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. Brad

    Somebody needs to put Cruz in is place...very nice!

    March 15, 2013 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  2. Brad

    Should have been "in his place".

    March 15, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  3. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I hope Feinstein never has to face a person who is about to victimize her! I forget she has security constantly around her unlike the rest of us! She's a fool.

    March 15, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  4. Raj

    I thought that Feinstein was arrogant, not mr Ted Cruz.

    March 15, 2013 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  5. Unreal

    I'd be willing to make a bet that most of these tea party people ranting about constitution this and constitution that, probably couldn't pass a test on the constitution if their life depended on it, or the history behind the constitution.

    March 15, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  6. fiftyfive55

    Another case of the pot calling the kettle black

    March 15, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  7. RonC

    She was very very right about Cruz being arrogant. He talks down to everyone and needs to be slapped around a little bit, no, make that a huge bit.

    March 15, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  8. Drew

    Cruz is a pathetic political hack who has no agenda other than demeaning, ridiculing, accusing and self aggrandizement. His type is rampant in the GOP/teabagger party and follow the same path as McCarthy, Nixon, Bush et all... They want their salaries and kickbacks from us and the corporations and will do anything for publicity and re-election. Real bottom feeders...

    March 15, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  9. Michael

    There will be those that want a stricter ban on what is commonly referred to as Assault Style weapons. There will be shrill cries from people saying that any restriction is but the first move towards elliminating all types of guns or that even stricter, more complete background checks is an attempt to take all firearms away and that it all violates the Second Amendment anyway. So if we want to be truly fundamentalist about it, only non-rifled muzzle loading flintlocks would be allowed. No worries about large magazines, high muzzle velocities or killing power. I have yet to see a rational, well thought out response from "the NRA" (et al) that isn't all emotion and no logic.

    March 15, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  10. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    how many bullets are in her clip, just another waste in an out of control mind is what she is

    March 15, 2013 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  11. topperG

    feinstein doesn't know the difference between a cheese grater and bushmater........

    March 15, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I have a solution. But first and foremost, I agree with Mr. Cruz to a certain extent. I believe that unless congress, the NRA and gun proponents comes up with an agreeable decision to reduce the availability and sales of deadly assault weapons in our communities, I say its time opponents of assault weapons TAKE UP ARMS as the constitution implies to resolve the issue. After all, you can fight fire with fire.

    March 15, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  13. twain45

    Why does Texas keep handing us these little twerps?

    March 15, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  14. Babyboomer

    I watched the exchange between Feinstein and Cruz. He is an arrogant bully and watch the senior senator cut him down to size was a wonderful thing to see. She was what we call where I'm from, "Nice, Nasty". That's when it takes the jerk about 3 minutes to figure out that he's been told to GO TO HELL. Bravo Senator Feinstein.

    March 15, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  15. dennisb

    Ted Cruz is Joe McCarthy II.

    March 15, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  16. Guest

    No Feinstein...we dont want this bill. You fail to address the problem – the criminals – who dont follow any laws and, by the way, dont use "military-style" assault weapons in the majority of their crimes! Stay in Crapifornia and pander to illegals at the expense of your tax paying citizens...thats what you do best.

    March 15, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Here's a message to my liberal friends out there...Let's form an organization similar to the NRA. Let's form a liberal organization and call it ORBAKAO or "OUR RIGHTS TO BEAR ANY KINDS OF ARMS ORGANIZATION. Let's raise funds to purchase any kinds of military weaponry, not for offense purposes but as a means of deterrent. That means we can purchase any kinds of military tanks, fighter jets, bombers, bazookers, rocket launchers and even nuclear missiles. Let's face it, if Americans can possess military type assault weapons for deterrent or self defense, then we can also purchase high tech weaponry of mass destruction for deterrent and self defense. After all, its in the second amendment. Its our unalienable right. lets see what the NRA, the gun proponents in congress and the U.S. Supreme court has to say about that.

    March 15, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  18. Belinda Higgins

    Cruz was incredibly disrespectful and arrogant. He is a young man who has a lot to learn. First he should recognize that Senator Feinstein is highly respected and quite experienced. Lecturing her as if she were simply a six grade girl is not only arrogant and disrespectful, but also demonstrates his fundamental lack of common manners. His statements to Sen Feinstein, and others he has made in recent sessions, shows his belief in extreme right-wing idealogy. He may represent Texas, but he does not represent the American ideal.

    March 15, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. Cooper

    Feinstein was exactly correct in doing what she did, sorry she felt the need to apologize. Cruz is just another one term tea partier that will have to be weeded out at the next election. Gov Pence of Indiana is another one.

    March 15, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Calling all Americans, calling all Americans...if you want to sign up for our "Rights To bear Any Kinds Of Arms Organization, please check yes or no below.

    Yes------– / No---------

    And if our military turns down our offer to purchase hight tech weaponry, let's write to our representative in congres, sue the military or take up our matter with the U.S. Supreme court. After all, the second amendment authorizes all Americans to bear any kind of weaponry with a TRIGGER and AMUNITION.

    March 15, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  21. mommytwice

    a Republican...arrogant?? What?? Never heard of such a thing.

    March 15, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  22. John Brown

    Feinstein did not have the guts to answer his questions. He ask about the 1st and 4th admendments being dealt with in the same light as she wants on the 2nd admendment.

    March 15, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  23. vthokie408

    The people DON'T want it, and nobody cares about her lame history with firearms. We all have our "dramatic" pasts, of which everybody believes theirs is more dramatic than all others. Talk about arrogant.

    March 15, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  24. John Brown

    I thought Ted Cruz ask a very good question. What seems to be the problem? Can't she give him an answer to his question? One up for Senator Cruz.

    March 15, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  25. Greg H

    Where in this article does the author quote Sen. Cruz? What did he say that got Feinstein so lathered up? This is lousy reporting, plain & simple. The fact was that Cruz was asking how Feinstein's bill is in conflict with the 2nd amendment and she didn't like being cornered on facts. Hence, she did what liberals tend to do when cornered that way. Strike out with emotional rhetoric. Seems like Sen Cruz got Diane to do just that.

    March 15, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
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