His remark was directed at House Republicans, in particular, whom he criticized for failing to reprimand Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), “one of the Tea Party members,” when in April he charged that as many as 80 Democrats in Congress are members of the Communist Party.
West stuck by his claim, saying later that he was referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus and identifying “a very thin line” between communism, socialism and Marxism and “progressivism.”
"This is not the 1950s,” Clinton said Monday, according to reports. “At least Joe McCarthy could skate on the fact that there was one or two living communists walking around. Nobody has seen a communist in over a decade.”
McCarthy was a Republican senator best known for leading a rigorous search for communist sentiment during the 1950s. His controversial actions, including some unsubstantiated accusations, earned him an iconic place in history as a fear-monger.
Clinton included the Republican leadership in his comparison to McCarthy.
“Neither the presidential nominee nor any of the leaders rebuked him for saying that,” Clinton said of West.
Clinton and President Obama, appearing together at three fundraisers in New York City on Monday night, reportedly raised more than $3 million for Obama's reelection campaign.
Clinton harshly criticized the GOP nominee at the events, despite complimenting Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career” to CNN last week, and said he considers it “essential” to reelect the president.