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. Phi Thomas

    You made this bed Diane now you get to lay down and sleep in it, if they Dem's really wanted this filibuster reform was the only way to get this and other things done. You chose to keep up the status quo and for that please shut up and don't bring up any of this other stuff because its pointless in the moment of truth you buckled

    March 15, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. yem

    Would Ted Cruz have spoken so luxuriously about constitutional rights being eroded by banning or restricting assault weapons, if his six year old son/daughter was blasted by assault automatic weapon as that child sat at school ? When I think of those children months later, I still cry. Is twenty children not enough to make us change laws? Ted Cruz you owe it to those children to make changes.

    March 15, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. klingonj


    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.

    Stan – she states bazooka for the same reason you state they are taking away guns when thats not true. its a straw man arguement to distract. more dancing bear nonsense.

    March 15, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Ellen

    If sticking up for the Constitution is arrogant (over a senator who acts as if she knows better for you and I than we do ourselves), then I'm as arrogant as they come.

    March 15, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let me see, we have spent two decades in Iraq and Afghanistan trying to DISARM their citizens and TAKE AWAY their guns but its a CRIME to take away deadly assault weapons from Americans in an effort to make our communities safer??? Shouldn't the Iraqis and the Afghans have the right to bear arms to defend themselves and families from breakings too? Just the irony of conservatives in America.

    March 15, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Rudy NYC


    ""Almost any firearm"? That is totally false. The bill lists nearly 1500 makes and models of weapons that are specifically excluded. The AR-15 isn't one of them. It's on the list of roughly 500 that are specifically included."

    Hint: If it has to be written in such as way that 1,500 models need to be specifically excluded, then it's written too broadly. This should be common sense.
    It is common sense. Weapons manufacturers can create weapons that do not meet the law, and would therefore be excluded. The bill is written that way it is prevent that from occuring, which was the major flaw in the expired weapons ban.

    March 15, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. yardi

    all comment are a bunch of bull dog republicans

    March 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. gg

    Cruz is not only arrogant, he is, of course, completely wrong. But then, what would you expect from a hard-core neo-fascist.

    March 15, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. angryoldguy

    Sad proof that Blood Lust will trump intelligence every time. Mankind is doomed to extinction by his own hand. Truth.

    March 15, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Finrod

    Dianne Feinstein calling another Senator arrogant? Pot, kettle, black.

    March 15, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Drake

    Cruz doesn't care about the constitution. He just wants to climb the political ladder and get rich off the backs of the working class. That's why the Republicans love him so much.

    March 15, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    She should have laughed at the peewee Herman look a like and anchor baby from Canada . The goofball Cruz from Texas should be recalled because of his incompetentence. The guys a national disgrace along with the rest of the gop teabag garbage!!!!

    March 15, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Matt

    What is all this talk about what an American needs? It's not called the Bill of Needs, it's the Bill of Rights. How much freedom of speech do you need? How much freedom of religion do you need? How much free press is too much? See how silly this way of thinking is?

    March 15, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. enuff

    You "gun rights" people also are the first ones to start screaming about the same type of guns being smuggled into Mexico and demanding the government stop it. Are you the same people who also complain about Iran developing nuclear technology? You say we have the right for anything. Ms Feinstein actually SAW victims of someone who could notcontol their impulses with a gun. And Cruz decided that he could be condescending because he's from Texas, he shoots guns, and what would a woman (aka democrat) know about big, bad firearms.

    March 15, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. PatheticCNN

    She is right. Dianne Feinstein is not a sixth grader. She is rather Kindergarten Dropout.

    March 15, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. julie

    ........are there any half-way decent politicians TX at all......................I realize decent politician is an oxymoron, but nonetheless TX politicians seem to be a bit– well koo koo

    March 15, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Perhaps we should lift sanctions against NK and Iran. After all, their constitution call for them to have nukes and our constitution did not.

    March 15, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Obahtr

    Poor Dems, did somebody step on your toes? Boo hoo!

    March 15, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Matt

    Still waiting for a liberal to post a coherent thought not based entirely on emotion.....

    March 15, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. manhantiam

    Its a meaningless bill that will do nothing to avert a future Newtown tragedy. Feinstein is simply pandering to her liberal base. Is it true that she packs a pistol?

    March 15, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. ed dugan

    Cruz is from Texas and that says it all. They are still suffering from the Alamo syndrone and no one has told them most of the people who died there were not from Texas.

    March 15, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Matt

    Outcry over handguns and rifles and silence when Obama declares he can use drones to murder US citizens lol. Is Obama not an American like any other American? Drones are under his control same as a handgun is under the control of another citizen. Does he have some sort of divine inspiration where he can be trusted with a weapon of destruction and John Doe can't have a Glock?

    March 15, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Steve

    Still waiting for a reactionary to post a coherent thought not based entirely on fantasy...

    March 15, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Mike

    Beware of politicians that will take away someone else's right for the perceived "greater good". One day, they will take away a right that you believe in and it will be too late. There are mechanisms in place to alter and change the Constitution. Subverting it by creating laws for political purposes in the road to tyranny.

    March 15, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. rs

    Cruz is an idiot. An uneducated one at that.

    March 15, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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