(CNN) – Florida Rep. Allen West's controversial comments have once again landed him in the headlines – this time with the sort of accusation not seen in Congress since the 1950s.
At a town hall meeting with constituents in Jensen Beach, West was asked how many members of Congress are "card-carrying Marxists."
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According to CNN affiliate WPEC, West responded, "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party."
West's campaign manager, Tim Edison, pointed reporters to West's next comments, when he says the members in question belong to the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
"This group advocates for state control over industries, redistribution of wealth, reduced individual economic freedom and the destruction of free markets," Edison added in a statement. "These members of Congress advocate the type of policies that have put Europe on the brink of economic and fiscal collapse, and are driving the United States in the same direction. It is interesting that amid the swirl of feigned outrage and media misreporting of the Congressman’s remarks, all the attention is focused on the semantics, but no one is disputing the Progressive Caucus’s support for policies central to socialist and even Marxist systems."
The Congressional Progressive Caucus responded to West's comments with a statement calling the comment and others like it "personal attacks."
"Calling fellow Members of Congress 'communists' is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don't advance policies to benefit people's lives," the statement, by caucus co chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, read.
A spokesman for the Communist Party USA said Wednesday that the remarks are "not the epithet it once was."
"We think it's ridiculous statement and totally untrue. It's clear he's trying to give the impression that there are people with a secret agenda in the Congress," party vice chair Libero Della Piana said.
"We don't take offense at it. Really it wasn't a statement about us at all," he added, but rather a myth about Democrats.
Last summer, West wrote an email to Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz describing her as "the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives." Last February, he described a fellow member of Congress who is Muslim as "someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."
West was suggested as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee last week by the party's most recent nominee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The first term congressman said on CNN's "Newsroom" that he is open to the possibility.
"(My family) has always stepped up to the plate to serve our country, and if it's the right thing, then I will do so. But I really doubt that would ever happen," he said.
But, he has said, Romney has yet to call.
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I just do not know what to say. I mean seriously what happened to politicians working to fix our problems. What happened to them being voted in to serve in the public's interest. These republicans talk about Europe, talk about Communists, but we depend on them for trade. We depend on others just as other countries depend on us. Why are they demonizing others? I'm just confused. Arrogant and ignorant! All it seems to be now days is name calling and finger pointing. I am so sick and tired of this crap.
How many fascists in congress?
don't know about communists, but it's obvious there is at least one idiot. Now get back to work.
I believe ALL members of the DNC to be Totalitarian Communists, and Anti-American traitors. They fall far from the tree of "Ask not what your country can do for you..." In fact the show up looking for bribes and hand outs. Losers one and all.
Linking socialism and Communism, as he did, shows just how ignorant Congressman West is. He should go back to school and do some real studying. Socialism is an economic entity, Communism is a totalitarian creed. Socialism, to a degree, was practiced by the Communist nations but only because it advanced their political aspirations. Comparing the Congressional Progressive Caucus to Communism is a stretch only a right-wing nut job like Congressman West could make.
The fact that Palin thought this fine gentleman was qualified to be any bodies V.P is beyong human comprehension and a further indicament of the prevailing ignorance within the republican party. Does this not scare the crap out of you guys.Who highjacked their common sense? Who walk off with the basic truths of human descency in this party. Who is responsible for calbrating the message and purpose of your parties very existence. An ass wipping at the polls will probabaly not suffice to change your parties current direction -perhaps it is the symbol of a free society that resides in the white house that must be removed in order for you to find your way again . Life is always moving forward and no efford by the republican party will turn the clock to those happy days when we were forced to pick your crops.
Who in the world still abides by the old misconceptions that American politicians are intelligent, forthright people and that the U.S. still wages a war on communism? Look behind or inside all the toys and tools in your house, most of them say MADE IN CHINA, and you couldn't live without them, could you? Would YOU work in a sweatshop 10 to 12 hours a day to make them inexpensively? No? Some tinhorn hypocrits try to convince the rest of us that Joe McCarthy is alive and well, holing out in a greasy burger joint on highway 66 with Elvis, and that they didn't both die clapped out from drugs or alcohol, probably relieving themselves on the bathroom floor.
