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. Woody Hilliard

    Look,I'm no lover of al Ahmadinejed or any of the radical Muslim ayatollahs, but McCain should realize there's a need for conducting himself with a little more self control. It's not very statesman-like and beneath the dignity of his position as a Senator of the United States.

    February 4, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Zoomie

    Rascist or not I like it

    February 4, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Dan p.

    Right on MB. Wonder if he'd answer yes or no, was that a dumb choice?

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

    Nothing New

    Senator John McCain's entire political career consists of dozen of inappropriate or not-well-thought-over statements delivered at the wrong time.

    One can surmise that perhaps the beatings suffered at the hands of his North Vietnamese
    captors are beginning to adversely affect Senator McCain's progressively senile mind.

    Or, maybe its time for Hot Shot Johnny to hang up his skates and retire to the front porch rocker. Bye Johnny.

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

    Why is calling him a monkey racist?Please explain...........

    February 4, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Jay

    McCain has lost credibility!! The people of Arizona need to send him home.

    February 4, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Laura

    John McCain is turning into a hack. It amazes me that a man that chose Sarah Palin as a running mate would dare to talk trash about anybody else. I'm no fan of the Iranian leader but as a retired Navy Officer and U. S. Senator, Mr. McCain should exercise more restraint and judgement.

    February 4, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. NickAnast

    How convenient. "I was just joking." Seems like we hear that a lot from Republicans.

    February 4, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    This man thought he should be President. He should apologize in person. Shame on you

    February 4, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    The left has developed a fixation on the term "racist".. If anyone dares to disagree with their personal beliefs, they will be called that dreaded term.

    February 4, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Johnny

    there's nothing wrong with mocking someone who is evil- who wants to nuke Israel and the free world.

    February 4, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Joe Malichio

    But MB is the smart one, dropping 'Wha'st' and 'then' instead of 'than' and 'to' instead of 'too'.
    Glass houses, smarty pants.

    I'd bet Sarah Palin is light years smarter than you... then you... than you... then you... than you... you dizzy yet?

    February 4, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Jason

    when is McCain going to stop, he forgets that he lost the election, and seems like his purpose is to complete destroy the GOP by his actions - I think he has a mental disability from all that torture - too bad we cant send him back for some more – lol – teach him a lesson like we do with the monkeys

    February 4, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. CSM

    McCain is not a joke teller... and those comments were racist.

    February 4, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. aztony

    Has McCain seen himself in a mirror lately? People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    February 4, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. The Film Professor

    I'm a liberal, and I think his joke is hilarious! I mean, come on folks, this guy in Iran is a nut job. Comparing him to a monkey is insulting only to monkeys.

    February 4, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. HoustonOilMan

    About as smart as:
    bomb-bomb Iran."

    February 4, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. may40

    MB- Really? Talk about VP picks!!! Yeah, Biden the blunderer is brilliant. You liberals can have your say but it amazes me that you expect apologies from conservative but you give your own a "pass". Liberalism=a mental disorder!

    February 4, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. Ken in MD

    I don't see it as racist, but it's definitely in poor taste to refer to a recognized leader of a recognized nation as a monkey. Suppose Ahmadinejad referred to the Senate as a palace of old, out of touch, white guys. I'll bet McCain would be the first to call him out on it. Even though it's true.

    February 4, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. asm_ith

    Any rational person would realize that antagonizing foreign leaders does a disservice to American foreign policy. McCain seem to just want to stay in the spotlight, but over and over shows himself to be a bitter person & nasty sore loser. He just has difficulty living with his loss and the embarrassment that was made apparent to the world about his poor judgement when he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate. Now he tries to say that people can't take a joke with his statement; he can't seriously believe that anyone would consider it a joke.

    February 4, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. John

    John McCain is such a disappointment. I used to respect him as a leader but he has become a vindictive ,partisan hypocrit. He wants answers on Bengazi but never acknowledges he was wrong on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or wrong about invading Iraq. All he wants is revenge on those who challenge him and perpetual war for the US. Go home McCain. Just go home.

    February 4, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. JLO

    Haters hate. Looks like this "joke" puts Shecky McCain and Imadinnerjacket in the same club.

    February 4, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. asdrel

    Senator McCain didn't say anything in his Tweet that a great many people hadn't already posted, and in all likelyhood many more people had thought (myself included). It isn't like the leaders of Iran hasn't made some pretty insulting comments about U.S. leaders.

    February 4, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. fernace

    We really must get over our tendency to hold c-lebs & politicians to higher standards! At the end of the day they are mere humans who snore, pick buggars, scratch their butts & have foot odor! Who hasn't called Ahmadinejad a "monkey's uncle" or harsher terminology, a time or 3!? McCain really should know better than to say it on Twitter, but at the end of the day...! I don't care about the Menendez debacle either, unless there's financial wrong doing or minors at the yacht parties! The standards that politicians are Obligated to uphold are to represent & work for their const.ituents! If they don't, Vote them out! That simple!!

    February 4, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. John

    and this guy thought he was presidential material.

    February 4, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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