Sen. John McCain.
Sen. John McCain. Photo by Reuters
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A leading Republican senator's tweet comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a monkey is drawing criticism from a fellow Republican lawmaker as racist.

On Monday, Sen. John McCain wrote, "So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space … wasn't he just there last week?" He then linked to a news story about Iran launching a monkey into space.

Faced with criticism, McCain said in another tweet, "lighten up folks, can't everyone take a joke."

That did not satisfy Rep. Justin Amash, who tweeted, "Maybe you should wisen
up & not make racist jokes."

During the 2008 presidential campaign, McCain, the Republican candidate, created a stir during an appearance when he repeated "Bomb Iran," to the tune of the Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann."