Allen West's comments that there are nearly 80 Communists in the House just won't go away. And CNN is making sure of that.
CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien, for example, had a testy exchange with West on Thursday morning, confronting him on the remarks and demanding he "name names."
From the beginning, O'Brien was combative, vehemently disagreeing with Allen West regarding Ted Nugent's controversial recent comments. Then they turned to West's own remarks. After playing the clip, O'Brien asked him about it, and West said that Communists have "renamed themselves progressive" but the ideology has stayed the same. Mediaite picks it up from there with a transcript:
“So name names for me,” O’Brien said. “Start naming the 78 to 81…”
“Oh, we don’t have to…” West countered.
“Oh, we do! I’m dying to know,” O’Brien pressed. “Which are the members of the…”
“You can go look up the progressive caucus…” interrupted West.
“I got ‘em right here!” O’Brien interjected — and seemingly out of thin air pulled out a list of the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“When then you’ve got the names,” West said.
“So Keith Ellison is a communist?” asked O’Brien. “Raúl Grijalva is a communist?”
“Well, look, I’m just talking about the fact that the ideology and principles — you can call it whatever you want…”
“Tammy Baldwin is a communist? Judy Chu is a communist?” O’Brien continued.
“You can call it whatever you want,” West replied.
“Yeah, but I want to know what you’re calling it,” O’Brien said.
“I’m calling it this,” West clarified. “Communist, progressive, Marxist, statist, another term being used. I’m looking at things they believe in. If you don’t think we have to stand upon truth and be able to identify and clearly contrast the different principles and values and ideologies of governance here in this country, then we’re never going to get to the fact of accepting the true debate happening in America. We don’t need a bureaucratic nanny state. We need to stay a Constitutional Republic. I think a lot of people need to study that and understand what it is.”
CNN hasn't posted the video, but Mediaite captured it:
By the way, here's the original video of West's comments: