1. The rape joke. During his 1986 Senate campaign, he told the following joke in front of a number of journalists: “Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, 'Where is that marvelous ape?'"
2. The “Bomb Iran” song. Earlier in his presidential campaign, McCain was asked by a participant at a town hall meeting when the US “should send an air mail message to Tehran”. He replied: “Do you know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran?” before proceeding to sing “Bomb bomb bomb” to the tune of the hit Barbara-Ann
3. The one about killing Iranians. In July, McCain was asked by reporters on the campaign trail about data showing a ten-fold increase in US exports to Iran during Bush’s presidency, with a particular rise in tobacco exports. “Maybe that’s a way of killing them,” he replied, chuckling awhile before adding: “I meant that as a joke.” Iran, understandably, was not so amused.
4. The Chelsea Clinton joke. At a Senate Republican fundraiser in 1998, when Chelsea was just 18, he took aim at both her appearance and that of the then attorney-general . "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" he asked guests. "Because her father is Janet Reno."
5. The one about waterboarding. Despite previously condemning primary rival Rudy Giuliani for comparing the race to torture, McCain made a similar reference at a press conference with Florida governor Charlie Crist in January this year. When Crist was asked by reporters whether McCain had pressured him for his endorsement, McCain, a torture victim himself, interjected: "It was just waterboarding."
6. The other ones about waterboarding. About a month later, McCain made a very similar joke reported in the New York Times. With his presidential hopes apparently fading, a number of his staff had deserted the campaign, only to return when McCain resurrected his bid with a New Hampshire victory. There was, he jibed "a short period of waterboarding to find out what they did in their absence."
7. The Fidel joke. In February amid reports of Castro’s failing health, McCain told a town hall in Indiana, "I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon."
8. The Alzheimers jibe. Shortly after President Reagan had been diagnosed with the degenerative illness, McCain made the following joke at a Republican fundraiser. “ Do you know the best thing about having Alzheimer's?” he asked. “You get to hide your own Easter eggs.”
9. The IED joke. When appearing on the admittedly satirical (and liberal-leaning) programme The Daily Show earlier this year, McCain joked that he'd brought host John Stewart an improvised explosive device as a gift from Iraq. The jibe drew criticism from relatives of US soldiers, over 1,700 of whom have been killed by IEDs.
10. The one about the French. In an interview with Fox News, McCain aimed at America’s allies in Afghanistan. "You know," he began, "the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."
But despite his penchant for a little not-so-gentle ribbing, McCain doesn't cope very well on the receiving end. During his 1992 Senate campaign, a little inter-spousal teasing got out of control when, in front of aides and three reporters, his wife Cindy playfully twirled his hair and noted that he was thinning a little on top. His reply? "At least I don't plaster make-up on like a trollop, you c**t."
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