Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) sought to do damage control on Monday after sparking controversy with remarks he made over the weekend.
"Liberal media reports saying I am equating Social Security of hardworking Americans to a form of slavery is absolutely false," the Tea Party-backed freshman wrote on Facebook. "It seems that there is absolutely no level the attack machine will sink to deliberately distort my comments. ... I was clearly talking about the number of people on Social Security disability -- a completely separate issue then claims that I said I am against Social Security."
Earlier, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, West said, "Since June of 2009 or so, we have seen 2.4 million private-sector jobs created, but we’ve had 3.1 million people going on Social Security disability and, as we said just this past month, the 85,000 went on Social Security disability as opposed to 80,000 jobs created." He added, "So once again we are creating the sense of economic dependence which, to me, is a form of modern, 21st-century slavery."
HuffPost's Alana Horowitz noted over the weekend:
This isn't the first time he's compared U.S. social programs to slavery. Last week, he said that President Obama "does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning, and having that title of American ... he'd rather you be his slave."
According to political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, West can be considered vulnerable in his campaign for a second term. Running in a new district this election cycle, the Florida congressman is facing off against Republican challenger Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder in an August 14 primary. Patrick Murphy is running as the Democratic candidate in West's district.