Allen West's Opponent Quotes Eisenhower To Slam Slavery Comments

Allen West's Opponent Quotes Eisenhower To Slam Slavery Comments

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Patrick Murphy and Allen West

As Allen West continues to defend his comments that Social Security disability insurance is a form of "slavery," the Florida Representative's opponent Patrick Murphy told Whispers he has a few choice words in response.

Murphy, a Democrat running against the provocative Tea Partier, quoted Dwight D. Eisenhower, who once said:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security... you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. ... Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

The Republican presidential icon's words may ironically help a Democrat in Florida, where West's status as a Tea Party poster boy has been eroded by his controversial rants. Pundits on both sides of the aisle say West's reelection prospects look dimmer after he switched districts to Florida's bluer 18th district.

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Murphy—who started an environmental company after the Gulf Coast oil spill and was previously a CPA and auditor—told Whispers he plans to use West's reputation to his advantage, boiling the race down to an "anti-Allen West vote."

"I can't tell you how many people come up to me, and say 'I'm a Republican but I'm never going to vote for that guy. He's nuts,'" Murphy said.

He called the social security slavery comment "wrong on so many levels."

"There is a reason we pay into social security, because it's a safety net, it's a floor we wouldn't let American citizens fall below," Murphy said. "That's been forgotten by people like Allen West."

The Hill projects the race as a toss-up. An internal poll from the Murphy campaign also shows the candidates neck-and-neck, while the West campaign declined to share its numbers. West's campaign manager Tim Edson is quoted in the Palm Beach Post as calling the Murphy poll " pathetic."

Update, 2:00 p.m.:

West’s campaign manager Tim Edson told Whispers:

“I can’t tell you how many people come up to Congressman West and think he’s unopposed because they’ve never seen or heard of Patrick Murphy.  It’s possible that Patrick Murphy is intentionally confusing Social Security and Social Security Disability because he has nothing to say beyond Pelosi’s talking points, but it’s just as likely he’s too ignorant to understand the difference.  Patrick Murphy is the ultimate empty suit.  He will rubber stamp liberal attacks on seniors like a $500 billion cut to Medicare in exchange for left-wing campaign cash.” 

Elizabeth Flock  is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report.  You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.