March 14th, 2013
06:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Feinstein describes feelings during exchange with ‘arrogant’ colleague

Washington (CNN) – Saying she felt "patronized" by Senate colleague Ted Cruz, Sen. Dianne Feinstein explained Thursday why she felt the need to raise her voice in anger at the Texas Republican during a debate over gun control.

"I felt he was somewhat arrogant about it," Feinstein said of Cruz's suggestion the Senate Judiciary Committee was ignoring the Constitution during its debate over banning semiautomatic firearms.

She spoke on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"When you come from where I've come from ... when you found a dead body and put your finger in bullet holes, you really realize the impact of weapons," she continued, referring to the 1978 assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk, whose bodies she discovered at City Hall.

"When you see these weapons becoming attractive to grievance killers, people who take them into schools, into theaters, into malls - you wonder, does America really need these weapons? My answer to that is no. And so it's based on my experience," she continued.

The furious exchange with Cruz came before the judiciary panel passed the assault weapons ban Feinstein introduced on a party line vote. After Cruz implored the committee not to forget the Constitution in its debate, Feinstein angrily replied, "I'm not a sixth grader."

"I've studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well-educated and I thank you for the lecture," she continued, noting that the assault weapons ban backed by President Barack Obama but opposed by the powerful gun lobby exempted certain weapons.

"Isn't that enough for the people in the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high-powered weapons that military people use to kill in close combat? I don't think so," she said.

She concluded by telling Cruz that "I come from a different place than you do. I respect your views. I ask you to respect my views."

Afterward, Feinstein said she needed time to "cool down" before speaking to her Republican colleague.

"I did say, 'Look, I'm sorry. But, you know, this is one thing that I feel very passionately about,'" Feinstein recalled saying.

Now that her assault weapons ban is heading to the full Senate, Feinstein said she expects Obama to begin working with lawmakers to build support.

Despite polls showing that such a prohibition resonates with Americans, most observers don't give the bill much of a chance in the full Senate.

The California Democrat isn't one of them.

"The people do want it," Feinstein said. "So I hope the people make the connection now with their representatives. In the West, in the Midwest, in the South and in the East. And say, 'yes, we agree with the polls. We want this bill.'"

The legislation was prompted by December's school shooting in Connecticut.

Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Gun control
soundoff (412 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The peewee herman look a like and gop clown Cruz should show respect for a senator with a good reputation ,something that the teabag hillbilly from Texas already lost ..where's your birth certifcate you loser.

    March 14, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. MaryM

    Senator Feinstein smack down on McCarthy Cruz

    March 14, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. johnqpublius

    Ms. Feinstien talks about putting her fingers into bullet holes as if the gun, not the hand on the trigger, was responsible for the deed. Sowing Confusion between means and ends is part and parcel of the art of demagoguery.

    March 14, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Jay

    Ted Cruz = crude

    March 14, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Al

    I think she has been there too long. Time for her to go. She works for the people, not for herself.
    In ct. a police officer shot himself in the head in the police dept. (Sad issue still unfolding) so
    does that mean that now all police should be disarmed due to PTSD. I have been following her bill for a long time now.
    She admits she is not a lawyer, she is also not an expert on guns neither. "weapons of war" I think she really she is out of touch with this issue. I also think it's time for people to remove her from office. I say a vote of no confidence against Feinstein

    March 14, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    No we don't want it

    March 14, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Yanni

    Cruz manner might have been perfect for Texas bar, a street corner in the wild-wild west, or for a tea party hate fest, but for the US senate room we really are misfortunate.

    March 14, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. pkrbkr

    Ted Cruz is the one who should be apologizing! He acts like McCarthy, even looks like arrogant man who doesn't know what he's talking about! How on earth did this man get elected? He's just plain dumb!

    March 14, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Jinx9to88

    Does any representative from Texas have a clue? It like the just open their mouth and they have no knowledge about what their saying. See Rick Perry in the debate and now Cruz. Good grief if you choose to open your mouth at least know what your talking about.

    March 14, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Pete

    Isn't Cruz the idiotic republican who thinks he's the reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy the old one wanting to admonish all and tried running all the commis out of Washington..When will these wet behind the ears racist republicans learn that if you act ignorent,arrogent you'll be responded the same in kind making them look far more a clown than your posters wish you to be...But than again its business as usual for Cruz,Cantor and company not trusting anyone because of what they've done in their past and thinking as arrogent fools everyone in Washington is just like them ,ignorent and foolish ,a proven trait of republicans isn't it!!

    March 14, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. Pete

    And thank you Sen.Feinstein for putting that arrogent wet behind his ears Cruz in his place because his spineless republican collegues sure won't!! Republicans teach your

    March 14, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Name lynn

    Dianne them repblicans is sad an stupid, thats why obama is not agreeing with the cold hearted loins cats. Obama is a good man an not a hel raiser like the white house leader.

    March 14, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. madnessofjack

    "Feinstein angrily replied, "I'm not a sixth grader.""...........Really? Either her English comprehension is at the sixth grade level or she's a left wing fascist control freak....which is it?

    March 14, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. tangledthorns

    Feinstein got mad because she couldn't answer the question so she lashed out like a child. The sooner this comes to a vote to be defeated, the better.

    March 14, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Bill Via

    Arrogant, she must have been talking to herself in the mirror.

    March 14, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Texas

    Cruz is in my district and just barely won his election by a razor thin margin. I'm pretty sure he will lose in the next election cycle so his impact as a bomb thrower like most Tea Baggers is minimal.

    March 14, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. Jim in Georgia

    We are going to have 6 more years of Ted Cruz. Between him and Rick Perry it makes me wonder about the people of Texas...

    March 14, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Dave

    Feinstien you make me wanna puke

    March 14, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. Jacob

    Most people don't know that Feinstein use to have a concealed weapons permit before she had her bodyguards. Now Feinstein wants to ban this ban that. My mother use to say if its not good for the goose its not good for the gander, translation for liberal hippie leaches if Feinstein is unwilling to give up armed security I sure to hell am not giving up my right to protect myself. All these people that want strict gun control please move to Chicago I heard they enjoy the lowest gun related homicide rate in America (End Sarcasm).

    March 14, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  20. ObjectiveGuy

    Diane Feinstein calling someone ELSE arrogant??? That is the ultimate analogy of the pot calling the kettle black! Like any good liberal, she feels that anyone who disagrees with her opinion is stupid, arrogant, and out of touch.

    March 14, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. freedom

    Arrogant? Look no further than your fellow democrat senators, Hilary (what difference does it make??!!) Clinton, Pelosi, Reid, and Pres. Obama.

    March 14, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Bryan

    Cruz is fasting become another Allen West. What is up with these minority Republicans? It's like they don't know how to act with class.

    March 14, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. Yankee Doodle

    I would have been MORE in her face. Why did not one person stand up and say that the 2nd amendment is for people to defend themselves from a potentially oppressive government? I think we SHOULD be able to have rocket launchers, because our military has them, and if they were ever ordered to attack us we would be outgunned. The 2nd amendment has already been degraded to citizens only legally owning semi-automatic weapons.

    March 14, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. jennifer in Houston

    She doesn't need to apologize, he is an arrogant jerk

    March 14, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  25. Jeremy

    They're all arrogant... how else would they become politicians?

    March 14, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17