TODAY   |  February 05, 2013

John McCain stirs controversy with tweet about Iran

Sen. John McCain is under fire after poking fun at Iran’s space program and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Twitter, with some calling his comments racist. TODAY’s Professionals – Star Jones, Donny Deutsch, and Dr. Nancy Snyderman – chat about this and other topics making headlines.

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>> a new installment of "today's" professionals. star jones , donny deutsch and dr. nancy snyderman are here to tackle the hot topics of the day. recently the iranian president , mahmoud ahmadinejad said he would like to go into space. that prompted a tweet from our own senator john mccain . so ahmadinejad wants to be the first iranian in space. wasn't he just there last week? what he was referring to is that last week ianians managed to send a monkey into space. was this a legitimate joke, a joke that went too far? is it racist?

>> i'll jump right in. i thought that the senator diminished himself by even making a joke like that. i know that we should lighten up in some ways, but the fact that we have to sit here and defend, if you will, the president of iran , with everything he has said and done to our country because mccain made a politically, incorrect stupid comment?

>> i'm not defending ahmadinejad.

>> he basically wants to annihilate israel, denies that the holocaust existed. we can call him anything we want.

>> not on twitter.

>> i can call him anything i want.

>> he is a united states senator . have some decorum. don't be an old, cranky dude on twitter.

>> free speech issue and so therefore you would defend him?

>> i don't want to defend him at all. i don't even like talking about him.

>> when some people got up in arms over the tweet, senator mccain responded with another tweet, regarding iran's space tweet, lighten up, folks. can't everyone take a jake? republican congressman from michigan, of syrian-palestinian descent tweeted maybe you should wisen up and not make racist jokes.

>> forget political correctness. we're worry ied to name a guy that wants to annihilate israel? i'm sorry.

>> do we really think that john mccain is on twitter or is this one of his aides?

>> is it possible that people will not take this as a slam as this one individual, the president of iran , but the culture of iranians in general.

>> it's much ado about nothing.

>> that's why the united states representative made the comment that he did. why even give somebody the opportunity to criticize you as racist by make a stupid comment.

>> i can't believe you're not defending this in the first amendment.

>> have you ever fired a gun? yes, in fact at camp david we do skeet shooting all the time. some people didn't believe him. they thought he was making it up. on the eve to this trip to minnesota, jay carney at the white house tweeted this photo, see if we can put it up right now, of the president doing just that, skeet shooting up at camp david . image guy, was this a smart photo to release? what's this all about?

>> absolutely. by the way, we could put up 1,000 what i call contrived photos of him drinking beer and he doesn't drink beer. i don't have a problem with it. whether he skeet shooted once or 1,000 times, to come out and say i'm not trying to take everybody's guns away. this is what we do in business.

>> looks like a manly man.

>> he wants to send out a signal. i am not anti-gun guy.

>> look at the picture. look at the rifle. it is the most contrived thing. no, no, i understand. i could care less.

>> in mom jeans , i just can't --

>> is that photo about i told the truth and the president doesn't lie or is that photo about what donny said, looking out to the people who are worried about second amendment issues, saying i'm not a guy who wants to take the guns away?

>> it's more i'm more like you than you think i am because i don't want to take your gun as way.

>> character matters when it comes to obama. for the president to show you, no, i don't lie.

>> birth certificate a year or so ago shall this is the next step, that now the president always has to back up his words with proof?

>> yes.

>> that's why i said he shouldn't release any thing.

>> it was a bigger issue about i'm not taking your guns away.

>> for the control room i'm skipping to the last one. a home in hawaii and now has put his name and energy behind a new law called the steven tyler act, being considered in the legislature there. it would allow people, mostly celebrity celebrities, to file civil suits against paparazzi to take photos of them in areas where they, quote, might otherwise expect privacy.

>> like the beach.

>> no.

>> telephoto lens and shoots through the window of your home, that would then allow the celebrity to file a civil suit . legally speaking, is this a good idea or slippery slope ?

>> it is a slippery slope . although i would cheer for it, it's not the kind of thing that constitutionally is going to stand up. the reasonable expectation of privacy on a beach would not apply. but if you go to the trouble of putting a shrubbery up around your house, that's what the argument is. i don't know if it will go through.

>> i have a big issue with the boo hoo celebrities. they sign a deal -- i don't want to say with the devil. they basically use the press to their advantage when they want to and complain when it's invasive.

>> we're talking in your backyard.

>> in your living room , in your home, and a guy is on a boat out in the water using a telephoto lens to shoot through your window?

>> a lot of celebrities will use their homes, do ten-page spreads. it cuts both ways. is it wrong? yes. but deal with it.

>> when you invite somebody in to your home and tell them good-bye, they should leave. if you go to the trouble of moving to an island and building a moat around it, for goodness sake --

>> you're cutting very close to donny 's life here.

>> the moat and the island, i'm sorry.

>> i think even -- i recognize that once you leave your home and you're on public property, all bets are off. but i get your deal with the devil sort of. but to think that you're in maui and you can't even walk on the beach without someone being in your face.

>> boohoo. boohoo. get over it. get over it.

>> geez, donny , you have no heart.

>> no, he just has enough money to be private.