I’m not really a big fan of digging way into the past for embarassing or otherwise damning quotes to bring up in a present day campaign. With John McCain there really is not much need for it anyway, he is a hypocritical emarrassment (IMHO). But this really repulsive bit of history (h/t to CrooksAndLiars) does not seem like the kind of thing that you can dismiss or minimize due to unknown context or the passage of time.
According to a report (from 1986 no less! [PDF]) John McCain made the following repulsive attempt at a joke:
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?
Words don’t really describe how repulsive that is. At the time McCain claimed he “didn’t recall” making that joke. Like damning with faint praise, that seems like confession by feeble denial. If someone accused me of that, I would bloody well know I would never ever say anything so despicable!