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. Nodak

    Feinstein has no room to be calling anyone else arrogant. She is far more arrogant than Sen. Cruz could ever be.

    March 15, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. todd

    Why doesn't the network publish exactly what Cruz said? They call this journalism, really!!

    March 15, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. asm_ith

    Cruz was not only arrogant and condescending. He was also wrong thinking that the 2nd Amendment was absolute, and government couldn't do anything at all. In the recent Heller decision, the conservatives on the Supreme Court (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Kennedy) said that the government can impose restrictions and limitations. Since Cruz is a Harvard-educated lawyer, one can only conclude that he either chooses to be ignorant of the actual law or chooses to ignore it in order to stir things up by lying people. In either case, he makes a fool of himself.

    March 15, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    So how would conservatives in congress respond if the Iraqis and Afghans were to come to the United Nations and demand that their guns be returned??? And where's the due process for the detainees at Gitmo???

    March 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Chris

    The problem isn't that Cruz is arrogant; it is that he is STUPID.

    March 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. conniesz

    I suppose Ted Cruz believes the 2nd amendment gives us the individual right to have nuclear missles – if not, why not? Where does he draw that line between those arms we are allowed to have and those we are not. It's insane to believe that anyone needs an assault weapon for personal defense or for hunting – it just isn't the case, and if you need weapons to "take on the government" then why stop at assault weapons – why not flame throwers, tanks, and nuclear missles?

    March 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. skybill40

    Feinstein is an idiot. While she and others continue to harp on about assault weapons and the school shooting, the fact is that NO assault weapon was used. Period. The chief medical examiner of Sandy Hook even came out and stated as such. All the carnage caused there was done by HANDGUNS, but there's been no outrage over them. This is a knee jerk, nonsense reaction by a Senator who's a hypocrite.

    Diane, they're bullet holes. You didn't need to stick your finger(s) in them. Get a clue.

    March 15, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. Adam G. in NC

    Ban away!
    I got my AK47 and six 30 round clips yesterday...and at a reasonable price.

    March 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. spike

    She may have studied the constitution but it's obvious she forgot everything she studied. HER arrogance is over the top. This is the same woman who objecting to being called maam by a military member and demanded to be called senator.

    March 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. Tony L

    I am not going to address the merit of gun control.

    Instead, thumbs up to Cruz. This is what is wrong with politics today. We are so wrapped up in being politically correct and polite. Not offend anyone or insult anyone. Congress was a forum for debate. If you cannot handle the debate process and you feel offended because you have tenure and believe someone should give you a pass or grant you special "respect" for your tenure, then you are the wrong person for the job. Cruz is representing his constituents, if you find that offensive Diane, then you are in the wrong job. Congress is to debate collaboratively, put your EGO's aside and do your jobs for a change!!!

    March 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. Dallas

    Good for you Sen. Finestein. Why my fellow Texans elected this jackass is beyond me. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst would have been a better choice but at the present time we are overburdened with radical tea partiers who choose to live in the past, not accept the new world and try to deny the rest of us from moving forward. Unless or until the mind set here in Texas changes, we will keep sending these clowns to Washington. I fervently pray for an electable Democrat to come forward and break this chain of fools we have been suffering for years.

    March 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. NickAnast

    As Feinstein pointed out to Cruz the Clown, her bill exempts 2,271 types of weapons (that was immediately followed by "Isn't that enough for the American people? Do they need a bazooka?").

    But this is Cruz the Clown we're talking about. The same clown who claimed that there were a dozen communists on the faculty of Harvard Law School while he was a student there - but never actually named a single one, nor felt the need to transfer to another law school. The same clown who has voted "No" every time he has cast a vote in the Senate.

    Besides, Cruz was wrong when he claimed that Feinstein's bill would place restrictions on the 2nd amendment while other amendments are not restricted, as Sens. Schumer and Durbin later pointed out.

    It seems that Cruz the Clown believes it is not OK to stand up in a crowded movie theater and SHOUT "fire," but it is OK to stand up in a crowded movie theater and OPEN fire.

