Hardball host Chris Matthews thinks the president has "met his match" in the junior Republican senator from Texas.
“I think Ted Cruz is brilliant, I think the president has met his match in this guy," Matthews said on Tuesday's Morning Joe.
Cruz has lead the effort for months to barter a delay or defunding of Obamacare in exchange for funding the government, but Senate Democrats refused to take the bait. The upper chamber rejected each and every bill the House sent them, ping-ponging "clean" funding bills back to the lower chamber till midnight on Monday, when the federal government officially shut down.
"He set this thing up months ago," Matthews said. "With no budget agreement, therefore no appropriations, therefore the government would be completely exposed at this morning, at midnight last night, to completely shut down."
The government is currently operating only the most essential services. Late Monday, Congress did pass an appropriations bill to pay the military in the case of a shutdown, but the last time the government shut down in 1995, more government spending was protected with appropriations bills. (According to USA Today, Congress used appropriation bills to fund military construction, agriculture, and energy and water projects through the 1995 shutdown.)
"He knows what he’s doing. It’s about the baby, Obama’s baby," Matthews said of Obamacare. "And you can’t cut the baby in half, we learned that in Solomon."
Watch the full clip above.