Dianne Feinstein: John McCain’s foil

By Laurie Bennett

November 22, 2012 at 8:32am

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is taking advantage of the platform she has as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

She has questioned those investigating former CIA Director David Petraeus, saying the White House should have been informed earlier.

She has criticized those who have declared United Nations Susan Rice unfit to be secretary of State, saying they’re simply playing politics.

And she has challenged the world audience to “see Hamas for what it is, and that is using their own people as human shields.”

Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein

Recently re-elected for the fourth time, Feinstein, has long been one of the most influential voices in the Senate.

In recent days, she has come to represent reason - a juxtaposition to the rants of another Senate veteran, Republican John McCain.

McCain has made the opposition to Rice personal, describing her as “not qualified” and “not very bright” because of her public comments after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Feinstein responded that Rice had relied on unclassified CIA talking points. She also suggested that those who would politicize Rice’s comments should remember the mistakes made before the U.S. entry in Iraq.

She answered McCain’s bluster with the steady calm of one who holds the reins. While McCain vows to filibuster a Rice nomination, Feinstein knows he doesn’t have the needed 40 votes.

It’s a contrast in power, substance and style.

Feinstein is actually McCain’s senior, born three years earlier. She’ll be 80 in June.

She recently celebrated her 20th anniversary as a U.S. senator, a position she assumed after serving 10 years as mayor of San Francisco and waging an unsuccessful campaign for governor of California.

In a city of power couples, she and husband Richard Blum rank in the top echelon.

Blum chairs CBRE Group, the publicly traded real estate company formerly known as CB Richard Ellis Group.

Roll Call ranks Feinstein as the ninth wealthiest member of Congress, with an estimated fortune of more than $45 million.

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