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

Obama: I didn't snub Clinton

ALT TEXT

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 cap

    A good public speaker does not necessarily mean a good president. yes they can con you basically until you catch them. then what oops.

    That must be obama. Look at his behavior at the state of the union. OMG your dirty linen just showed. by the way, how come cnn is not even pickin up the Rezko story?

    January 29, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. OBAMA 08

    CNN: Why is it you invite comments from the "Gossip" and innuendo stories like this one instead of newsworthy events like the endosements of two fine, independent women who supported a candidate each feels strongly about using neither race nor gender?

    Surely this is an example of what all of our politiical decisions should be based on.

    January 29, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Joel

    I REALLY THOUGHT THAT AMERICANS WERE SENSIBLE. I LAUGH WITH DISGUST AT THE WAY IN WHICH MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE ALLOWED THE MEDIA TI INFLUENCE THEIR LIVES. MEDIA HOUSES WILL ALWAYS FALSIFY STORIES TO SATISFY THE GIULLIBLE NATURE OF THE PUBLIC. AMERICANS WAKE UP OUT OF YOUR SLUMBER. PRESIDENT BUSH USING THE MEDIA LIED TO AMERICANS AND THE WORLD AND THIS IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF LIES BEING PROPAGANDIZED BY THE MEDIA.

    I ACCEPT OBAMA'S WORDS WHICH WERE CURROBERATED BY THOSE IN HIS IMMEDIATE PRESENCE. GET A LIFE AND FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS.

    January 29, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Zylo

    This is not news. Even if he did it, who cares? I wouldn't pay any attention to a liar who is spreading lies about me and destroying a party for selfish reasons. I think she deserves a lot worse. You people make me scared and sad to be an American with so many uneducated with the power to vote.

    315+ million Americans lead by 2 families for over 2 decades? 2 decades of problems and you want a 3rd? What a joke, you are all sheep. Oh and the good parts of the Bill Clinton era were already in the works before he went in.

    January 29, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Niko

    Anyone who bases their vote on this issue should not be allowed in the voting booth. You should also apologize for putting Bush in the white house.

    January 29, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. JAM

    I forgot Obama's word is the word of God; he never lies. We'll just add this to the rest of the things he has tried to twist in his favor.

    The Clintons do their share of lying, but Obama doesn't take a back seat to anyone. I am waiting for the media to admit this.

    January 29, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. ia voter

    This debate is ridiculous. They're in a competition for the presidency and things get tense. Let's think about Clinton pulling out his kindergarten essay on wanting to be president. At least he didn't go to those lengths. Let's get over it America.

    January 29, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. E in WI

    I would have gave her the finger.

    January 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Tom

    Lets get to the real issues like syrian born Tony Rezko. The major news networks fail to realize how big of deal this scandel is. Rezko who has been a major fundraiser and friend to the Obama family for nearly 20 years was arrested yesterday. Its crazy to me how Obama can be friendly with a man who authorities considered a 'Flight risk' because of the his secretive transactions with the middle east. Why is this news not being reported?

    January 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Bob, DC

    The Hillary-philes are so desperate for some dirt on Obama. This is best they have right now. So let them enjoy their few minutes of twisted demented pleasure. Soon the reality of Obama's major wins on Super Tuesday will hit them like a ton of bricks. Cheers!

    January 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Laura 411

    This is for the guy or lady with the screen name Clintonhater...
    Hatred is harsh... sure you don't want to save it for someone like Osama Bin Laden?

    January 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    Mimi January 29, 2008 2:16 pm ET

    We have the video, Liar!
    And don't forget "you are likable enough."

    LOL....nice try!! LOL.....THERE IS NO VIDEO! You HRC supporters are so DESPERATE to create something negative about Obama....geez!! Grab hold of yourselves! This moment was EXCLUSIVELY caught by still photo....NO VIDEO AVAILABLE.....Already noted by several media sources....

    NO STORY HERE!

    January 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Bob, DC

    The Hillary-philes are so desperate for some dirt on Obama. This is best they have right now. So let them enjoy their few minutes of twisted demented pleasure. Soon the reality of Obama's major wins on Super Tuesday will hit them like a ton of bricks. Cheers!

    January 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Texan for Obama

    Well, I think Hillary should have made it a point to go over to Obama and congratulate him on his win in South Carolina and his receiving Kennedy's endorsement.

    I mean that win in South Carolina alone was just record breaking for a black man in America wasn't it? After all, she and Bill are just sooooo concerned about blacks having opportunities in America, right? And that rally Obama had in Washington DC with Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy's stirring endorsements just showed the faith and strength behind Barack Obama's campaign.

    If she or Bill believe a single word of what they have been espousing all these years about blacks in America, then she should have congratulated him...period...end of story.

    Give it up CNN. I don't think he snubbed her...but personally, with the Clinton's sleezy campaign, I sure wouldn't have blamed him. But then, I am just a white supporter for Barack.

    January 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Alice in Florida

    It was caught on video. Not only is he a baby, he's a liar too.

    Just the usual whining – the man can't take any criticism at all. How could he ever be president?

    January 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. stan pitts pa

    HRC supporters the more you try to spin this the more, we are less inclined to vote for your candidate, you think all Americans are off junior high mentality, we know better, you are still hurt from ted kennedys endorsement, grow up! im sick and tired of HRC and her supporters thinking we are all idiots and morons, we went to the moon, i think we are smart enough to know dirty and divisive politics! tell your candidate HRC to stick to the issues and stop trying to steal elections with dirty tricks like these, this is not junior high!

    January 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. E in WI

    Go tell it to NOW of NY.

    January 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Felly

    Hillary will do anything to win votes, even a sympathy vote. After crying in NH and playing the race card that blew up on her face, she has ran out of options. She canceled an interview with CNN with no explanation because she is scared of answering questions and telling the truth from day one. She is running scared. Obama is the real deal.

    January 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Jim

    Don't feel bad HRC - He didn't ackowledge our National Anthem when you were on stage with him either!

    January 29, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Matt in Austin

    I don't see it as being rude. I see it as an uncomfortable moment w/ Kennedy just backing Obama. Clinton and Kennedy were talking and he removed himself from the conversation.

    If Hillary offered her hand to Obama and he turned his back it would be a snub. Everyone has been in one of those instances that is uncomfortable.

    January 29, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. NYK

    I think if everyone stops treating these minor incidents as if we were in preschool saying he poked me she pinched me we could focus on who is addressing the real issues and vote correctly this time. I do not think the economy can afford any more mistakes. Let us grow up as a country and help straighten out the real issues.

    January 29, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Rob

    Obama has my support 100 percent....Hilary Clinton is a joke...

    January 29, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. K,FL

    Althought I Support Clinton I believe Obama did not snub her.. this is just a spin that the media put on "it" (Picture)

    January 29, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. marsha

    It was very obvious that Obama was trying to avoid Hillary Clinton, if you really look at the picture closely. I feel this is very disrespectful to Hillary or any one, when you behave like that. I want the candidates for president to show up most respect toward each other.

    I would also like the media to report the news as is. The media staff should also treat each candidate with respect, especially Hillary Clinton. Most of the media is treating Hillary terrible. Why can you mention more than once who is endorsing her. All I hear is Obama Obama Obama!!! What about Hillary? Is this discrimination against her, because she is a woman? Please give me an answer.

    January 29, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Sean, Boston, MA

    Let's face it, the guy is a snob.

    January 29, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 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