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. James Charlotte, NC

    These Billary supporters are hilarious. The Clinton's have had five straight days of bad news and are all of a sudden they're coming out the woodworks to try and "payback" Obama. I'll compare it for you, Bill SAYING the Jesse Jackson comment vs. Obama MAYBE snubbing Hillary. People on here are trying to decipher a picture and a video with NO audio. This is embarrasing. Let the Hillary supporters blow up these two blog stories. They have to vent about their horrible week somewhere.

    January 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Ellie

    What a joke – if this non incident turns out to be a big issue, the US will be a total laughing stock. To all those amatuer psychologists saying this is a true indication of character, I say, as someone with two psychology degrees – GROW UP.

    Is this the clinton news network or CNN, a former respected international news network?

    January 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. J.K.

    Obama may or may not have subbed Hillary. In either case, this is another example of the dumbing down of America. OR maybe the media feeds us stories like this because they know we're already dumb.

    The news of the day is the failing US economy, Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama, the upcoming Republican vote in Florida. These things will be mentioned–yes, but watch the media devote 70% of their television coverage this supposed little catfight which noone can even verify.

    January 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. george

    We need a grown-up to be president. What Obama did is not something that a mature civil grown-up would do. People, no matter how beautifully he talks, at the end, it is what he does is the most important.

    January 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. TJ

    Hey Obama 08

    Why would she anything about him snubbing her. No matter what she says it will somehow be used against her.

    January 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Newburgh, IN Man


    OK, someone help me here…why is this newsworthy?



    He is asking to be hired for the position of A WORLD LEADER...

    ETIQUETTE 101, Be gracious in both VICTORY & DEFEAT!!!

    This was a missed OPPORTUNITY for HIM to show STATESMANSHIP


    HE Need to OWN UP TO IT


    … ETIQUETTE 101

    January 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. stan pitts pa

    geez with the level of discussion on these blogs you would think hrc supporters are teenegers on the computer, with nothing to do!

    January 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Carl the Jackal

    I honestly believe that Obama will lead this world into the apocolypse. You can put this one away for the archives. The world will not survive with this guy or any democrat in office. The white horse is fast approaching and Obama is riding.

    January 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Laughing

    Such thin skinned responses from the Obama supporters, well at least you have something in common with him. Oh and another "explanation" from Obama to explain it all away. I think I need a nap after I finish crying over the fact Hillary was snubbed by the likes of Obama of course WHATEVER! Super Tuesday is just around the corner, what fun!

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. adriane

    Supporting Hillary and her 10,000 legal scandals with which you could probably fill a whole library? Besides, those of you who are dying for a handshake, just wait and see it happening before or after the upcoming debate, all of this is pure nonsense!

    January 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Chris

    Even if Obama is not telling the truth here, this does not compare to the covering ups of Hillary.

    January 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Oval Nowhere

    Here's the latest poll:

    97.7% of the responses here, whether pro- or anti-Obama or pro- or anti-Clinton, are inane and childish. Y'all sound like a bunch of drunken yahoos spilling out of a barroom. Nothing of what you say matters. Tearing down the candidate you don't like won't help the one you do. No wonder people like George Bush get elected!

    January 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Joyce

    Of course Obama isn't going to admit that he was too lame to greet Hillary. Weak, very weak. He was sitting with his new best friend forever, Ted Kennedy; he could have afforded to be gracious, but no. Too immature!

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Doug Allen

    I've never voted for a Republican Presidential candidate in my 60 years. However, if the Democrats place Obama's name on November's ballot, I will vote for this year's Republican candidate regardless of who they run.

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. King

    I belive that CNN should better come out clear, and declear war agaist Oboma. As we can see from the way they report , it is clear that you are not for Obama presidency. Mr CNN.

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Ron, TX

    I'm glad CNN had the integrity to post this other angle of the "incident"

    It's quite clear he wasn't "snubbing" anyone, just talking to another senator.

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Linda Kilcrease

    Obama did snub Hillary. Everyone around him shook her hand and Senator Kennedy talked to her as he reached across Obama. Obama was very un-presidential acting immature like in high school.

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Cindy Jacob

    If Obama isn't cordial enough to look Hillary in the face after his windfall endorsement, how in the world is he going to be able to interact with political leaders all across the globe who most definitely will not share his same points of view?

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. will ivy

    The democratic parties need to realise that there are plenty of americans of all colors, and races tired of the hard ball finger pointers. there is a new generation of Americans the baby boomers are on there way out , and we are tired of the racial card being brough up everytime someone wants the minority Vote. i am an African American By the way.

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Dena

    Oh my goodness, I have $8.76 in my checking to last until Friday! Should I buy 3 gallons of gas OR some lunch meat and bread. I wish CNN would quit reporting on useless information.

    January 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. joe

    I am a Hillary supporter and always will be. But I don't think this is an issue. I am surprised that CNN runs anything negative on their favored prophet/cult leader though!

    If he snubbed her - she doesn't give a crap and it's his childish problem, if he didn't, the press is once again desperate for anything.

    January 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Ayo

    Finally, Hollywood tabloid has gotten to washington DC. What a shame!!!

    January 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Marcelo

    I think this is one of the dumbest articles I have ever read.

    For those Obama bashers out there, did Hillary tap him on the shoulder to greet him? No. So, please stop grasping straws here. You're candidate is just having a rough week and Obama is having a good one. She's still very far ahead in the polls for the Super Tuesday States... so please stop whining.

    January 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Jim ( Independent )

    You Clinto supporter are to funny..........LOL...........Hillary didn't even stay in the same state when Obama won South Carolina . Besides Hillary is hard to look at...........LOL.

    January 29, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. John ny, ny

    looks like a snub, is a snub however Obama says it wasn't. Isn't there some trend with this guy. He does something then he says that is not what it was.

    January 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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