(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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So another Republican makes a complete horse's ass of himself. I've seen his name thrown around as VP for Romney. Hope so!
@ Marcus... Please enlighten us with the Facts about your story. I am not saying you are lying, I'm interested in the how,when why and where this took place and who reported it.
Investment Advisor – The full story is can be found in the Department of the Army, 43rd Military Police Detachment (CID)(FWD), 10th Military Police Battalion, United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (February 6, 2004). "Memorandum, Subject: CID Report Of Investigation – Final – 0152-03-CID469-60212-5C1A/5C2/5T1".
It's in PDF.
Dr. Knowitall – Fact, neither Fascism nor Communism likes Democracy and Freedom, still call them 'cousins' and say that they are not 'opposites' is one stretch too many.
In the military, proper ranks should always be respected and that's one thing.
A half caps rant against people on a CNN comment board against people who confuse Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel is another.
Calling me a rethuglican for pointing out how silly it is is just icing on the cake.
Here we go again, media hyping something like this. EVERYONE knows that there are 'socailists' in congress. That's one step from Communism, not quite there, but close enough to spit at.
*It's guys like this idiot who have brought shame and disrespect to the office of the President.In the last three years the Repugs have called the President names, questioned his Citizenship and much more. At no time in history has any sitting President had to endure shuch BS. The rest of the world laughs at us.
In another time and country, such insubordination would have resulted in several bullet wounds to the body, causing a fairly quick but certain death.
West is trying to deflect attention from the similarities the current day republican party shares with the fascists that dot world history.
I heard someone mention West as a VP for Romney. That would be priceless. Why no get Dumya Bush instead.
Republicans are still pretending Obama was elected in 2000, not GW. Soon Texas will be writing the Bush years out school textbooks altogether...
With an iodiotic statement like that no wonder he caught the attention of the former half term Alaska governor. Like great minds, I guess stupid minds think alike also.
While Alan West provided no evidence that there are any communists in congress. However, his statement proved there is at least one idiot representing Florida in the House.
Wow, I just don't understand why he would make this kind of comment. Sure it helps rile up the base, but that can be accomplished in ways that don't harken back to McCarthyism and in a manner that doesn't hurt your parties reputation with every moderate in America. You'd think that conservative voters would realize they'd be much better off voting for someone that legislates from the far right, but who also has the political sense not to call everyone they disagree with communist.
Jeff, As a history teacher I would ask you to do some research before spouting off like that. Every president has dealt with that level of name calling. Go to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. there is an entire hallway (with slanted entry ways) of political cartoons calling Lincoln things that are worse than most of what Obama is called. 19th Century politics didn't have the up – to – date coverage as today so politicians weren't constantly forced to retract statements.
What a vile windbag with no redeeming value .And where are the GOBP's cult leaders to condemn his baseless and gutless smears? Oh yeah, the GOBP cult has left behind whatever shreds of moral and intellectual decency it had.
Just another crazy Republican, telling lies. I do not believe there is one Republican who tells the truth. What is even better, they think people believe this crap. Sounds like the perfect VP, another moron, like Palin. I wonder what he can see from his kitchen window!!
Another black republican...that alone makes him delusional. these clowns never change
West has stolen this line and strategy from the "Manchurian Candidate". Goal is to make people argue about how many communists rather than if any. Where is Frank Sinatra when we need him?
At Mike – no, socialism isn't a step from communism. That's why every democratic socialist nation in Europe has systems VASTLY different from the former USSR and China, and has constantly OPPOSED the corrupt Communist regimes. Sometimes it helps to think before you speak.
We now see him sadly waving goodbye to any hops of becoming th VP candidate........
Congressman West is a card carrying imbecile!
Allen West has got to be the biggest nincompoop in the House of Representatives.
Does the congressman ( and I use the term loosely in his case) take medicine for this – or is he just terminally stupid. What a pinhead!
Wellllll, they do kinda seem to want the government to run everything. And nothing they're tried to run in the past ever worked. See any similarities
A Socialist Muslim in the white House and No matter What Allen said about Debbie Schultz I am SURE IT Applies to HER!..I am SURE she is a card carring Communist!, Comrade!..