Note to all politicians inclined to joke about their colleagues’ love lives during public hearings: make sure your finger is firmly on the "mute" button.  

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told reporters he regretted calling Sen. Lindsey Graham “a bro with no ho,” referring to the South Carolina Republican’s longtime bachelor status, on a live mic during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday.  

Kirk was apparently referring to Graham’s recently-launched presidential bid. “I’ve been joking with Lindsey,” he is heard saying. “Did you see that? He’s going to have a rotating first lady. He’s a bro with no ho.”  

The recording immediately went viral. 

When asked later by Politico if he regretted his comments, Kirk said, “I do.” But he did not explain or clarify his remark, the paper added. The Huffington Post, which has the clip on its website, said it received an email from the senator afterwards, explaining that he was “joking around with his colleagues.”  

For his part, Graham, who has never married and does not have children, came to the defense of his colleague. “Sen. Kirk said he regrets the comments. I believe that is the appropriate response,” he said in a statement.  

“I feel real comfortable with who I am and the life I’ve lived,” he told The Huffington Post in an earlier interview. “The last time I checked I didn’t see a sign on the White House that said, ‘single people need not apply.'”