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)

    Ronald Regan's senility was ignored. McCain brings nothing to the table compared to him. His 2008 campaign was the first warning.

    February 4, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. DAT

    About the only time lately (I USED to respect him) that I've agreed with McCain.

    February 4, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. TommyNYC

    I'm not too fond of McCain, and I think we are very lucky that Obama was elected over him. BUT, this joke about should not be taken so seriously. I am sure that this IRAN president has made plenty of jokes about US government including the president.

    February 4, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. t3chsupport

    I didn't find it racist at all. I'm not much of a McCain fan, but I thought that was pretty funny. Would have been funny regardless of if it were Iranians or Koreans or anyone else.

    February 4, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. M-W-T

    McCain is just a angry bitter OLD MAN, who lost (twice) the Presidency

    Hero to goat--such a shame-–JUST GO AWAY OLD MAN

    February 4, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Lando

    Thief hates thief as the chinese proverbs said....

    February 4, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Rosslaw

    He really began to depart from reality when defending the war in Iraq which turned out to be a blessing for the Iranians on several levels. McCain at one point claimed that bazaars were now safe to visit in Baghdad and he visited one to prove the point-accompanied by a full armored company of 100 American soldiers whose lives were put at risk for a clown show, plus 10 Stryker armored vehicles, plus two Blackhawks overhead. McCain really thought this showed how improved the situation was in Baghad. Clearly delusional.

    February 4, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. AgrippaMT

    McCain's senility is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day.

    February 4, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. ja

    the seantor was racist toward muslim's during the o4 campagn, are we surprised, merely by picking palin as running mate had racist tones

    February 4, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. mdn

    Some of McCain's best friends are monkey's.

    February 4, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. mdn

    Can you just imagine what the last four years would have been like if McCain and Palin were at the helm!

    February 4, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. John Black Hills SD

    I'm surprised that anyone was even listening to McCain, I wonder why his state re-elects this desert cabbage.

    February 4, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. craigelachie

    It just gets worse with dementia – sorry John, but you should check the hat a take a rest now.

    February 4, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Liz

    Article omits the fact Amash is of mid-East heritage. Palestinian, I think. Joke was in poor taste and rather stupid, but didn't strike me as racist. People are overly sensitive, but being white I can't really judge.

    February 4, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. MK

    Not to defend Rupub too much, but really, I don't think referring to him a monkey was racist.... especially in the light that Iran had just sent a monkey into space. If it had not been with that context maybe I could see the reference, but really, lighten up.

    February 4, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Deme Joseph

    That's not a joke you bitter old man. Go and retire in one of your six houses and let someone else do your job. You went to far when you attacked Hagel and now this. You are truly an angry, bitter person. O win fair and square, can't you get over it.

    February 4, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. tpluce

    Aside from his obvious decrepitness FYI to all, Iranians are Persian not Arab and therefore actually more European(genetically) which means they are white people just like the Turks. So McCains wisecrack would be like cracking on the French or the Russians; unfortunate – yes- racist – not really.

    February 4, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. harmbringer

    So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space – wasn't he just there last week? "Iran launches monkey into space" -

    LOL! nice one. Who would have thought that stuffed shirt had a sense of humor!

    February 4, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Mona

    Yes, everyone can put up with a joke, after all, how long have you been a Senator? You're the joke.

    February 4, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. sss

    He is a racist, because he sees no problem in what he said. If Ahmadinejad called him donkey, then said, OH! its a joke, the whole Congress would be calling for a formal apology.

    February 4, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Real Questions

    Why did Obama miss the statutory budget deadline today? Why didn't Obama get a budget passed during his first two years when Democrats controlled Congress? Why have Obama's recent budget proposals rejected by even Democrats in the Senate? When will Obama submit his budget? How can an organization as large as the US Government operate in a manner that doesn't waste tax dollars when it has no budget?

    February 4, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Brad

    Yeah it was a amusing, but a man in his position and power should know better, he's not a Late Night Talk show host.
    This guy has outlived his effectiveness and stay in Washington, he's doing more damgae than good.

    February 4, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. JOSH P.

    So this is the kind of statements that are coming out,from the people running this country,may God help us all.

    February 4, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. MB

    Wha'st really funny, that most monkeys are smarter then the person he picked for his running mate, which doesn't make him look to smart.

    February 4, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. PDirt

    How utterly insensitive. I thnk McCain owes an apology to monkeys everywhere.

    February 4, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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