    March 15, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. skybill40

    If anyone here is arrogant, it's Feinstein. She's completely out of touch as well as being out of her mind if she even thinks this nonsense ban stands a chance in the full Senate let alone the House.

    This needs to stop. Assault weapons are NOT the problem. People are the problem and always will be. While increased scrutiny and additional checks are a move in the right direction, a complete ban stretching out to 2000+ weapons is ridiculous. Oddly enough, there were more deaths caused by hammers last year than by assault weapons. Are hammers on her list?

    Lastly, an assault weapon wasn't even used in the Sandy Hook incident. All that carnage was caused by HANDGUNS. The chief medical examiner for that town even confirmed it publicly.

    March 15, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. teacher

    Ted Cruz is out to make a name for himself. Too bad it is the wrong name for 100% of Americans. He is even making his party look even worse. But you have to take into consideration that he is from the same state as G.W. Bush who let his vice president dictate wars the country would be involved in. Dianne Feinstein is definitely smarter than a sixth grader. Ted Cruz is dumber that the door knob. Is he the poster child for the "new" Republican party? Oh God, I hope not or the party is completely doomed. Just asking: can he be recalled for stupidity?

    March 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Paul

    So Feinstein refers to the killings of Harvey Milk and Moscone years ago as reasons why she wants to ban assault rifles. Yet both were killed by pistols. I like Feinstein, but I can see she is a bit too overboard in her reactions since she knows her ban on assault rifles is going the way of the dodo bird. I hope Obama thanks her for her hard but unfruitful work. And Wolf Blitzer by not referring to the EXACT wording that Cruz used is nothing but an administration TROLL.

    March 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. A True Conservative

    Ms. Feinstein you never answered the question. Why not?

    March 15, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. NickAnast

    It took Adam Lanza all of 5 minutes to fire 152 shots. He used at least five 30-round clips in his Bushmaster AR-15, then switched to his handgun to fire 1 bullet into his head. One of his 30-round clips jammed, and when he stopped to change clips, six students were able to escape.

    March 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    So where was all this fire from Feinstein and the rest of the Democrats for the past four years? let's face it, had Feinstein and the rest of the Democratic party been more vocal and defiant in defense of the President's policies and had stepped up to the plate and defuse all the propoganda and lies about the ACA and the stimulus bills and so on, the GOPT would never have won the mid term election and take control of the House. But unfortunately, half of the Democratic Party seem to want our Black President to fail too. And the CBC?? Well, they all seemed to forget their history and all that their ancestors endured for their freedom. Dumb Democrats.

    March 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Matt


    There is no such thing as a thirty round clip.

    March 15, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. KirkUSA

    I proudly voted for Ted Cruz. Even more proud when he points out facts to Feinstein's lies.

    March 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. CB

    Lastly, an assault weapon wasn't even used in the Sandy Hook incident. All that carnage was caused by HANDGUNS. The chief medical examiner for that town even confirmed it publicly.


    Wrong wrong wrong wrong.

    The Bushmaster was used on all of the victims at the school. The police report is on line. The ME's report is on line. Go read it. Talk about being uninformed. Go look in the mirror.

    March 15, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. glorydays

    I'm really tired of people with big mouths and little brains telling me their right to own assault weapons is more important than the lives of the innocent. It is insanity.

    March 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Sniffit

    Stupidest part is that he was reading the 1st, 2nd and 4th as if he was cornering her on the idea that the gov't has no right to limit the kinds of weapons available to the public...but all of those Amendments, including the 2nd, have been interpreted by the SCOTUS to allow for reasonable limitations on the rights conveyed.

    March 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. MakeThemEatCake

    Jacob, unless you carry and AR-15 with a folding stock and shortened barrell (sp) you aren't carrying that concealed while you are out shopping or at your kid's little league game. REPEAT, the list of weapons that they are trying to ban does not contain those that are the "typical" handguns being carried for personal protection. And Yankee Doodle, if that is your argument against a PARTIAL weapons ban working its way through Congress then you are more of a threat to John Q. Public than the government you feel is out to get you.

    March 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Sniffit

    Oh look, another Dem woman with more balls than the entire GOP.

    March 15, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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