Forget "hashtag diplomacy" on Twitter. Now, it seems Russia has taken to challenging the manliness of President Obama, this time with a picture comparing Russian President Vladimir Putin to Obama, Fox News reported Friday.
Late last week, Russia's deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin issued a tweet that included a side-by-side picture of Putin and Obama. The picture shows Putin confidently holding a Persian leopard -- an endangered species, according to USA Today -- while showing Obama with a small fluffy dog. USA Today said the picture of Putin was taken during the run-up to the recent Winter Olympics.
"We have different values and allies," the tweet read. Reactions were mixed, with one person noting the picture of Putin also includes a picture of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
One person called the leopard "nice." Several others wondered if the cat had been tranquilized for the picture. Others wondered if the Twitter account was legitimate.
"Pretty sure it’s legit," one person said. "[B]ut either way, it’s comedy gold."
"[Y]eah, one is a tyrant and the other is trying to become a tyrant," another Twitter user said. "[S]ame values, just different on the time line of history."
Fox News said the tweet follows a "a long-running Kremlin tactic" of portraying Putin in a macho manner while making Obama look "like the 90-pound McFly." Nevertheless, Fox added, the online insult hasn't hurt the already-icy relationship between the two countries. According to the White House, Obama spoke with Putin on Friday about the situation in Ukraine.
"The President reiterated his deep concerns about Russia's increased support for the separatists in Ukraine," the administration said. "The President reinforced his preference for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the two leaders agreed to keep open their channels of communication."
It's not the first time Obama's manliness has been challenged. Earlier this year, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said the president is known for wearing mom jeans while Putin is known for wrestling bears.
“People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil,” she told Sean Hannity in March. “They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.”
The White House, Fox added, did not mention the fluffy dog picture. As of this writing, the picture has been retweeted over 3,000 times.