06/11/2013 03:36 pm ET

Ted Cruz Has 'Obamaphobia,' Bob Menendez Says (VIDEO)

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) took a hit at tea party favorite Ted Cruz Tuesday, diagnosing the Texas senator with "Obamaphobia."

Menendez hurled the insult while criticizing Cruz's efforts against immigration reform on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co."

“I think Ted Cruz is fixated on this issue and it’s amazing to me representing a state like Texas that he doesn’t understand that a pathway to citizenship is really what is desired,” Menendez said.

“I think he has Obamaphobia,” Menendez said. “The reality is that it is the ‘Gang of Eight’ that came together -- four Democrats, four Republicans -- and said that we need a path to citizenship.”

In an interview with ABC News published Monday, Cruz said President Barack Obama is "the biggest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform."

"It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue," Cruz said.

The Senate immigration reform bill passed its first procedural hurdle on the floor Tuesday in a 82-15 vote, with only Republicans voting to block the bill from moving forward.

Watch a video of Menendez's remarks above.



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