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. Larry L

    More proof of what a horrible President McCain would have made. We clearly needed a mature diplomat to lead America (like President Obama) rather than bitter, childish, and petty relic of a man like McCain.

    February 4, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. ritmocojo

    Fire Marshal Bill, please stay in your fire station and wait for the next fire call.

    February 4, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I said the same thing when I first read the story last week about the monkey in space.
    You and I can say whatever we want to say short of threatening to murder about a world leader because we'r NOT prominent government officials like McCain.
    I mean, come on, can you grasp the difference here.
    He's NOT a private citizen. His dumbass words and choices can have national and international impact. Our jokes not so much.
    It WAS funny until f'ing McCain said it. Get it?

    February 4, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. They Never Learn

    McCain is and always will be a frat boy.

    February 4, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Jackson

    The man just gets loonier every day. He needs psychiatric observation and a fitness for duty certification from his doctor.

    I am not sure what is worse, his original joke, or the fact that he doesn't understand why people would be offended.

    Just another old white republican who thinks racism is still something to laugh about.

    February 4, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Revelations

    Hello, Ahmadinejad DOES resemble a monkey. And has the brain to match.

    February 4, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. cbp

    Is there anyone who reads these items who does not see what is happening? THe number of times that he lines are blurred is amazing. These men and women seem to believe that this is a way to govern this country. It really is time to let those who are so immature and who contribute nothing to the conversation are sent home so that a more qualified person who know how to listed and cooperate can take the politicians place. The money paid to these people could be better spent. What are the staff people doing while the member does not nothing?

    We now need mature and reasonable men and women to lead our nation out of the fiscal hole. We need people of reason to represent us.

    February 4, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. yolanda

    @Sly...your (lack of) knowledge of what McCain did or dd not do in Vietnam only underscores the obvious....that you are a troll without any interest in the facts. Back under your little rock until it's time to collect your next govt.-issued check.

    February 4, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. FRED

    A senator should be more responsible in what he tweets. I think the republican party has became a party of racists, bigots, and idiots. I am dissapointed that a Senator would call another person a monkey no matter where is from have we as Americans lost a mutual respect for another nationality.

    February 4, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Pete

    McCain is just an old Dude who needs to go home.

    February 4, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Allen

    @Larry L: Yeah President Obama sure is mature. Didn't he mock the Special Olympics on Leno?

    February 4, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. LibParrots

    Oh please....the liberal politcal correctness is obviously a one way street. Get over it.

    February 4, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Sam

    Big deal, ahmadinejad is a monkey...

    February 4, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Sam

    McCain still would of been a better president than obama....

    February 4, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Andi

    It's always 'just a joke' when they get called out on it, eh?

    February 4, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. Laverne

    McCain will do just about anything to get attention these days! Had another leader called our president a monkey (of course except Obama) he would be demanding an apology. He is such a hypocrite, i can't stand this man and by the way, there is not a "mavericky" bone in his broke down body!

    February 4, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    John McCain, if he was half the man he pretends to be, would know that he actually owes Amadinejhad an apology. What I wouldn't give to watch McCain eat that kind of crow. Of course, he's not half the man he pretends to be and possesses neither the values nor humility nor backbone to stand up and say he was wrong and is sorry for it. There's a point where demonizing and dehumanizing those who the GOP/Teatrolls desperately want propped up as bogeymen becomes counterproductive, damages our chances of success and leads us to the exact kind of behavior that makes us no better than those we consider adversaries. McCain crossed that line with flying colors.

    I encourage everyone to demand that he apologize. Make him eat that crow.

    February 4, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "@Larry L: Yeah President Obama sure is mature. Didn't he mock the Special Olympics on Leno?"

    Not precisely, but regardless, he apologized because he offended them. McCain doesn't have half the integrity required to do so in this situation.

    February 4, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. steve

    To think this guy viewed himself as presidential. However, he must be excused for senility is setting in.

    February 4, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. ohad

    This is more offensive to monkeys. How dare McCain compare that low life from Iran to intelligent monkeys.

    February 4, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Right

    @LibParrots et al.

    You don't have to be a liberal to know that Senator McCain's tweets are unacceptable as he is an official Representative of the United States governing body.

    How are anyone to take this man serious in any regard and particular when it comes to foreign policy, diplomacy and the safety of this country. He has no sense of right and wrong, completely lacks sound judgement. He is not you and me - who can joke in any way we want to. Period.

    February 4, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. Martha in CF

    Mr McCain-we have heard too many of your so called jokes. You should probably watch what you say before saying it. Is this your Benghazi moment?

    February 4, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Lilli

    McCain is a DINOSAUR???

    February 4, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. patty fraser

    John buddy time to retire you are just to way old and grumpy to be effective. You did all that howling about Susan Rice so Kerry would get nominated and you could get Scott Brown in the Senate. Well look what that got you old Scott now wants to be the gov of Mass so you effectively ruined the rep of a woman who did nothing different that Condi Rice and in the over all scheme of things much less significant. She spoke to get everyone on B2 side to start a war when she was told WMD's. This was one embassy impact on history a little different and my pont aALL FOR NOTHING YOU AIN'T GETTIN' SCOTT ANYWAY. YOU ARE RUDE AND I THINK YOU MAY HAVE STARTED SUFFERING FROM SOME DELAYED EFFECT ON YOUR PAST FAILURE TO WIN AN ELECTION BECAUSE YOU CHOSE THE DUMBEST GOV IN THE US AS A RUNNING MATE.

    February 4, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Hotdog

    It's always a joke with "them" when they realize how stupid it really sounded to everyone else.

    February 4, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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