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. DonI

    Its very funny after weeks of people trashing Hillary, calling her names, talking about her marriage, blaming her for everything and anything, now these people want to talk about issues.Let me get this straight, you can trash Clinton on a daily basis, but Obama is off limits? Hypocrites is all I can say. Obama did snub Clinton. Is it a issue? Maybe. Gives some insight into how this man works. It also gives great insight to how Obama supporters work. This is no differant than when Yellan made a huge misleading story about Bill Clinton. You guys did not come to his defense, even though the tapes clearly show Bill Clinton not angry. When the media used race, you blamed Hillary. So whats the differance here. Thats the real story here.
    Obama should apologize, regardless, because he is the UNITER.

    January 29, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    he should snub her and glad he did-her and her husband have done and said much worse to him

    January 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Chris

    Hillary supporters...please don't hate...

    January 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Jan

    I don't see Hillary; I don't see Obama; I see one people! You have taught me well Obama!!!!

    January 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Newburgh, IN Man

    ...

    IT MATTERS.... IT MATTERS.... IT MATTERS!!!

    When you were a young child, your parents insisted that you respect your opponent(s) and shake their hands.

    I DO NOT BELIEVE I NEED TO TEACH MY PRESIDENT THAT...

    I DO NOT WANT HIM TO LIE ABOUT HIS ERRORS EITHER!!!!

    HE DID NOT… HE NEEDS OWN UP TO IT!

    I DO NOT BELIEVE HIS COMMENT

    You want to be President, You must be a GENTLEMAN.

    You were NOT Last Night, Own up to it and admit it

    NO MORE EXCESES!!!

    NO MORE!

    This is NO “Tea Leaf Reading”. This is ETIQUETTE 101

    January 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. tired of it

    John McCain and John Edwards should join together, be the grown-ups, and give us a ticket that creates unity instead of division.

    January 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Sean, Boston, MA

    Vince Los Angeles, CA: this whole "snub-gate" didn't come from the Clintons at all. Not sure what you are talking about.

    January 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Liam

    Since Hillary was the one that was wandering around glad handing all those around Senator Obama, why did she not reach out to him, and say hello.

    Now who was the person who did the actual snubbing?

    January 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. mperloe

    OmiGOD. I couldn't possibly vote for someone who might have snubbed another candidate. I reserve my vote for someone how makes a pledge about Florida then breaks it and whose husband injects race into the contest.

    Please take a xanax. See a psychiatrist. I can't imagine this matter to anyone with an IQ over 60.

    January 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Chris from CT

    This just sealed my vote for Hillary. He seemed very rude in this incident and that is not the kind of President I want.

    January 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. New Yorkers against carpetbaggers!

    The Clintons are liars, liars, liars, and I wouldn't shake her hand, either, if they had lied, lied, lied about me! Luckily, Obama turned away just in time, or he might've had to touch her! He probably was just being hygenic, and didn't want to catch liar disease.

    Do you Clintonites really want more lies and deceit? Bill and Hill back in the White House with their lies, lies, lies! Don't forget about the fact that the Congress turned Republican two years into Bill's reign because voters were sick of their lies, lies, lies! Yea! I can't wait for more gridlock and a Republican Congress again! Sweet!

    January 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Paul

    I am so sick of news networks trying to make the news rather than just report it. Enough already, the media needs to stop, yes freedom of speech yada, yada, but this is just tabloid stuff. I like Obama, but he does not have the experience. Hillary for me, even Bill will not push her around,, you go GIRL.

    January 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    I am laughing at all the HRC supporters hanging onto the thin thread of hope (irony that) that HRC will somehow "crush" Obama come Feb 5th......since none of you is the least bit politically savvy....let me "break it down" for you poor saps....

    Feb 5th will come and go...HRC will probably garner the majority of votes but the DELEGATES will be split 3 ways between HRC, Obama and Edwards....Edwards doesn't have a chance but you are crazy if you think he's going to drop out! EDWARDS IS GOING TO DELIVER HIS DELEGATES TO OBAMA IN EXCHANGE FOR EITHER A VICE PRESIDENCY OR PLATFORM COMMITMENT. He'll blackmail Obama into actively pursing one of Edwards' platform agendas.....

