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. 82ndABNVET

    Britannia, saying that we should only have guns that were made in the 1700s only shows that you are delusional. Should we then go back to the way we communicated in the 1700s as well? That would mean no Facebook, no Twitter, no Internet, no movies, etc. Fair is fair right? Technology has changed. We have grown more advanced. So too have the weapons we use and the forms of communication we use.

    March 15, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  2. JDinHouston

    The thing to remember about Ted McCarthyCruz is that all he knows how to do is lie, smear and attack. The guy ran a dirty campaign and now he's just a dirty senator. Sorry about that.

    March 15, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  3. Nate

    He asked a simple question, which she avoided answering by lecturing him. She IS ignoring the constitution but does not like it to be mentioned. Typical politician: "i know what is best for you, shut up and do it my way!" 😉

    March 15, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. uncdig

    poor baby got her feelings hurt – time to find a new job

    March 15, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    It's one thing to be patronizing and condescending as one expresses one's opinions. It's something else to do it while reciting false facts, for whatever reason. Cruz is either or totally or willfully ignorant fo the facts.surrounding the 2nd Amendment. He seems to think that his opinion is law, and seems hell bent to make it so.

    Sen. Feinstein was overly generous with the manners inside of the hearing, probably because she was so shocked at what she was hearing. Feinstein became mayor of San Francisco as a result of gun violence when Cruz was 7years old, still discovering all of the different flavors of Cheerios. We can hope for his apology, but don't expect one.

    March 15, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. Oakspar77777

    She put forward childish legislation and was called out on it.

    If she felt patronized as a child, well, that is because she has been acting like one.

    Her bills are famous for their lack of understanding and choose specific guns to ban, not on their abilities, but on their appearances from pictures.

    Cruz's point was simple and succinct – no one would consider such limitations on any other freedom in the Bill of Rights, so why should they be tollerated for the 2nd?

    That her only arguement was to take umbridge at the affrontery and then make an emotional rant about the casualities (including, once again, using slain children to grotesquely push her anti-freedom agenda) is very telling.

    March 15, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  7. Mike

    Feinstein is the epitome of the politician who passes laws that other must abide by but exempts herself and others in government from those same laws. Insider trading exemptions for members of our government has made many a rich politician – you and I would be in jail for the same activity. 1984 is alive and well. The arrogance on both sides of the aisle and the sheep that blindly regurgitate the party line have led us to where we are today.

    March 15, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  8. Oakspar77777

    Feinstein put forward a childish bill and was called on it. Then she through a tantrum.

    Cruz's point stands – if such limitations would not be tollerated on any other freedom in the BoR, then it shouldn't be tollerated on the 2nd.

    March 15, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. Sagebrush Shorty

    Feinstein is precisely the type of politician envisioned by the second amendment. She is the arrogant and condescending one. I wonder if she and her husband still have their carry permits.

    March 15, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. chill

    Ted Cruz is full of his own press releases. He ought to grow up. He should express his views and press for his agenda, but it's immature to ascribe motives to others just because their life experiences lead them to a different view than yours. We finally get rid of DeMint and we have this to deal with.

    March 15, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. Phil

    Are there any men left in california? Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi, Waters et al. A bunch of old Leftist crones.

    March 15, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  12. Ray Brown

    The way I look at it after the Grim Reaper sets up his "death budget" he adds less than a third of the total for Republican's token "criminals" neglecting the fact that most mass killers weren't "criminals" until they pulled the trigger and even then they probably had mental problems as do all murderers.

    March 15, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  13. Rudy NYC


    Feinstein is the epitome of the politician who passes laws that other must abide by but exempts herself and others in government from those same laws. Insider trading exemptions for members of our government has made many a rich politician – you and I would be in jail for the same activity.
    The insider trading exemption for members of Congress was put in place by conservatives. Most of the stuff that the right wing complains about nowadays exists because of their past legislation and policies. For example, why did George W. Bush inflate the size of government during his adminstration, nearly doubling the size of the federal work force. I think it was done it to keep unemployment low as 8 million manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas between 2001 and 2009, so that no one would take notice of it.

    March 15, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  14. John in Columbus

    She got what she deserved. I am glad that Senator Cruz showed her no respect, she gives none and deserves none. She only respects the almighty dollar and her arrogance.

    March 15, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  15. Blue Dog


    Yes, we have new technologies in all fields like communication, internet, but we alos have regulations and laws catching up with their misuse. Why would things be different with newer weapons?

    March 15, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  16. Michael

    Hold on Diane; you are dealing with a texas teabagger so you got to know up front they are not only arrogant but dumb.

    March 15, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  17. Manuel J.

    Feinstein claims others are bullying but conveniently fails to looks in the mirror. She has no interest in doing justice or fixing the problem. Her only focus is to dismantle the 2nd Amendment. Shame on her for trying AND shame on those of you who allow her this stage!

    March 15, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. Blue Dog

    2nd amendment talks about weapons for well-regulated militia. That's the time we did not have our own armed forces. So, the forefathers put in this to protect the country against a foreign invasion. There is no talk about hunting or weapons for fun. They had the wisdom to put 'regulated' in the amendment to give government elected by the people right to control the weapons.
    What part of regulated does the gun lobby not get?

    March 15, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  19. Barb

    Sorry, Feinstein, I'm a Liberal and I'm for strict background checks for all sales (which happens in most places. anyway), I'm not against registering all guns. I am against this bill, though. Not because it's banning only certain guns, but because it's banning guns that aren't often used in violent crimes. You won't touch on the real issues, so banning any guns isn't going to help. Not in the U.S., anyway.

    March 15, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. v_mag

    Cruz is a rank amateur. He only got to the Senate 2 months ago, and he's already shooting his mouth off. People think he's a Texan, but he's not. He's not even an American. The joker was born in Canada. As for how he'll treat the people who elected him, his name should probably be Doble Cruz.

    March 15, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  21. plain&simple

    All I hear from the haters discribes anarchy!!!

    March 15, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  22. Anonymous

    While you may not agree with Dianne Feinstein, you at least show her the respect she has earned as a 20 year senator. The party elders need to pull Ted Cruz aside again and tell him to quit showboating before he sinks what is remaining of their already severely damaged reputation. He is yet another political embarrassment we have from Texas, a carpetbagger of Cuban decent, who never clarifies that with the Hispanic voter, and never mentions he wasn't born in the USA, but is a Canadian by birth.

    March 15, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  23. Debulator

    If you can't take the heat Dianne get out of the kitchen.

    March 15, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  24. evan

    What -- The GOP is actually TRYING to lose any support from women they could possibly get? are going about things in a ridiculously STUPID way.

    March 15, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  25. HistProf

    Let's see, the weapon of choice for 'militia' purposes when the Bill of Rights was adopted was not the slow firing, expensive, relatively difficult to use and expensive to supply hunting rifle, but rather the rapid firing, affordable, easy to use, and inexpensive to supply muzzle loading smoothbore used by that period's infantry. By all means let's go back to the 19th C definition of the term and leave modern sporting rifles alone. Then perhaps we could get serious about the economic, social, cultural, and pharmaceutical contributions to violence and make some real progress in reducing it.

    March 15, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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