(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.
Maybe I'm missing something...
But wouldn't he have to be calling the president of Iran an actual slur against arabs for it to be a racist comment? Maybe I don't move in racist circles enough, but I wasn't aware "monkey" was a racist term for Arabs.
Now, it may have been offensive, may have been rude, (both of which were undoubtable intended), but it wasn't particularly racist.
But hey, As far as I care, Mahmoud started it by calling us the Great Satan. After that, "Monkey" is pretty mild.
That's not racist.
John McCain seems determined to destroy the dignity of his military and political career with insensitive hate filled remarks. Please Senator go home and let us remember the other John McCain.
John has become even more inept and insensitive than me.......although, I would like to buy Ahmadinejad a one way ticket to the moon.
This is why we have few, if any friends we can count on in the world. People like this have been given a free pass long enough. It's way past time for this cretin to be on the retirees list, with a gag order on all future comments.
We don't pay our Senators to be funny – or to obstruct all progress because you're bitter about getting defeated in 2008. McCain is a pitiful relic of a man.
I think that's a funny joke and there's nothing wrong with him expressing his freedom of speech, but when your a senator and have an important role in our government and legislation you cant be saying racist jokes like that.
AS a rule, people without a top lip tend to be racist, petty and pretty mean–that is what having no lip will do to you.
All humans share 98% of the same DNA with monkeys...but I do not understand why McCain wants to insult all monkeys so...Monkeys to not wage world wars....Monkeys to not threaten all life on earth with a Nuclear exchange, Monkeys are not polluting the world....
Yes, Amahdinejad is not a good guy (from our point of view), but the man is the elected head-of-state of a major and important country. Someone as distinguished and politically influential as McCain can not call him what he did. It makes out whole country look bad. Imagine if the North Koreans called our President that?
Iran's president is a PhD engineer. How much education does Sarah Palin's running mate have?
Any unsavory name for the president of Iran is appropos. He is a ticking nuke along with the nut job in North Korea.
He's presidential caliber.
There is not much that I agree what McCain says these days but in this instance I am fully supporting him. That guy in Iran is a morone and that is not what McCain said, he was kind and called him a Monkey....Go senator, go......
that's an insult to the monkey
How long has he been a Senator ?
John McCain is a senator from my state and I want to send him a 'joke'...his expiration date has expired, he looks like his face is made of wax, 'come on, light this candle'. (The Right Stuff) He wasn't a bad senator the first part of his political career, but over the past 15 years he's flip-flopped so much he's starting to look like a dead fish. HA HA John
The biggest joke of all is John McCain being a senator.
Reason 5,924 why this man was NOT fit to be President.
Well there is a pretty low bar to what might be considered racist these days. You almost need your own personal PC monitor to censor everything you say that might be misinterpreted.
Enough with the self-righteous, holier than thou political correctness! It was joke. More especially, a joke about a jerk who really should be in jail for his involvement in the Iran hostages situation to say the least!
How is it racist when Persians(Iranians) are white. Look up the definition of Iran. Unfortunately Hitler, studied history and took their salute and the swastika symbol which was for the sun. They speak Farsi which is an indo-european language. The reason whites are called caucasian are because they came from the caucasus mountains which for a period was part of the Persian empire.
does anyone REALLY believe what he said was racist? it's just another thing to give people a reason to whine. when bush was in office, i saw picture of him being transformed into a money, and no one called it racist. what a bunch of overly-sensitive, hyper-emotional cry-babies. go back to facebook
When my dad starting exhibiting the type of behavior Mr. McCain has been exhibiting over the past few years, we made him more comfortable. It's called H-O-S-P-I-C-E. It may well be time.
As a persian, i gotta say, his joke while unfunny, is definitely not racist. Ahmadinejad looks like a monkey!! It's a childish joke from Mcain, but he makes a point!