*Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is now trying to downplay comments he made over the weekend telling Democratic leaders to “get the hell out of the United States of America.”

Over the weekend, West said at a Lincoln Day Dinner for the Palm Beach County GOP, “We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table.” He added, “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. 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.”

After cheers, West added, “Yeah I said ‘hell.'” [Watch below.]

Bob Beckel on Fox News’ “The Five” said Monday, “In my 30 years of politics, I have never heard anything more disgraceful in my life. I think Allen West owes an apology to a lot of people.” West responded today on “Fox and Friends” by saying he thought Beckel owed him an apology.

On CNN this morning, Soledad O’Brien said to West, “I don’t get it. I mean, I don’t understand what you’re saying, you’re telling Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to get out of the United States? Explain that.”

“No, Soledad, Soledad absolutely not. And you know that,” said West. O’Brien interrupted him, saying that she didn’t understand what he was saying.

“Well the thing is you should’ve listened to the entire speech,” said West. “You didn’t listen to the entire speech which talked about the contrast between the quality of opportunity which allowed a young man born in 1961 in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia to now represent the highest-income zip code in the entire United States of America. That’s the America that I love, that’s the America that’s dear to me.”

West invited O’Brien to read the Federalist papers and the Constitution with him. O’Brien declined. [Watch below.]

The Florida congressman could face a difficult re-election in 2012, as his swing district could become more Democratic under a redistricting plan approved by a state House panel. West, however, has had strong fundraising — he raised $1.75 million during the fourth quarter of 2011, leaving him with $2.7 million in cash on hand.