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. Thinkergal

    McCain, please, please, please just stop–talking, tweeting, all of it!

    February 4, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. Tom

    Pull the plug on McCain, maybe he will go back to Arizona with the rest of the dried up old men.

    February 4, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. alexo1

    kudos to McCain, great sense of humor, but quit insulting monkeys, although monkeys are not as sensitive as liberals

    February 4, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Don

    Iranian isn't a race.......LoL

    February 4, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. jaysee

    So . . Had to find " racist " joke after reading all these comments. Would someone explain how that was racist.

    February 4, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. snakedriver

    McCain is a Joke!

    February 4, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. Anderson

    Harry Truman would slap his butt

    February 4, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. rpgboy22

    @Ancient Texan
    prompted backlash on Twitter, including from Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican.Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes. “@SenJohnMcCain: Re: Iran space tweet – lighten up folks, can't everyone take a joke?”

    A Republican said this not a Liberal

    February 4, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. John

    Ho-hum, another tempest in a teapot. Mr. McCain, your joke was not terrible, it was just puerile. A little more 'gravitas' from the Senate, please.

    February 4, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. komododr

    The way things are I would rather be a monkey so I have a better chance of being shot into outer space. What a lucky monkey would I be. So the sinile yet esteemed senator is quite right. CHILL OUT.

    February 4, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Why would anyone be shocked that a racist like McCain would make a racist remark?

    February 4, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Another Satisfied Democrat

    The arrival of the tea party has seen McCain devolve into something like a disrespectful juvenile. Someone please take away his IPhone!

    February 4, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. ronjayaz

    It's time McCain left the senate. He's too old and rickety, Perhaps sliding into Alzheimers. We cant have jokes like this. No matter how U feel abt the president/PM of Iran he still deserves a courtesy. Foreigners dont appreciate "American humor," esp from our elected representatives.

    February 4, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. racist? ha! politically correct! ahmedinejad IS a monkey

    good for mcain...well done! humour and truth! perfect! only stupid libs have a hard time with that...

    February 4, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. SanSerif

    I'm conflicted on this. McCain has every right to do this, the joke was okay, and it is his first amendment right. Then again, it really doesn't help our dialogue with Iran. If we want to pursue peace with Iran, making fun of their president is probably not a good way to help. It's like trying to ask a girl out on a date, and your friend is there making faces to screw you up.

    If Obama did this, I strong have a feeling that McCain along with the other republicans would be all over him. (McCain isn't president, but he is still a US Senator that is a representative of our country) I would have said the same about Obama too if that were the case anyway.

    Oh well, slow news day apparently...

    February 4, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  16. marc L

    It seems to me that if a person takes what McCain said as racist, that person has a serious inferiority complex and should look withing themselves why they would be insulted by this.

    February 4, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  17. Big_D

    Arizona's best and brightest Republican shines on! AZ must be proud.

    February 4, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. Andrew M.

    Are you kidding me!?!?! I can not believe the comments that I have read in response to McCain's joke. He is telling a joke about a truly insane purpose who is trying to develop nuclear weapons and has expressed his desire to wipe Israel and America off the face of the earth, and people are being critical about a silly joke....please...

    February 4, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. Hemet Jeff

    Don't blame me, I voted for Mr. McCain...and having a sense of humor is a breath of fresh air in this day and age!!

    February 4, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. Ski one

    Yea I don't think he was calling him a monkey cause he is Arab but because the dude is absurd.

    February 4, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  21. Bryan

    Wish he would just retire, he's such a has been....he infected his party with the killer Tea Bag Virus for which there is no cure!

    February 4, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. Need more info

    What it he called him a cow or a Giraffe? Is that racist too?

    February 4, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |

    Poor old John McCain, he doesn't understand that he is old, (a lot of other things too that I won't go into) so old that nobody cares what he says anymore. He's just old and bitter and hateful.

    February 4, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. steve851

    Is McCain a necon warmongering fool that cares little about American lives or our debt? Yes. Is his comment racist? Totally absurd

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

    If calling John Glenn a monkey is not racist, then THAT'S RACIST!!!

    February 4, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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