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. Michelle

    good thing he lost in 2008 – no one of presidential stature should make such a comment to a world leader, no matter how much they dislike them.

    February 4, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Dean

    If McCain needs to apologize to anyone, it is to the monkey.

    February 4, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Sly

    Anyone still wondering why Al Queda targeted us on 9/11?

    Bet McCain didn't ask "gee, cant anyone take a joke?" when OBL joked about the American bodies jumping from the World Trade Centers.

    Fact is, McCain murdered a lot more folks than OBL when he was spraying chemical weapons all over women and children 8000 miles away in Vietnam.

    February 4, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. hannah

    McCain is way over the hill and uses very poor judgement when he makes statements like this. And Parrots says that McCain has done a lot for the nation. Other than voting us into war in iraq, what has he done. I'm from Arizona and I can't think of one thing that he has done. He's an embarassament. It's time for him to retire, bowe out.

    February 4, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Dean


    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.
    HUH??????Five years as a POW in Hanoi would deter anyone from unnecessary wars.

    February 4, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. jennifer in Houston

    Time the old guy retired, he's so cranky and becoming an embarassment..

    February 4, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. cbp

    Senator McCain should not be given any slak. He gives none and therefore he should receive none. Those who hold political power and who constantly upbraid others for what they say, need to be beyond reproach.

    It never helps to degrade another leader by comparing him to a monkey, or chimp, or ape. Just another example of the immaturity of our leaders. Sen. McCain, I can take a joke but you have proven in the past that you cannot. It is easy to respect you as a POW but not so easy to respect you over the last couple of years as your temper appears more often and you choose to make these silly and sometimes stupid statements.

    February 4, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Wingman

    I think its pretty obvious that this is not a racist comment. Ahmadinejad is pretty much a buffoon. The joke works perfectly.
    In fact, I'd go on to compare most of the US congress to a 'barrel of monkey's'... No racism there, either.

    February 4, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Rick in OP

    McCain's right. The President of Iran looks like a baboon. He has also been funneling weapons to Iraq and and Afghanistan that have been used to kill American soldiers.

    February 4, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Arrogant cowboy wannabe shooting off his mouth and saying "whaa? who me?" when called to the mat on it.
    This is another reason why they threw shoes at the Crawford village idiot: American arrogance and lack of respect for other countries and their LEADERS.

    February 4, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. RINO Bill

    McCain is the same clown who once sang Bomb Iran to the tune of the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann. Too bad it is way toooo late for him to retire with any sort of dignity. There used to be a time where John McCain actually made sense.

    February 4, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Logic N LA

    I am a big believer in sarcasim. I like politicians with a good sense of humor. But John McCain and others in our government have to think before discussing other countries, their leaders, their religions and their people.
    His comment was insulting to a foreign government's leader and given our relationship with Iran, not needed.

    February 4, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is easy to respect you as a POW
    No. It is not easy for me to respect him as a POW either. He disgraces the title POW as far as I'm concerned.

    February 4, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. FFC

    Iranians are white and consider themselves caucasion.

    February 4, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. JusAGuy

    Two things:
    McCain is a soleless a**wipe who has nothing better to do than trying to start another war. Everything else aside, he is no better looking than an ape himself. I mean, look at that ugly face of his! How did he ever get laid? He is the same criminal who watched people die in Vietnam and now he thinks he is a hero or something! Dumba**

    February 4, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Sorensen

    This is a terrible insult to all monkeys !!

    February 4, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Charles

    World leaders need to have the nuts to say these kinds of things. BO has none.

    February 4, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. massconn72

    I said the same thing when I first read the story last week about the monkey in space. I never agree with anything John McCain says, but this time I have to. And no, I have NO RESPECT for him as a leader or his tactics of leadership.

    February 4, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    Public figures should have a filter on what they say in public about the leaders of other countries.

    McCrypt just lapses into a stream of conscienceness chatter, then claims he was "joking".

    Senility is defined as the stripping away of those verbal filters.

    February 4, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. massms

    Those who are so quick to yell racist at McCain should note he adopted a child from Bangladesh.

    February 4, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Barry

    At least, I know my opinion does not matter.

    February 4, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Al Gore's Toupee

    He only tweeted this because Ahmanutjob was reported to have said, "If I had a son, he would look like this monkey"

    February 4, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    @LibParrots: I used to respect McCain, before he sold his soul to Karl Rove in his quest for the White House. His tweet shows what a fool he truly is; I'm no fan of Ahmadinejad, but for Pete's sake! McCain should know better than to put this out on social media!

    And to all of you out there claiming that McCain has cojones for tweeting this, I say if he really did, he wouldn't have tried to soften his "joke."

    February 4, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Robin

    As a native Arizonan i can say to you all with confidence...McCain just needs to go away . He is way past relevent.

    February 4, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. longtooth

    The joke occurred to me as soon as I saw Ahmadinejad's declaration. But I would not have said it if I were a U.S. senator. I considered voting for McCain until he picked Palin for a running mate. His judgment has disappeared. Someone get the Hook. He's embarrassing himself.

    February 4, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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