(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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Perfect GOP vice presidential canidate.
McCarthyism back at its finest.
When facts, logic, or any evidence can't support what you are saying, lies, smear campaigns, and this kind of crap is all Republicans have.
The bigger fear is the number of right-wing conservative Nazi-like repubs that are currently in congress.
Figures Sarah Palin would think this man is VP material. No wonder the Tea Party is losing its credibility, popularity, and influence.
Commies in Congress, huh? Yes, let's all go back to the 1950s' way of thinking. I'm sure he'd love that...oh, wait.
LOL'd at the ACTUAL Communist Party's response.
If the religious right truly does not want Romney to win, make this grandiose idiot his VP. That should do the trick.
Reason not religion, education not indoctrination!!!!
Well, as I've posted before, I think each day that the bottom has been reached in the current politics of our country, and almost every day brings a new low.
Communists,Jews,Blacks.....wha..wait ? Blacks ?
Sad part is West doesn't realize he is a tool and being used. Amazing how he forgets no so long ago he was looked at as someone not like 'us.'
What a freeaking TOOL !
The scarier part is you read ccomments around the web and so many people believe this.
When did my great country become a country of tin foil hats ?
How does it feel to be a "sell out", West? How much more money are you getting for compromising your conscience. It must be heavy,pulling you down.
The thing from the pit stirs. . . .
So all these democrats want a stateless, classless, and moneyless society? LOL not really. Get ready for the next red scare.
He is in the terminal phase of and internal illness that eats away his soul at the same rate as his mind.
this article would be funny if it wasn't symptomatic of the absolute insanity growing in the present-day GOP!
Scary, it was even necessary to see who was saying this to know who it was. No wonder the military couldn't get rid of this guy fast enough.
Now one can truly understand the statement that Republicans are Neanderthals.
Why not save time and just accuse them of being witches? Ridiculous how out of step with history some people are.
What Rep Allen West stated is simply common knowledge. If anything, he understated the number of Democrats who are Communists.
Wow, it's the reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy! Just when I thought republicans couldn't stoop any lower...
Florida peeps! Vote this guy OUT of office. At some point we have to recognize the parties are nonsense if we are only electing people like him into office.
Sounds like a good Republican VP candidate to me.
Really. The Democrats are not Socialists. I ought to know, as I for one am. Neither myself nor any Democratic candidate is anywhere close to communism. Can't think what this guy thought he'd gain from it – aside from a BFF promise from Palin and maybe a fundraising boost. This is even less subtle than the usual attack coming our way, and while I'm a pessimist, I still think that people won't fall for something this crass and inaccurate
Why is this a story? My guess is that if the demos were hooked up to a polygraph while taking the oath of office, many would fail as they insist they will defend the constitution.
To me, this is like someone pointing out that the sky is blue. Beside, he was simply answering a question. Its not as if he ran out of the house chambers screaming "the communists are coming! the communists are coming!
I nominate Allen West for Vice President of the home of the "Terminally Bewildered"! Allen, take your meds, man! (whackjob)
ooooooh boy the crazies are coming out of the woods now
As a lifelong conservative, someone who campaigned for Bush Sr, even I find this to be idiotic and offensive.