Joe Scarborough has a question: Is Sen. Ted Cruz the Tea Party version of Sen. Barack Obama?
“Name me the major piece of legislation that Barack Obama passed in the United States Senate that would suggest that he knew how to work the Senate and would be an effective president of the United States,” Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough challenged his panel on Tuesday.
Cruz has held his Senate seat for less than a year, but is already considered a 2016 presidential contender.
Obama was elected president after just four years in the Senate.
“Can you name one piece of legislation that Barack Obama passed in four years in the United States Senate that would suggest he knew how to work with people any better than Ted Cruz?” Scarborough asked.
“I am not debating he came out of nowhere," Morning Joe regular Donny Deutsch responded. "I’m challenging you on is to compare him to the wacky extremist views of a Ted Cruz is different.”
Co-host Mika Brzezinski fired back that the president’s accomplishments exceeded his Senate record.
“I think the parallel with the president is unfair and can anyone name a president, the answer is no, who has passed healthcare?" she said. "Can you name presidents who tried? Yes. No one’s been able to do it.”
Obama's voting record in the Senate was quite liberal, but he also displayed a streak of bipartisanship. He and now retired Indiana Republican Sen. Dick Lugar shepherded legislation to further dismantle weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.
Obama and Oklahoma's Republican Sen. Tom Coburn also passed a bill requiring more transparency in federal funding, and the president worked on a handful of successful amendments to other bills.
Cruz has sponsored a variety of legislation in his short time in office--anti-Obamacare bills but also measures related to guns, voting, and drones--but none have succeeded.
Watch the full discussion here on Morning Joe.