam (or Pioneer) rocket and launched 120 kilometers (75 miles) into the sky on Monday.

Iran said the move represented its latest bid to join the space race, though Iran's foes fear the real aim may be to test missile launching capabilities for less peaceful purposes.

The monkey returned back to Earth sometime later, looking shell-shocked but alive as a crowd of men along the desert ground rejoiced, video from state-run Press TV showed.

Since then, media reports have cast doubt on Iran's version of their launch, citing two different photos of the monkey that was purportedly blasted into space.

McCain has never been shy about his opposition to Iran's regime, often using jokes. During his 2008 bid for president, he memorably changed the lyrics to "Barbara Ann" to "Bomb Iran" during a campaign appearance.

CNN's Greg Botelho and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Iran • John McCain
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Senate term limit rules have rendered Senator McCain irrelevant. He can no longer play a leading role on any existing committees. The only power he really has left is lip service.

    February 4, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Pam from Iowa

    Lighten up???
    Come on Senator, I thought you were better than that!
    A skill lacking among most politicians is the ability to think before speaking!!!!

    February 4, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. BOKinLarksville

    LOL.. How does that saying go? "It takes one to know one".. McCain needs to retire.. Mad cow is taking its toll on poor John.. I get embarrassed for you when you open your mouth.. Please keep it closed..

    February 4, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    good job there McSenile. Insulting a leader of a country that is extremely dangerous and then making light of it. You and the rest of the GOP and your intentional undermining of Obama is treasonous

    February 4, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. mccainin4

    Senator McCain only pointed out the "Capricorn One" protocol that many moon landing deniers still promote to this day. There's one set of "photoshopped" images that is the Official Sanctioned explaination, and then there's the truth. Once photoshopping is proven, how can you trust any further explaination? This set the Iran Space Program back a year – they have to send a second rocket with a monkey just to get their credibility back...

    Or send President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    But what's the difference?

    February 4, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. John

    I'm a liberal, I'm a Democrat, and I didn't vote for McCain in 2008.

    I thought it was a pretty good joke and McCain can be a funny guy 🙂

    February 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. chao-wei

    While we're at it, could the US launch dinosaurs into space, too?

    February 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. BCW

    Can someone show John McCain the door to retirement? He needs to stop being an angry old man living in the past. He is still living the 2008 election defeat, the Vietname war and the Iraq war. THEY ARE OVER. Please live in the present moment, John.

    February 4, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Dennis Freeman

    It's long past time for Sen. McCain to "hang it up." He's a bitter old man living off past success and an out of date reputation. Perhaps Dancing With The Stars should be the next stop.

    February 4, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Kathy0715

    It's time to resign gramps, your service is no longer needed.

    February 4, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. nothing new here

    Typical nonsense from the CLOWNS we have in office.

    February 4, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Evergreen

    As a Democrate, I was leaning towards voting for McCain in the 2000 election. What happened to that McCain?

    February 4, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Jules

    If anybody needs to lighten up it's McCain. He has turned into a bitter old man.

    February 4, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. W.

    Calling an adversarial president a monkey from a senator who is a withered prune. Oh, the irony...

    February 4, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    An old fool tweeting on tweeter...what a twit!!!

    Leave tweeter for children McSenile and stop wetting your diaper with your brain cells..........

    February 4, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. real American

    Funny? Yes. Racist? No. Professional? No.

    February 4, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. ART

    Omg saw game change this weekend, which was not a true depiction of Palin. She is much more stupid than depicted and Mccain is much more incompetent.

    February 4, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. plain&simple

    A stunt like this appeals to the primal base of the republican party! Primates,primary equal win for McCain....

    February 4, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |

    So, Senator McCain, the closest thing the GOP has to a foreign policy expert (how scary is that?), thinks it's OK to tweet jokes about the leader of Iran, racist or not?
    Oh really?

    February 4, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Kevin Oley

    Did Justin Amash really say "wisen up"? That's only in the Urban dictionary

    February 4, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Iran 1: McCain 0.

    Pathetic. Way to maintain the moral highground, jackhole. What's next? Insulting Amadinejhad's mother?

    February 4, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |

    We're surprised a rich, old, white GOP member said this?

    February 4, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. gee

    The old fashioned way to fix potty mouth was to use soap.

    February 4, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. dsangiovanni

    I didn't vote for McCain and didn't for Romney. I think this was a good joke!...And a true one, and I don't think is a racist one.. What does a monkey has to do with race?...The true is this Iran's president is a monkey in the sense that this guy is a Neanderthal man.

    February 4, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. tankerbell

    I don't see how the joke was racist, though. Seemed like McCain was just calling Amendenejad a monkey because he doesn't like him, not because he's Iranian.

    February 4, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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