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. ak_steve

    Good for Feinstein. The far right arrogant uneducated inexperienced tyrants of the GOP who clearly see a black and white world do not live in reality and are not in line with the majority of Americans.

    If the second amendment means any thing goes, like the arrogant Sen. Cruz is suggesting then I want a bazooka. It is my right. My God given 2nd amendment right. A bazooka please. If not your infringing on my rights to be an idiot.

    March 14, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. rickinmo

    Republicans have been bought and paid for by the NRA and gun lobby. There is no other conclusion unless you use conservative logic. How can such a conservative group have such a liberal interpretation of the Constitution?

    March 14, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  3. JB

    Someone arguing that they know what all of America needs, how many rounds people need to defend themselves, etc. is calling another person arrogant?

    March 14, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  4. Manny D

    It's about time somebody put the novice Ted Cruz in his place. He comes across as unschooled in etiquettes as he cow tow to the Tea Party that have him in their pocket as a whipping senator. Go Senator Feinstein........

    March 14, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Paul Williamson

    Diane is worth 10 of this arrogant, ignorant Tea Bagger from Calgary..

    March 14, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. Diane

    Hang in there senator.....we do want gun control and we want it now. Common sense makes sense. As you said over 2,000 guns are exempt from your bill and as you said how many do they need???????

    March 15, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  7. Sam

    From what I've been seeing of Senator Cruz's behavior, including his inflammatory remarks during the nominations of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, I'd say Feinstein's characterization of her colleague is a major understatement. Cruz joins the ranks of worthless, incompetent, corrupt and arrogant senators like Joseph McCarthy, Jessie Helms, Rick Santorum, and Jim DeMint. You have to be a real jerk to be as bad as these guys, and Cruz is proving he is.

    March 15, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  8. Dennis

    Really, Boy I'm Glad! You go Ted Cruz! It's about time someone stood up to her!

    March 15, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Keep standing up, Senator Feinstein! The Repubs are a bunch of whiny children who stamp their feet and cry and bully to get their way.

    Let's shut the GOP down in 2014, folks, and vote them ALL out of office!

    March 15, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Children at Sandy Hook were dismembered ... children at Sandy Hook were dismembered ...

    As horrible as it sounds to suggest it, but perhaps photos of those children should be released so that all these tiny-parts gun owners can get a look at what these weapons do to the human body.

    Maybe then they'll begin to understand why there is a need to ban military-style weapons and high capacity magazines and close the loopholes that allow unlimited purchases at gun shows without background checks.

    March 15, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  11. Roger

    Feinstein thinks Cruz is arrogant? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. So she was a mayor for 9 years. Big deal. How does that mean she knows anything about guns in general other than her chicken little emotional responses?

    Does she really think that a ban an "assault weapons" is going to have a serious impact on crime rates? If that be the case, I have a used car she might be interested in.

    March 15, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  12. Glenn Rice

    The 2nd ammendment does not provide for a private citizens' right to own and bear firearms. It deals with militias in an era when they were the states' armies. Stretching it to cover private ownership has always been flawed and will probably be reversed one day.

    March 15, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  13. Roger

    "The legislation was prompted by December's school shootings in Connecticut"

    What a crock. The Wicked Witch of the West has been trying to sell this legislation for 20 years. We tried it for 10 years and guess what, it didn't do a damned thing to reduce violence. Prohibition didn't work, the war on drugs is a dismal failure and to expect any kind of change in the crime rates based on this red herring is the heighth of insanity.

    March 15, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. ronjayaz

    Isnt Ted Cruz a T-partier? What do U expect, Diane. U go, girl!

    March 15, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  15. jeff george

    Cruz was a jerk. Remember, this is the same genius who previously fell for a fake story about Chuck Hagel. He says the Second Amendment talks about the right of the people not being infringed, but didn't bother mentioning which "well-regulated militia" he's a member of.

    March 15, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. Jeff

    "Feinstein angrily replied, "I'm not a sixth grader.""

    No, you just think like one.

    March 15, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  17. John from CA

    I live in California, and I do NOT share the views of Sen. Fienstein. She came off as a cantankerous, rude, old lady who is completely out of touch with the issue at hand: the fact that no one has the RIGHT to decide what someone else "Needs". To say "Do the american people need these weapons? I say no", what she is really saying in that 'I am smarter than you and you don't know what you are talking about, you cant make decisions on your own, and the federal government knows whats best for you". The second amendment is a written agreement between the people of the United States and the Government so many people fought, died, and bled to create and preserve. any attempt to change or nullify that agreement is an act of bad faith on the part of the Government. Period.

    And for the record, Sen Fienstein embarrassed herself, and the state of California with her ridiculous and unwarranted temper tantrum. "I've been here a long time"...yes you have Mrs. Fienstien, yes you have. now please go away.

    P.S. To all democratic senators and lawmakers (Bloomberg, that meant you), if you all truly feel that 'most' Americans are for gun control and that 'most people' want this bill, tell ya what: Lets hold the popular vote tomorrow! I'll bet i know who will win. And THAT is how democracy works, MADAM SENATOR!

    March 15, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  18. manhantiam

    Mascone and Milk were killed by White using a pistol not an assault rifle.

    March 15, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  19. Brendan

    If by arrogant she means accurately describing the state of the law then sure. I encourage everyone to watch the video. He asked her a simply question and she responded with a childish answer about how she's not a sixth grader. If you still don't know that bullets neither "implode" or "explode" after 20 years of working on the issue then maybe her fellow Senators should start wondering.

    March 15, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  20. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Wow, a Republican that was condescending and arrogant when talking to a female. That may be the first time in history that has ever happened. Republicans are the party of inclusion. Look at the plethora of Latino, Oriental, African American and female persons that are Republicans. It must be up to ten percent of the Republican Party. Next thing you know there will be Republicans guest starring on "Duck Commander" or "Wild West Alaska".

    No, wait a minute. Rednecks and gun nuts really are the Republican Base. They might actually end up on those shows.

    March 15, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  21. Getoverit

    Awwwww... Someone hurt her little feelings. As a liberal hack, one must assume it's not the first time.

    March 15, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  22. Don't know what he says

    Cruz has made a conscious effort to make a fool of himself to get attention. The ignorant tea party supporter gives the picture of the donkey a whole new meaning. Texas is good at producing these people, who usually end up being indicted on some kind of fraud charges. Only in Texas can you be that stupid and still get elected.

    March 15, 2013 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  23. Logic N LA

    The gun lovers only see their view with no thought of comprimise. Control is not a ban. Background checks have no ill affects on honest, sane people.
    The reaction by most gun owners convince me that most are criminals or insane and worried about what may be found out about them.

    March 15, 2013 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  24. Mike in SA

    She ignores the Constitution on a daily basis. I'm glad Sen Cruz schooled her a bit.

    March 15, 2013 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  25. king

    we are back to the wild wild west folks. these right wingers complain about the government butting into their business and trying to regulate their guns. yet the government is the first one they call and blame when stuff goes goes wrong. yet they forbid the government to do anything to defend them. this sounds like a spoiled child to me. you cant always have your cake and eat it too, sometimes somethiing have to give. when will these right wingers have a glimps of logic, and stop with that emotions that fox news and her affiliates whip up for them.

    March 15, 2013 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
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