WASHINGTON -- Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) says a new campaign ad depicting him punching white women in the face fuels racist stereotypes and would spark "national outrage" if he weren't a black conservative. But an NAACP spokesman begs to differ.
The ad, released Thursday by American Sunrise PAC, features a cartoon version of West punching an elderly woman in a boxing ring as a narrator says West "socked it to seniors" by pushing to gut Medicare. It also shows West punching a younger woman as the narrator criticizes West's support for cuts to women's health care funding. Both women are white.
West said Friday that people across the country would be furious if the ad depicted a white man punching a woman of color, but because he is African American and a Republican, nobody is offended by it.
"There would be national outrage," West said in an interview on Fox News. "That's part of the duplicitous hypocrisy that comes with the liberal left. They believe that they can do anything, especially if you're a black conservative."
The Florida Republican specifically said news outlets like The Huffington Post would be "apoplectic" if a conservative PAC ran an ad with a black Democratic politician punching a white woman. He also called out civil rights leaders for not speaking up.
"Where's the outrage from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the NAACP about this?" West asked. "They're not going to say anything because they're nothing but an effective wing of the Democratic Party."
Even former presidential candidate Herman Cain waded into the matter, tweeting Friday that he found the ad "distasteful and dishonest."
But NAACP spokesman Hilary Shelton said he watched the ad several times, specifically looking for the concerns raised by West, and saw nothing.
"Racist is not a term I would utilize to sum up this commercial," Shelton told The Huffington Post. "It looks like a traditional, political, partisan commercial."
"The language utilized doesn't present Allen West as a stereotype of an African American," Shelton said. "The ad has him looking very well groomed, a serious look on his face and he's wearing a suit. The only thing superimposed is a boxing glove as a symbolic analysis of his policies being inconsistent with the values of retirees, women and African-American families."
The NAACP spokesman said the demographics of the people in the ad accurately represent the make-up of West's district, which makes the ad "fair game" in the midst of 2012 politicking. He also dismissed the idea that the ad is offensive to women.
The younger woman being punched in the face "is not wearing a bikini. The expression on her face is not one of fear. It's a serious expression, but it's not of someone being threatened," Shelton said. "I don't see the symbolism in any way ingrained in stereotypes, whether it's race or gender or ethnicity."
Anthony Kusich, a spokesman for Patrick Murphy, West's Democratic challenger, emphasized that Murphy's camp "had nothing to do" with the creation of the ad, despite the fact that Murphy's father runs the PAC that released it.
Kusich also questioned how West could be so upset about the ad given his reputation for having extreme views.
"It is amazing to hear Allen West complain considering he recently called Social Security 'slavery,' said the President is trying to 'enslave' Americans, and told a female colleague she was 'vile and despicable,'" Kusich said in a statement. "Further, it is telling that West does not dispute the votes cited in the ad, including his vote to dismantle Medicare, open up the prescription drug donut hole, and against women's healthcare and insurance coverage. He even voted against the Violence Against Women Act."
"His anti-senior and anti-woman record is clear," he said.
The Republic Will Collapse
"It's much the same as Alexis de Tocqueville talked about in 'Democracy In America' -- that this American republic will collapse once Congress and obviously our president realizes they can bribe the public by using the public's treasury," Allen West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/allen-west-obama-republic-will-collapse_n_1428851.html" target="_hplink">told a Florida Tea Party group</a>.
"I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party," Allen West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/allen-west-democrats-communist-party_n_1417279.html" target="_hplink">said at a town hall</a>. "It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."
"You want to talk about something that's really racist?" West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/allen-west-tanning-salon-tax-racist-_n_1408454.html" target="_hplink">said at a Florida retirement home</a>, referring to a 10 percent tax on tanning salons. "They have a tanning tax. I'm not tanning."
Mocking Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) for wearing a hoodie on the House floor, West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/allen-west-bobby-rush-hoodie_n_1389170.html" target="_hplink">said</a>, "I'm thinking about a University of Tennessee big orange colored hoodie-footie, and, you know, see if I can sneak by the security and get in there."
"This is another example of the bureaucratic nanny-state not considering the economic ramifications of its insidious regulatory policies," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/allen-west-handicapped-access_n_1385186.html" target="_hplink">said of a proposed regulation</a> to make all public pools handicapped-accessible. "I have talked with and received letters from several South Florida hotels saying this is a wasteful exercise that will cost Florida businesses a lot of money and accomplish nothing."
"Anyone challenging me on my support to this visionary plan to restore our economic security will be signing up for a suicide mission," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/allen-west-paul-ryan-budget_n_1372386.html" target="_hplink">wrote on his Facebook</a> about the Ryan budget. "My recommendation to any detractors, read Proverbs 17:28 and heed its advice. It is time for those who understand how to govern, not demagogue."
West credited the possibility of a Republican winning the 2012 election for helping improve the stock market. "I would think maybe the markets are looking five to six months down the road when we have a change in leadership in this country," <a href="http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/03/allen_west_says_stock_market_i.php" target="_hplink">he said on Fox</a>.
Osama Bin Laden
West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/allen-west-obama-osama-bin-laden_n_1316160.html" target="_hplink">wrote on his Facebook</a> that Barack Obama should stop talking about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. "Please stop with the Osama Bin Laden line, U.S. Navy SEALS double-tapped that rascal," he wrote.
West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/allen-west-second-holocaust-israel-iran_n_1304297.html" target="_hplink">warned</a> that the U.S. might not be doing enough to protect Israel against Iran: <blockquote>"You're looking at a second Holocaust" if Israel doesn't "know they can trust and depend upon the stars and stripes ... to provide them support," West told attendees of a town hall meeting last week at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., according to the Palm Beach Post.</blockquote>
'Insidious Form Of Slavery'
"The Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/allen-west-slavery-democratic-handouts_n_1281570.html" target="_hplink">said in a speech</a>.
'Get The Hell Out'
"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/allen-west-liberals-get-out-florida-primary-2012_n_1239247.html" target="_hplink">said, referring to Democratic leaders</a>. "You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/allen-west-joseph-goebbels-democrats-propaganda_n_1152365.html" target="_hplink">West said in a speech</a>.
"I'm here as the modern day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility," West said while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/18/allen-west-harriet-tubman_n_930052.html" target="_hplink">making an analogy</a> in which he also compared black leaders like Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to a "plantation boss."
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
In an email to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/19/allen-west-debbie-wasserman-schultz_n_904047.html" target="_hplink">West wrote</a>, "You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up."