(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.
It was a good joke. He said in the sense that Iran's president is like a Neanderthal man. That is what he implied when he said monkey. Nothing to do with race. I didn't vote for him, neither for Romney, just saying to clarify.
I would like to urge GOP who always talk about small government, should give it a deep thought about keeping people like McCain, who really are making the government big.
Wow why dosen't this dusty-OLE'-man go somewhere sit down and chase people off his lawn. Really! McCain this name calling is childish.
I believe Senator McCain insulted the monkey by implying that the lunatic Iranian Ahmadinejad is a primate! Enough said!
We call McCain much worse all the time.
And we're NOT joking.
Calling Akmydickajob a monkey is an insult to the monkeys all around the world. McCain needs to apologize immediately.
Racist? Now the libs are coming to the defense of a man who would no sooner nuke this country then put a bullet in an americans head. Mark my words, Iran will get a nuke and Obama will blame republicans. It's coming with this President.
McCain is terrible at jokes, the worst one of all was selecting that moron Palin as his running mate. McCain should just stop with the jokes and go crawl under a rock already.
"While we're at it, could the US launch dinosaurs"
Sorry, but Moses left the dinosaurs off the Arc. Didn't you notice; they're not around anymore.
A Donkey in the Senate makes a Monkey joke. Warmonger is off his meds.
Hilarious! Wish I'd said it first. And I don't see how it's racist. Is there some kind of stereotype that links Iranians and monkeys??
I thought he was kind of funny for an old fart. And it wasn't racist; he insulted Ahmadinejad personally, not Iranians in general. I'm not a McCain fan these days, but I really don't care if Mahmood is insulted. And as for insulting the nation of Iran, what are they gonna do, burn our flag and keep on with their nuke program?
It is actualy encouraging that the Republican Representative Amash tried to stop the flow of silliness by the Senior Senator of Arizona. These types off-hand comments by Senator McCain are not necessarily intended to be malicious and can be funny in small circles of friends to relax moments of tension or to keep a defeated team motivated. However, when broadcast to the general population it adds fuel to a destructive fire. Thank you Mr. Amash for letting Senator McCain know that his Twitter was on.
Wonder how he would feel if Iran joked about his wittered hand? Who's laughing then? Other than monkeys, what other names do he call Arabs, and yet he scolded Hagel about the Jewish comment! Hypocrite...
Honestly, a joke at Ahmadinejad's expense was the first thing that came to mind when I first read the announcementthat Iran had launched a monkey into space...it seems only fitting, being that he is one of the world's more odious personalities.
Sen. McCain needs to keep his mouth shut. Just who does he think he is? God? Maybe with remarks like that...he needs to step down and let someone with good character have his office.
John McCain continues to run remarkably short on good judgement.
Bomb bomb Iran was a joke too,,,I think not.
If I'm not mistaken, one of the late night comics made a similar wise crack last week. I seem to recall seeing it replayed on one of the morning news shows.
The guy is sorry he missed war with Iran, maybe he had seen war from the ground in Vietnam he would have been less enthusiastic about war.
What else can one expect from the person who picked Palin as his running mate. McCain is frustrated after being passed over again and again, he's got to take it out on someone in his attempt to booster his own image. It wouldn't surprise me if McCain calls the President the same thing or worse, just a matter of time, just a matter of time.
As the Iraqi Army learned – a monkey in a tank is still just a monkey in a tank. The Iranians will learn the same hard lesson one day soon.
Give him a break, he's just a senile old man!
macain wants to waste another trillion on a phony war and he don,t care with who
Sen McCain has done more for this country than most of you ever will. We the thin skinned sheeple are offended about everything especially if BO says so we should be....