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. Benny P

    opps, i meant being transformed into a monkey (not money). a freudian slip.

    February 5, 2013 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  2. Dantology101

    To act like a monkey: When someone is acting like an animal or a fool....thus the reference to Iranian glorious leader.....[face palm]

    February 5, 2013 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  3. Jeff

    The difference Joe Malichio is that MB didn't run for Vice President, and i bet MB knows what a light year is while Palin most certainly does not. I'm Canadian and follow American politics closely and used to like and respect McCain until he ran for president the last time and pandered to the fringe elements of the far right. He has no credibility anymore, and a great deal of poor judgement.

    February 5, 2013 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  4. Chooch0253

    This is not really news. McCain is not exactly known for sensitivity or political correctness. Remember he is an old man. You can' teach an old dog new tricks. On the other hand if a Democrat had said something like this, he would launch a Congressional Investigation.

    February 5, 2013 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  5. Marita

    I've always had the utmost respect for Sen. McCain! He has had such a distinguished career+is now ruining is own legacy! Such a shame! 'Wish, he would have elected to retire + leave with his reputation intact! Choosing Sarah Palin was the first step on a downward spiral! – @Marita.

    February 5, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  6. Don

    Cut the man som e slack. John McCain si no racist. He has a very sharp sense of humor. Thats all. He has had enough pain in his life not to deliberately caus any for anyone else. Just becuase he wrong on most of the issues is no reason to question his character.

    February 5, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  7. Dale

    If Joe Biden had said something like this, he would been given a free pass or been congratulated.

    February 5, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  8. Tam

    When it comes to that crazy country, it may be true – not PC, but true. But isn't the Senator past his expiry date?

    February 5, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  9. rightospeak

    McCain is not only arrogant and stupid, he is mean as well. He should have been shipped with Sarah Palin long ago to Israel because he is just a bad influence on our politics.

    February 5, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  10. Craig in Pa.

    McCain is an idiot and needs to retire..plain and hero in my Dad fought WWII, Korea and 2 tours in VietNam...never got captured, never lost a plane....he was a hero....

    February 5, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  11. Marie MD

    This senile old man has finally shown his true colors. RIGHT NOW, I want a complete congressional hearing, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and whatever other agencies we have to investigate him to bring him to justice and show the world why he is NOT fit to govern and should lose his job RIGHT NOW!!!
    This includes a televised deballing of the old man on TV!!! Make sure Hillary, his old friend Hagel and Susan Rice are part of the panel.
    BTW – I would be more insulted that he actually compared a humanh being to a monkey!!! Then again, look who picked in 2008.

    February 5, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  12. bradlarochelle

    the word "monkey" is not racist, ad hominem may not be useful but it doesn't make it racist.

    February 5, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  13. Livninctry

    I think it's time for a full set of congressional hearings on McCain now.... Stupid old man... Go home and enjoy what's left of your retirement years... Leave the governing to the big kids who try not to insult as a way of getting their point across.

    February 5, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  14. JD

    When Bill Maher said Donald Trump's parents were monkeys the media reports it as funny. But when McCain says something similar, the media says it's racist.

    February 5, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  15. Richard Miller

    John, you and your party are the Joke!

    February 5, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  16. jnpa

    McCain is a fool. He is just waiting for the day that the U.S. will bomb Iran. He is a dangerous man and we are very fortunate that he was not elected president. I have no respect for him whatsoever!

    February 5, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  17. PatheticCNN

    Actually he meant to say US has a monkey-in-chief.

    February 5, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  18. Paul

    I saw you are a joke John at the very least. You sang like a canary at the Hanoi hotel in VN and you were either responsible, involved, or near the loss of 5 US Jets, considered a mediocre pilot by your peers at best. You really have a nerve acting like you know best for all.

    February 5, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  19. quinLee

    isn't this guy way past his expiration.

    February 5, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    John obviously has a strange sense of humor. After all, he thought Sarah would make a good VP...

    February 5, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Senator, your remarks are indefensible. You, a former candidate to be our nation's leader, are openly mocking the leader of a foreign nation. When it comes to diplomacy, you're worse than Mitt Romney. At least Romney insulted people who are not likely to start launching missles at us.

    February 5, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCain has now made it clear why he hasn't risen higher than a senator like Kerry, we can't have diplomats running around the World calling people names regardless of whether we like them or not. Now we clearly understand why he picked Palin, birds of a feather flock together. It's past time for McCain to go, he's become a real embarrassment to himself and the Repugs.

    February 5, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  23. Joe Beets

    McCain probably wouldn't think someone making a joke about Albino's very funny, well comparing Imadiinerjacket to a monkey is insulting to monkeys

    February 5, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. DinGA

    Poor McCain..... If only he'd realized in time that Palin's stupidity was both terminal, and contageous.

    February 5, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  25. Chuckie

    Maybe not racist, but pretty rude and junvenile.

    February 5, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
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