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. Future

    Feinstein is one of the most liberal senators... Her husband was a investor in the Current TV network that sold out to AlJezzera, the Arab owners to spread their message in America. Get real , these liberals will take all of our rights before they are thru. These gun laws will have zero effect on crimes or mass murders.

    March 14, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. blue dog

    Good going senator. Kudos to you.

    March 14, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  3. norma jean

    Senator Feinstein thought Ted Cruz was a "little arrogant" is his remarks to her......... Frankly....I thought he was not only arrogant but very unprofessional...considering that he must have known the Senator has many years of work in the political arena...he was being a smart mouth and ended up with his foot in his moiuth because he acomplished nothing except making himself look out of line!

    March 14, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. PJ

    Senator Feinstein in no way owed Ted Cruz an apology. He is the one who should apologize to her and to the
    people of Texas for his outrageous behavior since becoming a Senator. He is not only arrogant, he is
    condescending and pretentious. He bleeds tea, and will be one of the most irritating people to hit Washington.
    Maybe the Tea Party of Texas thinks he serves them well, but he does not.
    I saw this 'exchange' and he has nothing to be proud of.

    March 14, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. marty

    Mr Cruz, please resign.

    March 14, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. William

    I don't want this bill you old hack, half of America does not. But just like the election the majority wins you think. she should quit acting like a 6th grader....she is not even Ivy League. Just a bag of old dinosaur bones.

    March 14, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. kmac

    Ted listens to Rush daily and feels he is smarter than the rest of the world. Sorry from a Texan–the guy is an a whole from the word go. If you look up the definition it says Ted Cruz. He is a lier cheat and a thief.. He knows no decenticy what so ever and has no respect for anyone. Shows what kind of people we are.

    March 14, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Ted Cruz is such an arrogant wimp . Every era has a Joe McCarthy . Unfortunately the Tea Party has brought us more then one.

    Ted Cruz , Rand Paul . Darrell Issa ,Louie Gohmert , Michele Bachmann , they all think of themselves as American Patriot reformers .

    Sadly they impede rational thought and progress .

    March 14, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. kmac

    Teds claim to fame is memorization of the Const when in high school–no one has ever done that before its in world record books.

    March 14, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. Feinstein is a traitor

    Sen.Cruz put that vile pig back in its pen. People who trip over their words and can't give a straight answer are liars plain and simple.

    March 14, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. BeverlyNC

    Cruz, a junior Senator, is a Republican extremist who likes to hear himself talk about his extremist and non-workable ideas. He is arrogant, totally clueless of the issues facing the American people and our nation , and worst does not care. He is power-hungry and only represents himself. He will fall as fast as he rose. People spot a fraud and get rid of them.
    Those who stand with the NRA leadership will go down with them. ALL groups of the American People want strict background checks, the end of assault weapons access by the public and many support a national registry of guns so law enforcement can track guns to owners in crimes – just like it does with fingerprints, DNA, driver license, and criminal record databases. If we want to end gun violence we need to know who has the guns.
    Time to take out disrespectful, do-nothing Republicans who ignore the People and work as corporate puppets.
    Feinstein is working for the People. That is what statesmen do!

    March 14, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Gem

    A lady that genuinely shows she's representing the people. Where as the TX Rep. is just a talking head. I like her - and I hope she succeeds in her endeavor. I can only imagine what a frustrating uphill battle, no doubt....

    March 14, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. Bob

    As a freshman Senator who's been in office all of a couple of months, Ted Cruz apparently needs to be taught a lesson in respect and humility. Let's hope he takes it to heart - but I wouldn't count on it. He seems to have his sights set on becoming the next Joseph McCarthy, as if one Joe McCarthy wasn't already one too many.

    March 14, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  14. Bob

    Ted Cruz is a disgrace to Texas! I hope texas sends him home. Texas needs a team player. He has away of irrating the people that he should be working with.

    March 14, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Stan

    Why do anti-gun politicians always throw out terms like "bazooka" when they talk about gun bans and what legal gun owners actually own. I have never had a desire to own a bazooka, nor any of my other friends who own guns. And why is Senator Feinstein "sticking her finger" in a gun shot wound? Did she think she was going to stop the bleeding? I think she as others are going a little over the top to gain the sympathy of the public.

    March 14, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  16. danny

    diane baby, doing what the polls want, not what's legal nor what is right.

    You're a complete fool.

    Hitler and Stalin used ignorant people like you to ascend to absolute power, ban all weapons and then send 20 million, 30 million, 40 million people to die long, agonizing deaths in concentration camps.

    vote for abortion diane sweetie and keep murdering 1.2 million children a year, but one nut gets loose with a semi-automatic firearm and you come charging forward to save the world.

    save us your crocodile tears dearie, retire before they vote you out (it's coming) and go pick almonds

    March 14, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. Loathstheright

    And of course she was right.

    March 14, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. HenryMiller

    This woman basically accuses 100 million American gun owners of being potential-to-probable insane murderers and/or irresponsible, childish, fools, and then has a hissy fit because Cruz disagrees with her?

    And, by the way, the Constitution doesn't require anyone to prove to Diane Feinstein that they "need" a gun. Obviously, in her "study" of the Constitution, she missed that point–or is deliberately ignoring it.

    March 14, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  19. becky

    Is she really surprised by this man's arrogance. Sen. Cruz does not care to hear what others have to say. It is always his way, his interpretation, etc, that is correct. He does not need to lecture to his fellow Senators. Perhaps Sen. McConnell did not share the rules of the Senate. Isn't that the Majority or Minority Leaders job?

    March 14, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. enuff

    Cruz comes across as being very arrogant. He needs to realize that he is there to represent his constituents, not just his views.

    March 14, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  21. brd893

    It is about time that someone di put this guy in his place. His condescending disrespect to Senator Feinstein a woman who has had a distinguished political tells us that elected office is gone to the 'dogs' like Ted Cruz. Until the media begins to take him down fro this bombastic pedestal he has placed himself on we will continue to hear his pompous rhetoric.
    He may soon be past his sell by date.

    March 14, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  22. Mitzymoon

    Ted Cruz's lack of knowledge about our constitution is breathtaking. That he is supposedly Harvard educated begs credulity. Where are his transcripts?

    March 14, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  23. Tyrel T

    Finally someone I agree with-Who cares about the two corrupt parties. I can say being a Democrat we have been kind of giving Obama a pass. I trust him but man I do question what if bush did this stuff???

    March 14, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  24. wiseone

    The gun lobby is powerful. Fueled by mega-millions and greed. It doesn't matter who or how many die from gun violence, the focus is always $$$. Actually if you don't belong to a militia, you don't have a 'Right To Bear Arms'. read the 2nd Amendment sometimes!!

    March 14, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  25. kaydevo

    She certainly doesn't need to apologize. Cruz was (and always seems to be) arrogant and condescending.

    March 14, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
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