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. carlos

    plain and simple....a walking imbecile/////

    February 5, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. Michael Chapel Hill

    Afteral, monkey is supposed to be the great grandfather of all the Darwinians. Liberal media can call anyone racist if they don't like him/her.President Obama who made the most racist statement by any President has never been called a racist. Anyway, Ahammadinejad, wants to go to moon. Good thing. I wish him the best there.

    February 5, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  3. julie

    it cracked me up........not nice mccain, shame on you...but I did laugh

    February 5, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  4. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    I think they both look like monkeys.

    February 5, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  5. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    If they look like a monkeys ,talk like a monkey and dress like a monkey and screech like a monkey ,which they both do they are monkeys from the same gop bafoon .

    February 5, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. Eric

    Thank God this idiot never became President. You can see how unfit for office he would have been.

    February 5, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  7. beevee

    A prominent politician making this kind of jokes is silly. The old McCain may be losing it. It is time for him to get out of political arena..

    February 5, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  8. Honor Fenwen

    Plain and simple: no fool like an old fool. This past tense idiot is a cancer.

    February 5, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Hmmph. Unapologetic. How typical for a conservative. They will never admit to making a mistake, much less taking responsibility for the mistake. If you want transparency in government, just look at Republicans. They're as phony and transparent as politicians can get.

    If McCain wants his war with Iran, then he's doing a blatantly obvious job of provoking them. The Iranians have been exercising their navy in the Perrsian Gulf in recent weeks, becoming bolder and bolder with more and more practice. There have bee a number of near incidetns between US warships and Iranian warships. Iranians have recently threatened to close off the Persian Gulf. If Senator McCain has forgotten about any of this, then he's either senile or ready to be dismissed from the Senate.

    February 5, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  10. JD

    It's past time, McCain needs to go home and stare out the window. I'm sure he thinks he can see Russia after trying to get some of that Alaska stuff. Both of them belong together!

    February 5, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Saboth

    Nope, not racist. That remark is racist when talking about black people, not all minorities. Honestly, if it gets to the point where everyone sits around discussing IF something is racist or not, it's gone too far. Find something better to do.

    February 5, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Gman

    John, John, John.....retire so we don't watch you slip further into senility and irrelevance. Isn't there testing available that might show whether your more frequent angry outbursts and lack of self control are indicative of dimentia or alzheimers? You are a bitter hack whose better times have long passed. You're becoming a mockery of neo-conservatism and all things republican. Shame on you for hurting the party for your own agrandizement.

    February 5, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. PatheticCNN

    Only Racist if he could have called Obama a Monkey.

    February 5, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  14. AreYouKidding?

    What's racist about it? Now, if Iran were in Africa, MAYBE (depending on the context) that could be a racist joke. To my knowledge, "monkey" is not a common racial slur when it comes to the middle east and Iran. Grow up everybody. Please. Before it's too late.

    February 5, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  15. Floyd from Illinois

    Just think, Republcians – if you'd had your way, there's a better than even chance that we would have just sworn your imdecile in for his second term.

    February 5, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. Ah,come on!

    Iran's president isn't a monkey. He's a Neanderthal with a pea brain clothed in ugly!

    February 5, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. AL

    I don't think what he said was racist. He was linking it to the monkey previously launched. If this were the 50s/60s his comments towards Communist Russia would have been using "dog" instead of monkey.

    February 5, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  18. Ancient Texan

    The left is sure sensitive and sympathetic towards the "poor mistreated" terrorists.

    February 5, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  19. John

    Wow... Lots of FAKE outrage by the left. This was not Racist at all. If they had sent a rat into space he would have called him a rat, but they used a monkey... Not racist and anyone who says it is, is either a far left wing nut who would get pissed about anything the right does... Or is absolutely ignorant to what happened and what Iran claims.. Honestly people, get a life...

    February 5, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. rapierpoint

    I guess it's too much to ask Justin Amash to growup and quit being an idiot. Calling someone a monkey isn't inherently racist. In fact, there are few situations where it could even be considered racist. I suppose all the political cartoons with Bush being drawn as a monkey were all racist also.

    February 5, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Mit

    What is wrong with you politically challenged fools? He made a joke about a madman that supports that Syrian lunatic, wants to wipe Isreal off the map and would love to see mushroom clouds across the US. Get a grip!

    February 5, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. rs

    Yes, it is Iran, but McCain (and many on the right) seem to disregard Iran and it's leaders as something less than real or legitimate (as if we have a say)- probably in a way much like they address the President. They fail to recognize that ultimate lack of respect makes dealing with these nations and their leaders that much harder. Sure, we know they badly want to attack Iran, but really guys, enough is enough. Grow up!

    February 5, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Jack

    How do you liberals feel about Joe Biden? He reminds me of McCain a little...

    February 5, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. rs


    How do you liberals feel about Joe Biden? He reminds me of McCain a little...
    Biden is trying to fix problems in America- the Jury is out on McCain and Republicans.

    February 5, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Sniffit

    His runs for POTUS were just jokes too. Time to move from assisted living to full nursing care, McPampers.

    February 5, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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