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Rep. Allen West Says Up To 81 House Members Are Communists

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s not the 1940s or the 1950s, Joe McCarthy is no longer rooting out alleged Soviet supporters in the legislature and the country is not entangled in the Cold War, but don’t tell Rep. Allen West.

The Florida Republican told a crowd in his home state Tuesday that as many as 81 members of Congress are Communists.

In a clip of the town hall-style event that was posted online Wednesday, an audience member asks, “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?”

“I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” he said in the video.

After a long pause West, a former Army lieutenant colonel, adds, "They actually don’t hide it. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

The comments soon went virtually viral online and “Allen West” became a trending topic on Twitter for part of the day.

Libero Della Piana, a vice chairman of the national Communist Party, told Politico that West’s comments were a “sad ploy.”

“I just think it’s an absurd way to cast a shadow over his colleagues,” Della Piana said. “It’s just guilt by association taken to an extreme.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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