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. stepheng

    I hate to break to my assault rifle friends (I own one myself), but it doesn't matter what gun you have, you already gave up your rights when you allowed the Patriot Act to infringe on your civil liberties (suspension of habeaus corpus for terrorist – that's what you are when you stand against elected officials in a democracy, illegal wire tapping. Once they have a reason to come to your house because they consider you a threat, it doesn't matter what weapon you have, you aren't going to shoot your way out once you are cornered by the police. You don't have the tactics or training to stand against even a Sheriff's Department, much less US Marshals, ATF, or the FBI. Especially if there were military units to show up. Look at Ruby Ridge (ex-Special Forces), Waco (arsenal to rival a 3rd world country), and Donner (Seal training). The 2nd Amendment doesn't mean squat once they have already circumvented the 4th and that my friends was done by Bush and Cheney and the policy continues to be in place under Obama (did you really think he was going to take it away). The 2nd Amendment is a paper lion.

    March 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Cruz's argument was respectful, meaningful and highly accurate!"

    Yeah, condescendingly reading Constitutional amendments to a well-educated veteran Senator of 20 years as if she's never read or heard of them before is totally "respectful." Grow up.

    March 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. ColdWarVet

    In watching it he was asking a direct question which she never did answer. A typical liberal response. When you don't have an intelligent answer, just get angry and make an accusation.

    March 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Chris

    Is it that difficult for you libs to hear the core meaning of his message? I guess it's taboo in your book to be a god fearing, country loving, red blooded American patriot these days. God forbid we protect what once made us the greatest nation on earth in the first place huh? Take a good long look at yourselves dems!

    March 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "the polls that have been published show that the majority of Americans do not agree with the prohibition "

    No. Polls actually show that the majority support a ban on assault rifles. Sorry, but you're just doing the equivalent of hiding under the covers. Heck, there was even a poll showing that in TX, 49% of Texans support the assault weapon ban and only 41% of Texans oppose it.

    March 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. a slozomby

    feinstein calling someone else arrogant? thats rich.

    March 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Biff

    I am soooooo glad that there are multi-multi-multi millionaires with bully pulpits like this. Here is a fine exapmle of a woman without a financial care in the world who lives in secure, gated communities; arrives everywhere in limousines; and is afforded 24 hour a day armed protection. These types of people have taken it upon themselves to go out of their way to mandate for us how we should live our lives...arrogant condescending dolts like Bloomberg, Feinstein, Schumer, ad nauseum. Screw you, Diane!

    March 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. ray

    Amazing California the land of Hollywood.I would have to give their senior senator an "F" for poor debate skills,hastty and poorly thought out dialogoue,poor planning and just horrible acting.

    March 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. whitepine

    Sounds like Mr Cruz and his NRA friends should be saving us taxpayers money and out there protecting the borders. I am so sick of Texas and Arizona bragging about all their guns and how these good guys are protecting us from bad guys. Show us just who are you protecting with your guns and all those criminals you are putting behind bars.

    March 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. db

    Yep, you've been around a long time Sen. Feinstein and it's time you retire. You are guarded by security 24/7 yet you want to take our rights from us and make it so we can't protect ourselves.

    LOVE YA Senator Curz!!!!! Keep fighting the good fight for the American people.

    March 15, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. ray

    Dianne what a great way to scoot around a question that you don"t want to answer.

    March 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Kimosabe

    @ Jim Steele, there are CURRENTLY exemptions to the 1st and 4th. Ever hear of libel or slander? You can't just say whatever you want with no consequences. Ever hear of the TSA? No warrant needed to search you or your belongings.

    March 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. AngieS

    Nothing extreme left, liberal, out of touch or incorrect about her statement. Most Americans DO want the assault weapons ban reestablished and I, for one, will be calling and writing my East Coast senators and representatives to let them know that I want them to support it.

    As for Feinstein calling that little crud Cruz out on his nonsense: it's about time. The way that freshman tea party hacks have been treating long respected office holders over the past couple of months is nothing short of atrocious and they need to be out in their places.

    March 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Jenn, philadelphia

    The point isn't what we "need". The Constitution isn't about what we need or want. It's about what we're entitled to. I would think Liberals would be okay with that since they're so fond of entitlements.

