On the campaign trail in Georgia, then-President Bush called the remarks "shameful."
"The members of the United States military are plenty smart. And they are plenty brave," Bush said. "The senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology."
"It's obvious precisely what you were saying Sen. Kerry," conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said. "You were insulting uniformed men and women of the U.S. military, as you have been doing for most of your adult life."
Kerry defended himself, saying, "It was a botched joke about the president and the president's people." He said, "I'm sick and tired of a whole bunch of Republican attacks. Most of which came from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves."
During the 2008 campaign for the White House, presidential contender Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was criticized for responding to a question about a preemptive strike against Iran by singing the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" with new lyrics.
"Remember that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran?" he asked the South Carolina crowd. "Bomb-bomb-bomb ... anyway."
What was meant as a trivial joke caused backlash on the presidential playing field and the McCain campaign was forced to defend itself.
"I said it before and I'll continue to say it, you got to have a sense of humor," the senator said at a press briefing after the remarks.
"I think it's our team in South Carolina's way of showing they have a good sense of humor," McCain's communications director Brian Jones said. "And let's face it, it's a catchy tune."
Later that same month, the campaign went on to play the classic Beach Boys ditty at a couple of campaign stops in the Southeast.
While President Ronald Reagan was known as the "Great Communicator," the former president was not always so skilled at delivering his message.