January 29th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: I didn't snub Clinton


The moment: Obama looks toward Sen. Clair McCaskill as Kennedy and Clinton shake hands. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) - It seems a snub is in the eye of the beholder.

The question swirling around Barack Obama Tuesday: did he, or didn’t he, deliberately snub presidential rival Hillary Clinton at the State of the Union speech?

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Illinois senator said all the talk swirling around the moment the two crossed paths Monday night is much ado about nothing. (Watch Obama comment on the moment.)

"I was surprised by sort of the reports this morning," Obama told reporters. "You know there was the photograph in the Times about, sort of, me turning away. I was turning away because [Sen.] Claire [McCaskill] asked me a question as Sen. [Ted] Kennedy was reaching for her."

"Sen. Clinton and I have very cordial relations off the floor and on the floor. I waved at her as we were coming into the Senate chamber before we walked over last night," he continued. "I think that there's just a lot more tea leaf reading going on here than I think people are suggesting."

The moment came at Monday's speech when Clinton headed to shake hands with a congressman seated in front of Obama. CNN's Jessica Yellin reports that Kennedy, seated directly next to Obama, then moved to shake Clinton's hand. As the two senators spoke, Obama turned to look at the back of the room. It was only after Obama turned away, Yellin reports, that McCaskill struck up a conversation with Obama.

McCaskill also commented on the incident Tuesday, calling it "one of those accidents that just happened and got caught on film."

"There was a wave and there was a friendly moment," she said at an Obama campaign press availability. "And I think that, as somebody who watched the whole thing, I was amazed when I woke up this morning and I was part of it, I didn’t even realize. I mean, it was one of those things that all of a sudden it's being blown into something that it frankly just wasn’t."

- CNN's Chris Welch and Alexander Mooney

soundoff (2,059 Responses)
  1. Mary

    I wish he would have snubed her along time ago.
    Grow up America. This is the kind of crap that brought us 8 years of George Bush.
    Obama 08.

    January 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    Armando – Obama has issues with strong women?? Have you ever watched his wife campaign for him? Have you read his book where he talks about his mother? How can you even say something like that?

    January 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Rob

    I would rather go with aObama off of hearing the words hope and Change Vs going on the straight out lies and deception that Clinton talks....I can't believe at the support she gets from women...she can be totally in the wrong and believe me thats been alot lately and some of you females are amzing I can't believe how one sided the sexism is ...its like she can do no wrong just cause she's a woman...I will help put another repulicain in officer before i cast a vote for her....Its not cause she's a women its cause its HIlary Clinton...she's a joke..her supporters are nothing but fanatics who come on this site to spew a bunch of bullcrap

    January 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. JoR

    I am from Missouri. Claire McCaskill is in office not because the Missouri constituents voted for her but voted against Republican Jim Talent. I don't understand why Obama chose an unknown freshman senator to campaign for him. He needs the women's votes but couldn't he get a woman senator with more experience? What is he promising McCaskill?

    President Clinton, you must feel betrayed. You helped campaign for Obama and McCaskill to win their senate seats and look what they are doing to you.

    Hillary 08

    January 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Susan

    It was commented on CNN that he had ignored Senator Clinton more than once.

    Exactly how is he supposed to get everyone united, and work with someone if he defeats her. If you Tivo'd or recorded the address, watch again..she's always around, and he deliberately ignores her more than once.

    One of the cnn analysts gave him the excuse politics as ususal. Not really. You want to be President , act Presidential.

    January 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Devil's Advocate

    Who'd want to shake hands with the devil anyways?

    January 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Aaron

    Hillary supporters must be scarred if they really think this will change the election.

    Is this your Watergate moment you're counting on. Please, there is nothing you can do to stop this movement.

    Get on board, or you're going to be washed away

    Go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. ernest hemmings

    Clinton News Network strikes again. Nice way to distract us from Hillary's faults. Maybe he didn't want to shake her hand. Who cares? Why are Hillary supporters so eager to find SOMETHING wrong with Obama but can't explain thier candidates inability to make changes when she HAD power (i.e. board of Walmart, corporate lawyer, etc..)? Face it, Hillary is a republican war-hawk, her voting record proves that, and you clowns have no sense of truth or history. In fact, I would be willing to gamble that the morons that support her have little to no idea what issues are even on the table or where their candidate stands... but they'll know what Obama ate at 2:57pm. You clowns will destroy the Democratic party for good.

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. i.t.

    oh the speeches of obama. so inspirational... so flowery and pretty. he certainly knows how to delivery a lovely speech! but i think what most people failed to realize is that he has someone else write his speech for him. for those of you who watched the debates, i'm sure you noticed how he's a studdering fool.

    I wonder what a girl gotta do to get my comments posted on CNN....

