(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."
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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.
Romney on Santorum: 'This has been a good day for me'
Louisiana governor endorses Romney
Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama
this guy is a loser, has always been a loser and will always be a loser.
Hopefully they are communists
I think he's been watching "The Manchurian Candidate" again.
Allen west is a dumb person that do not need to represent no one he should have stayed in the military overseas in the line of fire.
Is he on Mitt's "short list"? Gee, he should be. He'd fit in well!
Republicans will stop at nothing to make Democrats and this Presidency look bad. Communist how absurd and archaic to try and instill this fear into their own party. What next maybe aliens have control of the white house!
EJ in Tacoma
These lunatic fringe folk and their nutty, ridiculous comments do nothing but divide and scare people. Slander is the name of their game.
Good job West. About time this hit regular media.
Please, please, please, Mitt, pick this man as your running mate. Just look what Sarah did for McCain. Her suggesting this just makes so much sense....NOT!
The "name" West called them is an accurate description of their positions. They believe that everyone should pay what they can supposedly afford to pay, and everyone should get whatever they need. That is an obvious restating of Marx's credo: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." They are definitional Marxists. If they find that name insulting, it's their own fault.
VP possibility? Palin's rogue pick? Demos are commies? The Sarah Palin-Allen West Comedy Hour.
Preemptive accusations are a favorite tactic of shape-shifting lizard people.
Maybe the Republicans can reinstitute the "House Committee on Un-American Activities" and then question all the Democrats in the House on their feelings about Joe Stalin and Communal Farms? We've GOT to purge these Communists from our government. Hey...when you're lagging in the polls have have declared War on 50% of the electorate, you've GOT to have an "angle" to get the "unloyal" opposition "out of you're hair"....and out of the government!
Keep it classy there, Allen. You wouldn't know a real commie if one came up and shook your hand.
I didn't realize that Congressman West was as mentally challenged as this. He obvious doesn't know much about Communism or his congressional colleagues. I hope the House Ethics Committee looks into his conduct.
Great, now we're going back to McCarthyism. I guess everything old is new again.
Remember this comment. It will probably be used in the future, and thus become "fact".
Well, I know of a couple hundred Republican fascists in Congress. Seriously, this man makes stupid look smart.
It is clear that Mr. West could benefit from a pyschiatric eval, and it's a shame that he is in a public office.
He is the poster child for increased voter education.
Someone please help this mentally deficient person get some help.
Oh, please, please, please, Mr. Romney, make Allen West your VP running mate!!! What a wonderful team you would make.
What a vile human being. Hopefully the voters in his new district will be tired of his ugly antics by November and elect a representative willing to speak to and for all Americans.
It is not too far out of the realm of possibility that the Democrat Party has closet socialists and communists in the party and even in Congress. The whole party has been hijacked by far left radicals. JFK would have nothing to do with the Democrat Party of today.
78 to 81 card carrying meembers of the communist party? Seriously? I could say the Tea Party cacus are card carrying white supremists and i'd be as wildly off as he was. Where is his proof? The communist party of America does not agree with him! There is free speach, and then there is slander. The progressive cacus proposed a budget where a lot of the provisions are wildly popular (like 65% or more popular) and his response is that they are comrades of the communist party? Well I'd rather be a comrade then living under his idea of what government would be. Its not the first time he has been inflammatory and dead wrong, and it will not be the last.
Just goes to show you how closed minded people of Florida are. What a stupid thing to say to get votes.