Rep. Allen West: Half the Democrats in Congress are communists

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) says he's heard that almost half of all the Democrats in Congress are secretly part of the Communist Party.

He offered no names or proof of his accusation.

West told almost 100 Floridians in Palm City on Tuesday that "he's heard" as many as 80 Democrats in Congress are members of the Communist Party, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The freshman Republican, an outspoken conservative and Tea Party favorite, is a longtime critic of the Democratic Party.

At the same event, he charged that President Obama was "scared" to meet with him.

"I really wish that, standing here before you, was Allen West and President Obama," West said, according to the report. "We could have a simple discussion. But that ain't ever gonna happen."

West has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for the 2012 Republican nominee. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley ( R) called him a "good" choice. Sarah Palin has also spoken highly of him.

West said on Friday that he would join the presidential ticket "if it was the right fit."

"The focus is, of course, being a good congressional representative,” West said in an interview with CNN. "But if someone were to make that call to me, which I really doubt is ever going to happen, you would have to make sure that it is something that God would ordain for you, and you’d have to talk to your wife, my wife and my two daughters about. But we have always stepped up to the plate to serve our country. And if it’s the right fit, then I will do so."