Martin Bashir | April 12, 2012
>>> day harriet tubman to lead people on the underground railroad into a case of sense and sensibility .
>> if you're unfamiliar with congressman allen west , by all means do become acquainted. the florida congressman's comments are typically too unmoored to do anything but stare in disbelief. his latest assertion certainly fits the bill.
>> i believe it is about 70, 80 to 81 members of the democrat party that are members of the communist party .
>> joining us now from minneapolis is democratic congressman keith ellisson. the mexico of congress to which mr. west was referring. good afternoon.
>> good afternoon thank you. .
>> i must ask you, are you now or have you ever been a communist? if so, do you draw your links from which branch?
>> i have never been, nor 50 ever known anyone in congress who is a member of the communist party . the fact is that it is really sad that we would have to deal with these allegations. if you look at florida , they have a foreclosure crisis. they have a high unemployment rate . they have all kinds of problems there. to think that their member of congress is wasting time throwing nasty names about his colleagues is actually quite shocking when you consider all the serious problems that need to be dealt with.
>> all kidding aside. you know congressman west makes incendiary comments about people including muslims. he is just stofrt person the gop house leadership wants more of. is recruitment of this kind of candidate the reason the legislative process is so broken and discredited?
>> absolutely. the fact is that the, this gentleman and people who resonate with him are not there to solve problems. as i said, florida is sort of like ground zero for the foreclosure crisis. and clearly, unemployment is high. we have national debt issues. we cannot move an agenda. these folks tried to have america default on our debt obligations because they were so ideologically committed. and not at all focused on trying to solve serious problems americans are facing. i've had many constituents say why can't you get along? look. we are here to compromise and boring out problem for the american people . when this is who you have to deal with, it really impossible.
>> what is it, sir, about you yourself and your progressive colleagues that would provoke someone like allen west to accuse you of being a a communist.
>> i think what would make him say such a thing as that, is that he has a need to vilify and demonize the other. when you talk about debbie wasserman schultz who is his colleague from florida was talking about how they need to have a solid front for seniors, and so on medicare, she pointed out that he wouldn't support that. he did not debate her on the issue. he personally attacked her and said, she was not a lady. this guy is a serial insulter. he does this because i think to focus on what the job of a member of congress is is to solve problems, is something he is not interested in doing. i hope the people of the 22nd congressional district of florida take note about how he is always in the middle of one outrageous controversy or another. and that he never seems to get around dealing with the problems that they face on a daily basis.
>> yet in all seriousness, sarah palin believes that allen west should be at the top of mitt romney 's list for vice president.
>> well, that's telling about where she's coming from, isn't it? here's the reality. we need americans who really are focused on getting kids to cool and putting food on the table to step up and understand that there is a whole group of ideologically committed people who are way outside the main stream of american life , who would take power if we don't step up and get active. get engaged and start organizing people. the fact of the matter is, is that there are people who would want him to take a greater leadership role. that's scary to me but the reality is that they are there. and you've got to wonder what the world would look like if they got their way. the only answer is get busy, get active. i think that the people of the 22nd congressional district of florida deserve better than what they're getting and i hope people are taking careful note and at everything he says so they can feed it back to the voters at the proper time .
>> keith ellis son who is not a communist.
>> thank you.