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. Calf. Gal

    This woman is such a HYPOCRITE!!!!! She was carrying her very own gun when she was trying to to confiscate all handguns in San Francisco.

    What this country needs is more Senator Cruz's and less Senator Feinstein's.

    March 15, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. trumpisgodly

    cruuuuuuuuuuuuz.....cruz da cruz man!!!!!!!

    March 15, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Scare The Pilgrims

    Psychological Warfare Via- Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Sarah Brady, Bill Clinton , 1st – Bill Clinton- "I feel your pain" ,,yeah, like hell he did. Slick Willy with a schmooze line of crap and a bunch of wimps and whiners believed him. Then came all this garbage from Feinstein. Psychological Warfare works ! its why these slime balls use it. Scare The Pilgrims- tell them AK-47's are meat grinders, Tell Them Marijuana IS GOOD ! un less you hate the idea of Black Lungs and the idea of running a mile makes you sick. .. To each his own in the U.S.A. , I Thank Mother Nature Fishing Season is just 2 weeks AWAY ! ___________________ ______________ _________________ _____________________ ______________ ___________ _________ _____ _____________ _____________ <-<-<- ALL anti-fishing / fish cruelty by humans must be outlawed enter nonsensical gibberish here .

    March 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. carlos

    And there are limits to the 2nd amendment. You can't use your guns to commit crimes or to do anything that would limit the rights of others. The guns are not the problem. Crime and violence are the problem, same as with freedom of speach. Words are not the problem, but misusing them via libel, slander, threats are...

    March 15, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. carlos

    What is wrong with that lady?

    March 15, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Scare The Pilgrims

    The NRA Will Never Be Beat By Cnn or Anyone like you. Its why you backed off the Coverage as promised at the beginning of your show today , Wayne Lapierre at CPAC. Not 1 Glimmer of Wayne on the screen of my TV,, scares you don't it .

    March 15, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. carlos

    In the photo, she is either showing the depth of her knowledge on anything, or just the size of Sen. Cruz package.

    March 15, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. fastphil

    This who debate is strictly a political one and an assault gun ban will do little to deter killing. When someone wants to kill someone they will-especially when they don't particularly care whether they survive or not. It doesn't have to be an assault weapon or even a gun. The outrage about this is just a little tiring and I don't even own a gun or belong to the NRA. But I will make you a deal. I will go for the assault gun ban if you will go for bringing back Prohibition as one hell of a lot more people our killed by alcohol every year in this country than they are by assault weapons. We should also ban cell phones, newspapers, e-readers, knives, bow and arrows, cupcakes etc because these have also been used to kill people. The method may be different but the result is the same. It is the behavior that is at issue.

    March 15, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Tacpilot

    As a retired Military Officer, having served in two wars, and around weapons (guns) most of my adult life, I would like to post a few thoughts:
    1. Not once during my military career and life thereafter, have I ever witnessed a weapon firing without someone pulling the trigger.
    2. Since the school shootings, not once has my loaded AR 15 discharged by itself, loaded with a 30 round clip.
    3. I would never take the commercial AR 15 in to a fight, it is not made for it nor will it stand up to continuous firing. The bolt overheats and jams……
    4. Why I use an AR 15, at my age, I do not have the control over a pistol I once had. With the AR 15, and the extra hand rail, I have better control. And since I have added a green laser, helps with aiming.
    5. Want to end gun violence, punish the people that commit crimes. Seems we have more compassion for the criminals than the victims.
    6. Want to end gun violence, enforce the laws we have on the books.
    Just a few of my thoughts.

    March 15, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Scare The Pilgrims

    Freedom Haters Hate Freedom – Mine -Yours -Every living breathing American on Earth.Except Obama/Biden/Hillary

    March 15, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Scare The Pilgrims

    Take a lesson from FOX while you still have a program..kill these boards which prove your 94.72 % WRONG about everything you cover

    March 15, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Annie

    Ted Cruz is the guy who says he knows the UN is trying to destroy all Golf Courses!!! LOL!! Smart, Hell No I dont think so. He is a right wing nutcase.

    March 15, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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