PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tea party firebrand U.S. Rep. Allen West likened Social Security to a "form of slavery" in an interview on Fox News this weekend.
West, running for a second term in Congress in the new Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast District 18, said the number of Americans going on Social Security disability is higher since 2009 than the number of new jobs created, blaming President Obama for "creating this sense of economic dependence, which to me is a form of modern, 21st-century slavery."
West opted to run for the new district instead of seeking reelection to his newly redrawn District 22 seat where Democrats now have a 9-point edge. West's race against Democrat Patrick Murphy is one of the most high-profile Congressional battles in the state.
Murphy's campaign jumped on West's Social Security-bashing, pointing out in a press release that residents over the age of 65 make up about 22 percent of District 18.
"Our seniors have worked their whole lives for a safety net that will allow them to retire with dignity, and Allen West is intent on doing anything he can to make it disappear," Murphy's campaign manager Anthony Kusich said.
A week ago, West accused President Obama of wanting to enslave Americans with government programs.
"He 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," West told the crowd at a campaign event in Port St. Lucie.