Daily Beast's Cottle: Ted Cruz 'Playing to the Passions and Paranoia' of GOP Base

Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, the Daily Beast's Michelle Cottle -- formerly of the New Republic -- accused Texas Senator Ted Cruz of "playing to the passions and paranoia" of the Republican base during a discussion of Cruz's criticism of the Obama administration's record of adhering to the law.

After host Al Sharpton played a clip of Senator Cruz's comments on President Obama, and singled out the Texas Senator's use of the terms "imperial presidency," and "unchecked power," Cottle began her response:

You know, in this case, they talk about appointments, controversial appointments to the Labor Relations Board or laws that he chose not, that the President has ostensibly chosen not to, you know, enforce, but it all comes down to, Ted Cruz knows which side his bread is buttered on.

She added:

He has risen to power and made a name for himself by playing to the passions and paranoia of a lot of people in the base who just can't quite believe this President, you know, is still in office. So I think, kind of, the extreme language plays very well with people he's talking to, and he's not all that worried about a broad-based appeal right now.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, February 4, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: Michelle, Ted Cruz called into Glenn Beck's program today, and here's what he had to say. Listen to this:

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX), AUDIO CLIP #1: There is a pattern of lawlessness in this administration that is breathtaking.

CRUZ, AUDIO CLIP #2: We have never seen a President like President Obama, who, if he doesn't agree with the federal law, he refuses to enforce it and he openly defies it, over and over and over again. He simply disregards the law, and that ought to concern everybody. Unchecked power in the presidency, an imperial presidency, is fundamentally inconsistent with individual liberty.

SHARPTON: "Imperial presidency," "unchecked power." It seems to be the new line they're running down, Michelle. Plus, they never in any way give an example even remotely of what they're talking about. But they are repetitive with this new line, "imperial presidency," "unchecked power."

MICHELLE COTTLE, THE DAILY BEAST: You know, in this case, they talk about appointments, controversial appointments to the Labor Relations Board or laws that he chose not, that the President has ostensibly chosen not to, you know, enforce, but it all comes down to, Ted Cruz knows which side his bread is buttered on.

He has risen to power and made a name for himself by playing to the passions and paranoia of a lot of people in the base who just can't quite believe this President, you know, is still in office. So I think, kind of, the extreme language plays very well with people he's talking to, and he's not all that worried about a broad-based appeal right now.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.