Comrade, can you spare a dime…or even $ 5,000?

One of Russia`s harshest critics, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, has been left with egg on his face after the Russian mission to the UN received a circular asking them to sponsor his campaign. McCain`s office says it was a computer-generat

So you are a presidential candidate.

You aren't doing too well in the race, according to polls and research. And your main rival is beating you on nearly every level, including the financial one. You have a limit on what you can accept in donations and you really, really want more money. What do you do then? There’s one thing you certainly shouldn’t do, namely to illegally solicit funds from a foreign government, especially the one you've been slamming for months.

McCain is known as one of the harshest critics of Russia. He wants to exclude Russia from the G8 and considers the country to be the biggest threat to U.S. security.

“Russian leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small democratic neighbour to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other nations and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian Empire,” McCain had said.

Meanwhile, according to the circular, the Republican campaign would be satisfied with any amount from $US 35 to 5,000.

This is how it was worded.

“Dear friend,
Today I am reaching out to you to ask you to sign and return the enclosed 2008 pledge of support along with a campaign contribution of $US 35, 50, 100, 500, 100, 2,500 or even 5,000 to the McCain-Palin victory 2008.”

Addressed to the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, and signed by John McCain, the nine-page appeal even includes a donation form.

Confirming it had received the circular, the Russian mission to the UN said it had rejected the request. A press release on Monday said Moscow never finances politics in foreign countries.

“Neither Russia’s permanent mission to the UN, nor the Russian government or its officials finance political activities in foreign countries,” said a press release.

The Russian side treated the incident as a joke, while the McCain campaign released a statement saying the letter was sent as a result of a ‘computer glitch’.