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. dsangiovanni

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Peace

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. MeapersoninUS

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Romy Monteyro

    I believe Senator McCain insulted the monkey by implying that the lunatic Iranian Ahmadinejad is a primate! Enough said!

    February 4, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Big Deal!

    We call McCain much worse all the time.

    And we're NOT joking.

    February 4, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Plain Jane

    Calling Akmydickajob a monkey is an insult to the monkeys all around the world. McCain needs to apologize immediately.

    February 4, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. critical thinking

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. bill

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Bill from GA

    To chao-wei

    "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.

    February 4, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. HarbajanSingh

    A Donkey in the Senate makes a Monkey joke. Warmonger is off his meds.

    February 4, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Mr. hand

    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??

    February 4, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    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?

    February 4, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. batjones

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Mike Smith

    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...

    February 4, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Grady

    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 seems only fitting, being that he is one of the world's more odious personalities.

    February 4, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. kate

    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.

    February 4, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. I Pick Sarah Palin to be My Running Mate

    John McCain continues to run remarkably short on good judgement.

    February 4, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. 1608

    Bomb bomb Iran was a joke too,,,I think not.

    February 4, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    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.

    February 4, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. yanni

    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.

    February 4, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    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.

    February 4, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Voter

    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.

    February 4, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Jim

    Give him a break, he's just a senile old man!

    February 4, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. g

    macain wants to waste another trillion on a phony war and he don,t care with who

    February 4, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. LibParrots

    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....

    February 4, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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