MSNBC host Chris Matthews called tea party Republican Sen. Ted Cruz a "political terrorist" for his threat to shut down the government
over funding for Obamacare and his opposition to raising the federal debt ceiling.
"I believe it's terrorism," Matthews said Wednesday on his program, "Hardball." "This is the first time I've seen a political party, or even a fraction of it, say that their No. 1 goal is to shut down the American government, kill a bill that's already been passed by Congress, and refuse to pay bills already run up by Congress in an attempt to basically risk default."
Cruz's efforts are "an attempt to destroy all we know of the republican form of government in this country," Matthews added.
Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, appearing on the show, said he comes from a different wing of the party than Cruz, but objected to the use of the term "terrorist." Matthews said Schmidt was welcome to use his own term, but that he was standing by the term "political terrorist" or just "terrorist for short."
"I think he's a demagogue, I think he's irresponsible," Schmidt said. "But I think when we use the word 'terrorist' we apply that to the Boston bombers, we apply that to the September 11th hijackers -- I'm not comfortable with the word."
Democratic strategist David Axelrod agreed saying he was uncomfortable using the word out of respect for the victims of violent terrorists.
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