(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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Really? Republicans have actually resorted to using Cold War era scare tactics? Now you really know they have nothing constructive to add to our government.
Everyone who does not agree with me on every issue is a nazi and worships Hitler! All of their ideas are 'reminiscent' of policies Hitler introduced! Both republicans and democrats, both of whom have given tax breaks to the rich and other special interests, both of whom have authorized illegal wars and unconstituational invasion of privacy, both of whom have systemtically discriminated against minorities and women, are instituting policies equivalent to the Holocaust! My proof of that is that they disagree with me! And disagreeing with me is the same as being Hitler!
This is just the kind of moron that screams for "freedom" but only the freedom he chooses for you.
This kind of garbage is killing our system, the adults have left the building.
Yes please, West for Vice Presidential candidate. Let the Republicans show their true face to the American public.
You don't even know the definition of communist. I'd ask how you even got to such a position of power, but then I realize you were from the south, which has a history of electing idiots.
Man speaks the truth.
GOP has become synonymous with radicalism.
What can you say? Severely damaged goods. Recycle same.
I believe there is a passage in some biblical literature that says something about being carful of those who point a finger and accuse, actually being the equal of said accusations.
To a Republican "socialism" is any money spent on the non wealthy.
The members of Congress Rep. West is referring to are working so that we, the people, have a level playing field. It is obvious that corporate & Wall Street lobbyists have played the American taxpayer by gaming the system. His said they advocated for the destruction of the free markets. Well, the free markets were not so "free" when the American tax-payers had to bail them out. Let's bail West right out of his job as he is just another talking head for the lobbyists.
This isn't news. Just another half-witted Republican clown posing as a US Representative. It's too bad this guy doesn't have a job he can handle so of course, his name comes up as a possible executive in a Republican White House. Don't make me laugh!
Complete astonishment! Mr. West was recently elected to Congress?! I'd really like to meet his votaries. This poor fellow should be involved with an intense remedial Sesame Street program. He seems to be enthusiasticaly proud of being misinformed, misguided, ill advised, misled, uninformed and impolite. Well, then again, these qualities really aren't a detriment to being a politician, are they?
What do you expect from a Tea Party Congressman?
I can't think of a thing to say about rep. West except that he should seek psychiatric help & perhaps an excorsist which I, as a scientist, don't believe in but I'm desperate for him.
Why when a black politician become conservative, why do they always move to the extreme right. Are there any black moderate Republicans. Lesson Mr West, all the countries that are growing at the moment, have their government involve in their economy. We are living in a global economy right now, which means companies are free to take their businesses, anywhere they feels they can make more money. In America our middle class is way more expensive to business, than any other country. Businesses are all about spending the least to maximize their profits. If we don't help our middle class out, businesses will flee to other countries who has way cheaper labor
Republicans should be thrown out of goverment at all levels for their extremest behavior. Florida will go Dem along with most of the USA in Nov Dem landslide.
At least he is in touch with reality to not expect that he would be chosen for a VP candidate. Not much else he's close to reality on, but you have to give him at least the one point...
These types of policies are putting the economy on the brink? What The! Where has this guy been the last few years. The eoonomy was headed over the cliff after 2008 when the republicans were at the helm.
Just when you think the Republicans have reached the absolute bottom of the IQ barrel one of them pipes up and shows us that they can, indeed, get even more stupid. I haven't anything this idiotic since Nixon and Kennedy were buddies during the McCarthy hearings. The fact that this man is a minority and a Republican shows he can't understand what his party is pushing. But his statements seem to indicate a somewhat dubious grasp of reality in any form.
Not to mention that the ship he is boarding sailed and sank over fifty years ago.
The democrats are blue. The republicans are red.
Mentioning him as a Vice-Presidential candidate makes the choice of Sarah Palin in the last election look like a stroke of genius. His only qualification would be a possible appeal to minority voters. Even that seems very unlikely though.
Go Republicans, go. Anywhere but here, just go.
desparate people do desparate things !! The Repug party has absolutly nothing to offer but fear !!
Good God! Someone needs to tell this moron that Joe McCarthy is dead, the shameful red-baiting of that era is over and done with, and we do NOT need a rerun.
Funny that his attack entirely based on ideology was called "personal" by them. Do they not understand the difference between ideological and personal, or do they have no real defense against holding the same ideological point of view as European communists?