By Geneva Sands - 04/18/12 07:53 PM EDT
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) doubled-down on his claim that almost half of Democrats in the House are members of the Communist Party, telling reporters he would stand by his remark.
"I don’t regret it whatsoever," said West during a monthly "Conversations with Conservatives" Heritage Foundation press event, reported The Shark Tank, Tuesday.
The Florida congressman and Tea Party favorite went on to challenge the media to "do a little research" on political ideologies.
"There is a very thin line between Communism, Progressivism, Marxism, Socialism, or even … Statism. It's about nationalizing production. It's about creating and expanding the welfare state. It's about this idea of social and economic justice. You hear that now being played out with fairness, fair share, economic equality," he added.
Democrats rebuked West after he told Floridians in Palm City last week that "he's heard" as many as 80 Democrats in Congress are "members of the Communist Party."
The co-chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), said comments made by Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) were reminiscent of McCarthyism.
"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 co-chairmen wrote in a statement last Wednesday.
West, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, added that he is "standing by what he said."
"It's very interesting that people on the left are not debating the point that I made. They just don't like the fact that it was made," West said.
After the story broke last week, the congressman's reelection campaign said the remarks were taken out of context.
“One stupid reporter with a local publication misquoted the entire thing, and they all jumped on one press account without verifying,” Tim Edson, West's campaign manager, told The Daily Caller last week. ”It’s all typical West Wing marching orders for their friends in the press.”