- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2013

Sen. John McCain came under fire Monday after posting a tweet that compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the monkey the Iranian government allegedly launched into space last week.

“So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space — wasn’t he just there last week?” Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, tweeted. Then he cited a recent Yahoo News story: “Iran launches monkey into space.”

The tweet currently has more than 2,000 retweets and comes after Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement Monday about Iran’s space program, saying he is ready “to be the first man in space.”

Mr. McCain’s tweet quickly received harsh criticism, with many in the Twitterverse calling the senator’s comment “racist.”

Even Rep. Justin Amash, Michigan Republican, felt the need to chime in, tweeting, “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”

Mr. McCain posted a follow-up tweet, insisting the zinger was meant to be lighthearted: “Re: Iran space tweet - lighten up folks, can’t everyone take a joke?”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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