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. Jerry

    Arrogant?! I am not a Republican, but she is the "Queen of Arrogant", particularly if she is unable to always have her way. Reminds me of someone I know that is at the head of the Democratic party (hint, hint). And then she demands to be respected, but is unable to show respect for her colleagues, particularly if they disagree with her; or worst if her colleagues happen to be Republicans!!!

    "Queen of Arrogant", please give América a break!!! This woman definitely needs a chill pill.

    March 14, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. ted

    GOPers are arrogant because the NRA represents votes and they sure dont want to lose votes.

    March 14, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Jessi Hernadez

    What a joke CNN has become, way to tell both side, oh wait you just give Feinstein’s. People want nothing to do (regardless or beliefs) with any so called news agencies that has already made up their mind on who’s sides there on before a story is even researched. I am not D or R, I am neither but you are clearly blinded by the D that you will walk off a cliff for things you would have panicked about with Bush. I/E The NDAA...SOPA...DHS buying 3200 Armored Personnel carriers for the continental US. For what???? Where are the real stories with on biased reporting????I am not here to defend Bush, he is a crook but so is Obama.... come on who cares about party, Right is right and Wrong is wrong.

    March 14, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Catmandew

    At least one Democrat is tryin to do her job. I don't agree with her position but she is tryin to do her job so we gotta give her kudos for that. I do not believe gun control will be constructively addressed at present. It is still to close to the tragedy, it is knee-jerk reaction nothing good can come from not well thought thru laws!

    March 14, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. sad day at the movies

    Hmm, now you know what it feels like to be us when you are at the pulpit Ms. Feinstein.

    March 14, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. OLG

    Maybe Moscone & Milk should have been carrying?

    March 14, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. sqeptiq

    The will of the people will NEVER override the will of the lobbyists. The lobbyists come with money.

    March 14, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Feinstein did not have to apologize to a patronizing and arrogant Tea Party bully like Sen Cruz. If Sen Cruz wants to be a bully, he should be a political talk show entertainer like Limbaugh.

    March 14, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. Facts don't Lie

    Ted Cruz is a loser from Texas tryng to make a name for himself.....we tend to send a lot of losers like him to DC from this state only God knows why. He is getting what he wants though, ATTENTION! Sometimes doing asinine things and saying stupid stuff can get your name in the press. And ticking off senior senators doesn't hurt either. Cruz was quoted as saying he didn't go to DC to make friends.....touche' Senor Cruz!

    March 14, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Lin

    I notice the text of this article doesn't include her full response.

    March 14, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. JecBeanz

    If she felt so patronized – why did she apologize? I watched that debate and I was saddened that she could not answer a direct question – one that was asked several times. Don't fool yourself – this gun debate has nothing to do with guns.

    March 14, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  12. Larry L

    She is absolutely correct. Cruz belongs with the right-wing street-trash in the House rather than in the Senate. He could only be elected in a state dominated by the Tea Party crazies – the Fox News drones who build their ideology on bigotry, greed, and fear. He, like Governor "Ooops" Perry, make me ashamed to be a Texan.

    March 14, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  13. Mike Texoma

    This fellow Cruz is pretrty good at running his mouth.

    March 14, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. Britannia

    I thought this amendment meant the forming of an armed militia to defend people, not allowing every man and his dog to buy any type of gun around. When it was written guns were a very different weapon – perhaps we need to go back to that era, accept that anyone can have a gun, except that it has to have been made in the 1700s!

    March 14, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. elucidated1

    All Feinstein has to do is show examples of what a so called assault weapon bullet does to human flesh compared to a glock. If Americans saw the school shooting scene pictures. . ..they'd have a much different view of the issue at hand.

    March 14, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. RINO Bill

    She certainly doesn't have much respect for another point of view.

    March 14, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. Ed1

    The people are tired of the Government into every part of their lives. I thought our Government is for the people by the people not the other way around like it is now.

    If the people want to ban assault weapons that you say we have and don't then we should be the ones voting for it. Our Government is so out of touch with the people it's not even funny. Just like Obamacare the people didn't want it but you shoved it down our throats and now look at the trillions of dollars this will be costing us and you don't even care that the biggest problem with the Senate now.

    Take this stupid bill and get rid of it you still don't have a clue. I don't care if you are a Republican or Democrat stop trying to make the Government bigger and it might be time for you to find out what a real job is and how you have to spend what you take in instead of wasting our tax dollars.

    March 14, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. nflpsychic

    Not sure which "'Polls" she is referring to? The ones (polls) in ND,SD,MT,ID,IA,WI,TX,AK,AR,NE,OK,ETC,ETC,ETC would beg to differ

    March 14, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. elucidated1

    Some Sandy Hook children were "dismembered" by the gunshots.

    March 14, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  20. thinkergal

    Cruz is an idiot and an embarrassment to the people of Texas. He opens his mouth and changes feet.

    March 14, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. BobInIrvine

    All I want to know from the gun enthusiasts is WHERE THEY WOULD DRAW THE LINE on which weapons should not be legal.

    I've asked this question over and over and none are brave enough to answer honestly.

    March 14, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. bob smith

    keep at it Sen. Cruz. You might make the darth lord of the sith blow a gasket. and the republic will rejoice.

    March 14, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  23. releggneh

    I guess another person got sick of hearing her hypocrisy. She owns a gun, she carries a gun and is guarded by guns, but if she had her choice, she would ban all guns. Not your right Feinstein. The Amendment was written to protect the people from people in govt like yourself. I commend Senator Cruz for treating her like the fool she is.

    March 14, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. SillyWabbit

    Arrogant is an upgrade for that Hispanic In Name Only! I guess he thinks he's earning points with the GOP/Tea by being a total and complete J/A. He's only making a fool of himself. Go ahead, Cruz (HINO). Go yell fire in a theater and see what happens! Or go picket a veteran's funeral and see what happens! What a chucklehead/loser. You'll never win another term....Bubba.

    March 14, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. Leftcoastrocky

    "Cruz said Feinstein's bill would create exceptions to the Second Amendment and asked her if she would favor exemptions to the First Amendment's freedom of speech by denying that right to certain books."

    Cruz has proven that his knowledge of First Amendment law is very limited. The honorable thing for him to do would be to
    turn in his law school diploma and his law license.

    March 14, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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