After lashing out at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week for starting "active work" in Russia to aid protesters against his United Russia party, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin now has a new sparring partner: Sen. John McCain. McCain, Clinton, and others are worried that Russia's parliamentary elections on December 4th were fraudulent, but Putin insists that the election results are valid and represent the will of the Russian people.
Protests seen across Russia following the election are the largest in over 20 years. McCain seized the opportunity to liken them to the ones that toppled governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere, and he took to Twitter on the day after the election, saying, "Dear Vlad, The #ArabSpring is coming to a neighborhood near you."
Speaking on a call-in TV show, Putin, who is well-known for his macho demeanor, explained that McCain "can't live without the kind of disgusting, repulsive scenes like the killing of Gadhafi," and dismissed the Arizona Republican's remarks about the potential power of the Russian protests.
"Mr. McCain was captured and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years. Anyone [in his place] would go nuts," Putin said, according to the Associated Press.
McCain again struck back at Putin via Twitter, saying, "Dear Vlad, is it something I said?"
McCain, who is famous for spending two years in solitary confinement at the notorious Hanoi Hilton, has been a member of the United States Congress for almost 30 years. He told Fox News that Putin appears "stunned" by what's happening in Russia.
"I think that's pretty clear why he reacted in such a strange and vociferous fashion," McCain explained regarding Putin's reference to his imprisonment.