    March 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. thinkscience

    All those who think there are no limits to the 2nd amendment, go back and read Scalia's opinion in the most recent case. You are wrong. Cruz is just trying to get attention by being like a teenage smart-aleck. Knows a little, thinks he knows everything.

    March 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Skeeve

    "Cruz's argument was respectful, meaningful and highly accurate!"

    BS. 2nd amendment was introduced at a specific time and at specific level of technological development. If all of you want to follow the letter of this amendment then I totally don't mind if Cruz and the rest of gun-totting idiots have a muskets.

    March 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Adam

    Feisnstein, you DESERVE to be patronized. Your obvious uneducated and 2nd amendment destroying agenda gives anyone with an iota of knowledge on the subject of firearms and the 2nd amendment the DUTY to patronize you and make you feel foolish. Americans don't give a hoot about your poor widdle feewings when you're attempting to slash up the Constitution of the United States and tailor it to fit your own personal views. Back the hell off and try earning our respect, and then you'll have people treat you with respect. Until then, you're nothing but an old coot who doesn't understand jack when it comes to our rights.

    The thing that really irritates me to the point of anger is how you are a United States SENATOR, and use your position to further your own personal agenda. That in itself is bad, but then you compound the issue by spreading LIES and DISINFORMATION that ignorant people soak up and take your word for it that you know what you're talking about, when in fact you're freaking CLUELESS. People in your position should be held for lying under oath if you knowingly disseminate falsehoods during political discourse. I sincerely hope you are yanked out of Congress at the next election, because you have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that you are interested in yourself only, and most certainly are not interested in upholding the Constitutional rights of this country.

    March 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. stop-the-whining

    While I respect Feinstein's beliefs, nothing that has been proposed is going to have a positive affect on the criminal intent on committing a crime. Those who believe that the gun control proposals that have been brought forward are displaying their own kind of arrogance – that of telling people what they need to defend themselves.

    March 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. SG

    Presenting libal as an exemption to the first admendment would be like saying murder is a standing exemption to the 2nd Admendment. Feinstein wants whatevery other dictator wants, complete control. You don't need a 20 round clip anymore than you need a Playboy magazine or a beer. Shred one right, shred them all.

    March 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Keith in NJ

    "If she can crumple my GOD given second amendment rights " Civilrightist. what doew God have to do with your second amendment rights. I don't remember God being at the Constitutional convention in1787. Read the Gospel God and guns don't mix. Repeal the second amendment.

    March 15, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Chris wrote:

    Is it that difficult for you libs to hear the core meaning of his message? I guess it's taboo in your book to be a god fearing, country loving, red blooded American patriot these days. God forbid we protect what once made us the greatest nation on earth in the first place huh? Take a good long look at yourselves dems!
    The Christian God teaches you to beat your sword into a plow, go plant some crops, and go feed the poor, the sick and the elderly.

    March 15, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Never Going to Live in CA

    Feinstein has publicly stated she wants all guns banned. I believe the comment was Mr. and Mrs. America, I want you to turn in all of your guns. So obviously lecturing her on the Constitution is pointless as she only supports the parts she likes, not all of it. When are the people of this country going to wake up. The Dems you keep sending to Washington want control of your lives and will use any tradegy or supposedly noble cause to get this. While you may or may not support gun control eventually the Dems will get around to restricting something you do like. Such as food or autos by raising the gas milage for cars until these cannot be produced becasue they do meet the regulations for milage or emissions? Remember the story of the man who said they came for the mentally ill, and I did not speak up. They came for the Jews and I did not speak up. Then they came for me and there was no one to speak up or help me. I believe in the freedom and greatness of America, and I do not need elected citizens holding themselves above the law and telling us what to do. With freedom comes risk. So I guess her point is if we take away the freedoms, we take away the risk.

    March 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Joe The Plumber

    Why answer a disrespectful question? You go girl.

    March 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. beevee

    Senator Feinstein just thought that Ted Cruz was arrogant, I would sayshe should have called him an arrogant a–hole. He probably getting money from the NRA goons to support them in overturning the ban on assulat rifles. Who in a civilized society want such rifles. If they do they are just as bad as Taliban.

    March 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. bor

    Chris, I'll bet you sat back on your red blooded patriot butt with nary a peep when the Patriot Act was enacted.

    March 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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