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McCain refers to Iran’s president as a ‘monkey’; GOP rep calls jab ‘racist’

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John McCain Photo: Ed Pfueller / Getty Images / AFPJohn McCain Photo: Ed Pfueller / Getty Images / AFPRepublican Sen. John McCain on Monday called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a "monkey." The blunt-speaking Arizona lawmaker leveled the jab—swiftly condemned as "racist" by a Republican representative—via Twitter.

So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space - wasn't he just there last week? "Iran launches monkey into space"…

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 4, 2013

Apparently stung by the response on Twitter, McCain later added:

Re: Iran space tweet - lighten up folks, can't everyone take a joke?

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 4, 2013

In response, Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan tweeted:

Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes. “@senjohnmccain: Re: Iran space tweet - lighten up folks, can't everyone take a joke?” — Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) February 4, 2013

It's not the first time McCain's comments about a foreign leader on Twitter have raised eyebrows. In August 2009, he tweeted about an "interesting meeting" with Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, calling him "an interesting man."

McCain, long a fixture on the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which vets nominees to senior diplomatic posts.

February 5 2013, 12:20

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