Here we go again, this guy is a nut, not other name for it and for anyone to say he could be considered to be the VP nominee is also a nut. So accuse me of name calling, I am sick and tired of hearing the GOP and Tea people call anyone that disagrees with them a distastful name. Then when they are called on it, it is "not me". Well folks this is just the beginning of this presidential campaign. Can you even imagine what it will be like after seven months of this. And you the media are a lot to blame for this. 24/7 news is not what we need. Even when there is no news, the media dreams up garbage. I am ashamed to say I live in Florida. I heard yesterday someone I know went to the gas station, came back after paying $3.84 per gallon and said "we have to get that black a-- out of the white house. Great country we live in!!!
"Not One, Republican will denounce this "Nut Case"??? Thats what is "Extremely Frightful to Americans"!!!! This "Dude" is mental!!! OMG!
I hope Mitt takes Palin's suggestion and chooses this pin-head as a running mate. That would seal the deal for President Obama.
Does the Republican party have no shame? After the disgusting campaign to select a candidate, where the R's tore each other up by telling us none are qualified to be president, now we get this nut from Florida who thinks he is living the the 1950's. What has happened to the once-proud Republican party? How can any intelligent, clear-thinking person possible support the Republicans? Vote for decency and love of country – vote Obama in November.
If this was from almost anyone else but Allen West I'd be surprised and appalled. But because it is from him, I'm neither. He must be channelling Joe McCarthy in a major way, since he makes a habit of inflating his credentials ("I have a higher security clearance than the President) and casually defaming anyone he differes with (e.g., telling a Democratic representative from Florida that she is despicable by email). There's a big difference between being a "progressive" and being a socialist, let alone being a "communist". Apparently, though, his mind is so closed that he can't make that distinction. Like Joe McCarthy, he will make the allegation, but not back it up. It's only fitting that Sarah Palin suggested him for VP – he thinks even more poorly than she does.
West is more interested in getting headlines than getting anything actually accomplished.
Well, he would be more accurate had he used 'socialists' instead. His point is correct, though. Spin it however you like ... Democratic Socialism, Marxist socialism, etc. It's still redistribution of wealth, increased government, state control over industries... none of which is capitalism. Socialism goes against the laws of nature and evolution. Natural Selection will always doom it.
Eh, consider the source. The guy is a Facist as are all rethugliban. If you don't like being called a Facist, THEN STOP ACTING LIKE ONE! If you don't believe you are acting like one then you don't know the definition and are in no position to namecall others, and should really take steps to educate yourself and curb your ideology.
West's comments are beyond disgusting for a public servant and for anyone who would make excuses to enable it. Shame.
"Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well." – George Bernard Shaw, member of the Fabian Socialist Society.
Hey Jw, and they are all Republicans! What you Repubs and Allen are doing is the very same thing Hitler and crew did before his take over... you are the ones who believe force solves everything because most, if not all, of yu claim to get your marching orders from God...I should say, "a god," and not the Almighty as you claim.
5o not know what happened to the democratic party but the no longer represent the fundamentals of what this country was founded upon. Too bad the party is needed for balance. Go Cong West
See if this quote is something the Dems would agree with...think the Buffett rule.." from each person according to their ability to pay...to each person according to their need" ....Karl Marx...the communist manifesto
How crazy and deranged is the republican party going to allow it's members to go??
As crazy as they can, and then when they have their backsides handed to them in November, they'll whine and complain that their candidates weren't CONSERVATIVE enough!
I didn't realize that McCarthy had changed color!
This not only says a lot about this misguided individual, it also speaks volumes about what type of people would elect him to office. Read some books people and get educated.
Mark the Lib has spoken. The welfare KING
Congressman West is a little to the right of just plain silly.