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. mike

    Obama ,you need to GROW UP ,if you want CHANGE

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Clarence

    It is obvious that both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have the ability to be cordial. This does not mean that everytime a camera is on them they have to act friendly toward one another.

    There are several reasons as to why Obama turned his back. The most obvious to me is that maybe he did not want to throw the endorsement of Ted Kennedy in Senator Clinton's face. If he had shook her hand right after she shook his, the media would have twisted that to make Obama look petulant.

    As others have said...this is just the media trying to make a story where there is none. I'm sure both have their issues with one another but they obviously do not dislike each other to the point of not being able to say hello. The fact of the matter is that none of us saw the ENTIRE scene from when they both entered the building to when they left. As Obama said, they had already greeted one another.

    So please lets stop trying to villify Senator Obama. If Hillary were the frontrunner (with the most delegates) and this had happened many of you would be defending her as Obama supporters are defending him now.

    Lastly, it is obvious that both Clinton and Obama are dynamic characters because their primary race is being covered as if they were celebrities. All these media outlets have turned into the paps chasing them around looking for ways to break them down in front of the world. Both Romney and McCain and even Huckabee wish they were in the public eye as much as the Dem frontrunners are.

    Let them run their campaigns for goodness sake. And remember that if you were in the public eye as much as they were being recorded...I'm sure your ever move would not be flawless.

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Larry, CA

    By the posters on this thread and the other pertaining to this topic. I can cleary see who got crushed in South Carolina and who is getting crushed in this parties election!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Boy the losing side sure reaches when it's going down in a ball of flames.
    Go Hillary a uniter of all (Middle-aged women accross the country).

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. king

    The picture is a story in itself... I am reminded of the scriptures that aks..How can you love me whom you have not seen, if you do not love your neighbor?

    I wonder about diplomacy, negotiation skills, and rapid forgiveness...
    These are essential qualities of a leader.....

    The picture does not reflect either of these, on Obama's behalf

    January 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. mel

    Are you kidding me with this this. We have bigger problems lets talk about them. We should be talking about who realy is in control and who really is calling the shots.

    It's not who we think is.

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. John ny, ny

    Obama is a habitual liar. It is quiet obvious what he did. Picture speaks volumes.

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Nando, Florida

    look out the TEARS are next!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Frank D

    Ha ha ha ha..people are making a mountain out of a molehill...this is childish and ridiclous! Even people with subzero IQ can't reach such a funny conclusion from a mere picture and this incedence.

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. Cheerio

    Has anyone even stopped to actually look at this picture? It seems to show a much different perspective than the other photos that's been circulating. In my opinion, this photo shows clearly just how far away Obama and Clinton were, and that he was indeed talking to Claire McCaskill. The other photo, compared to this, looks completely out of context. Just goes to show you how a photo can distort the "reality." ANyone who knows anything about photography can admit this. Not to mention the other photos was cropped and didn't even show Obama clapping, which made him look conisderably worse.

    It's so obvious from reading this blog that this election has become like a sport to most people. There is no sense of perspective whatsoever...

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. Bob

    So what if he did? She's an evil witch with a disgraceful history who attacked him unfairly in this campaign, and even used her mother, daughter, and rock-star husband in the attacks. If she did that to me, I'd snub her, too. I think she's lucky he didn't bust her in the face.

    January 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Frank D

    Ha ha ha ha..people are making a mountain out of a molehill...this is childish and ridiclous! Even people with subzero IQ can't reach such a funny conclusion from a mere picture and this incidence.

    January 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Dr..M. Mansour


    The Us Must make sure that we are not subject to an oil Emargo in our quest to fight the war againest terrorists. In 1973 we were importing 25% of our oil to fuel Amercia and the embargo was felt in every part of our economy. Now that were attacked at home in 9/11 we must fight the war we found ourselves in. We have benn and contune to finance our enemy that seeks to being us down by importing oil.

    January 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. pat

    i have listen to these two canidates for month now an i come to the conclusion obama has no ideas of his own everything he says he is going to do is almost the same as hillarys only after she has put this information out, health care, troop removel,stimulis packages , forclosers, all his ideas are copyed from her original ideas a few days later, he has nothing new , she has allready addressed them he just copys them. go hillary

    January 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Krish

    This is the guy who talks about bringing people together. It seems to me he cannot even bring people together in his own party. Let us not forget he didn’t have courtesy to congratulate Hillary on her win in NV.

    January 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. LOL

    I'm home today with the flu.
    I started reading some of the blogs here and can't believe how many of you are simple minded "ding-dings".

    This entire article is media hype. It's pure nonsense.

    January 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Nadine Dodson

    I agree with many of the posts here, who cares? Why is this newsworthy? And couldn't the same be said of Sen. Clinton, I don't see any pictures of her reaching out her hand to Sen. Obama.

    January 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83