(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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Fidel Castro would consider that to be an insult...
Larry L - Ronald Regan supported a progressive tax code. Was he a communist?
When he was president, the tax code was perverted into using it primariliy for a wealth redistribution mechanism. The tax code should be used to pay for the needs of government and not to take away from tax payer A in order to give to tax payers B, C & D. But the Democrats Great Welfare society demands the tax code do this.
BTW, what percentage of taxpayers paid no federal income tax when it was first implemented? I doubt it was 47-50%.
Larry L, where has socialism or marxism ever worked? That's a fair question.
Congressional Progressive Caucus are pushing a socialist, Maxist agenda. I would say the boarderlines communist. Liberals are going to run this country into the ground just like Greece.
Hmmm, Congressman West brings up an interesting point. Besides "naming names", I wonder if he can identify which Communist members of Congress are Maoists, Maxist-Leninists, or Troskyites?
Democrats like Obama administration members Anita Dunn and Ron Bloom openly praise the communist Mao who killed over 30 million, therefore Col. West was just stating fact, Democrat today admit to being communists themselves.
As Lloyd Marcus, a black writer stated recently: "Don't urinate on me and tell me it's raining" – his quote to the Democrats who have thrown Obamacare down our throats, and spent our hard earned money various stimulus'. Thanks but no thanks all you Communists in congress and you know who you are, especially John Conyers, whose wife was found guilty of corruption in Detroit. Detroit is now bankrupt, thanks to Coleman Young, John Conyers, and their ilk. They deserve no respect. The "rain" is too heavy already.
Wow! a politician who must have just read a history book and thought it was a good idea *sarcastic clap*
he really must be cutting edge in the political world that we must all bow down to his brillance attempt to reignite the red scare
"I think" is the key word in te Florida Rep's comment, whereas he seems to be incapable of thinking. Under his terms, it would be fair of me to state thet "I think" that 67% of the Republican congressional members are card-carrying Taliban.
He's just angry because he was a disgraced military person that was no longer wanted by the U.S.
"Calling fellow Members of Congress 'communists' is reminiscent of the days... "
He didn't "call" anybody a communist. He only stated his beliefs when asked a direct question.
Wow........a black McCarthy repeating a repugnant slice of American history.
What an embarassment! How must the people of his district feel to have such a vulgarian as their congressman? Too bad for them. Here in the Kentucky 3rd, we have an excellent congressman by the name of John Yarmuth. It's so nice to have someone who is respectful, thoughtful and above all in this day and age, reasonable representing you in Congress. Hey Floridians, give it a try!
Plenty of whacky reactionary blather here to go around....
No, they're not communists. Hopefully he understands it's hyperboly and not literal.
Yes, the do espouse socialist tendancies per their own website. Of course that's fine and legal, some folks voted these people in. they can be whatever they want. If the public doesn't want them in,it's the opositions's responsibility to expose their ideas so they get voted out.
Did West say it was illegal or that they should be thrown out; no. (He WOULD suggest voting them out, I'm sure!) but likewise, if you don't like that he uses 'bad names' about your guy, don't use 'bad names' against him. Be reasonable, people, think.
Is West THAT desperate to belong to the AWC (All White Club)? They'll welcome his votes, but he still won't be invited to house parties!
Really? West wants to go there. Did we not already play this in the 1950s? Has he "no shame?" I am registered Democrat, middle of the roader with some liberal tendancies, Quaker Meeting going, fair-minded person, and I not a Communist. One, they dress badly. Two, they have no sense of humor, and three, they cheat at sports. This is not statesmanship. It is plain stupid. Teddy Roosevelt what has happened to your party?
The only reason this slime is a Republican, is that they're the only ones who will openly support war ciminals.
Democrats like Obama administration members Anita Dunn and Ron Bloom openly praise the communist Mao who killed over 30 million, therefore Col. West was just stating fact, Democrats today admit to being communists themselves.
Bang on. Alan West is superb - one great American. Keep it up,sir, please.
Not sure why anyone would be shocked by this. I mean, we've had commies operating overtly in the White House for the past three years.
This is one crazy man. He has issues............He once said that the President of the US need to be on front line WAR.
He is crazy and I don't like him. He is just for show. He need to take his MEDS. He probably dont know what the words stand for. Just talking from the side of his mouth. What a FOOL.
Who in a right mind elected this man? Calling the Democrats communists?? He must be getting senile. Someone need to tell him that there is no Soviet Union anymore and Russia is a Democratic government now. Democrats are liberals and Republicans are extrimists conservatives. Unless he wants to destroy democracy in America.
If I were a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus I would corner this dweeb and kick the living snot out of him, and then sue him for slander. Let's see if the Republican leadership repudiates this idiot.
Comparing the Communist Manifesto to what the Congressional Democrats is doing, he is correct.
What we are experiencing with this President is a soft coup. Our enemies know that going directly up against our military is too dangerous, but infiltrating our political system to divide and defeat us makes us our own victims.
And I think that all the "Tea Party" nuts are members of the Taliban. What a joke West is. This idiot belongs in a nut house!