    Ted Kennedy just crowned Obama King.......you all should just sit back and enjoy the ride....!

    LOL....

    January 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. bill

    why is this news pres bush did the same thing to obama and got tapped on his back and came back to shake hands after union address that is news to talk about

    January 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Larry, CA

    How did Marks post make it past the moderators?

    Mark,
    I think you dropped your hood!!!!!!!!!!!! Be afraid that Afican-Americans might do a better job it the White House then our hooded friends. Your parents must be proud that you are such an upstanding American.

    January 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. dee

    On the Senate Floor all last year Hillary Avoided Obama

    ??? where the story then???

    CNN – this seems a little yellow .....

    New worthy, not anything that flies through the wind.

    Bill, corrected you once last week.

    What happen to the American concerns.

    January 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. james

    Stupid news. Where is the video. We are being reduced to a bunch of 8th graders by jounalist who do not have decent news. As you can see everybody is clapping their hounds in the picture.

    January 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. vicki

    WELL IF HILLARY DOES NOT GET NOMINATION I WILL VOTE REPUBLICAN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE--LOOK WHAT A INEXPERIENCED PERSON PUT IN THE PRESIDENT POSITION CAN DO-LOOK AT THE PAST 7 YEARS.

    A GREAT SPEECH WRITER, A GREAT ORATOR DOES NOT MAKE A GREAT LEADER.

    OBAMA HAS NO ORGINAL THOUGHTS -IF YOU NOTICE ALOT OF HIS STUFF HE STOLE FROM EDWARDS-THE AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT FOR STARTERS.

    SHAME ON THE NEWS MEDIA FOR THE FREE TICKET YOU HAVE GIVEN OBAMA–

    THE SNUB AS DIPICTED IS MORE THAN JUST BEING POLITE IT TELLS US HOW HE WILL DEAL WITH THE "ENEMY" DOWN THE ROAD-–BIG CHARACTER FLAW ON HIS'PART

    January 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Get A Life

    can anybody remember one of the earlier debates when Obama acknowledged Clinton and she snubbed him as in didn't say a word to him? Maureen Dowd referenced it. There was no such discussion. Wondery Why?

    January 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Harrison

    QUITE A STORY HERE!

    It would appear that Mr. Obama needs to learn some social graces! If Hilliary had done this, YOU, the press, would be all over her with loud calls of condemnation. For Barack Obama, it would appear that it's OK! He is merely learning! Learning WHAT – who knows!

    Acting out his arrogance is not what we should be watching in our Democratic Party candidates! Hiliiary was gracious and very cordial; would that Obama had had those!

    What else is needed? Barack has been giving us EMPTY RHETORIC, lots of energized speeches what he has failed to do is – GIVE REALISTIC RESPONSES to questions posed!

    January 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. R.C. Remington

    I'd snub Hillary too. She'd say or do anything to get your vote. She's pathetic.

    January 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. T

    Reading these comments makes me feel better about my control of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Thanks for boosting my self-esteem, posters! By the way, this story is completely stupid. I'm just glad those two bothered to show up. They could have been like John McCain...spending time making stuff up in Florida about a sleaze-ball that doesn't need any outside help to look bad.

    January 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Chris

    Hillary supporters are like...HATE OBAMA...HATE BARACK...HATE OBAMA...HATE BARACK.....

    please don't hate...

    January 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I'm disgusted with the Democratic party. As are many people. Bill shamelessly highlights Barack's race after South Carolina and Hillary's supporters remain silent, choosing instead to create drama out of a photo. Ridiculous.

    We had 8 years of drama in the White House with the last Clinton. Let's grow up!

    January 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Arinze

    THIS IS SOOOOOOOO RIDICULOUS !!!

    I bet if he turned to shake her and smiled then the question would be "was his smile geniune". Give me a break "this whole thing is a fairy tale".

    If any one will vote or not vote for him/her on the basis of cordiality then perhaps voters are dumber than dumb.

    Why is the media even putting this up.? How is it relevant to the issues?

    Chris Welch and Alexander Mooney is this really an issue? Did yall loose sleep pondering over this.

    This is so appalling its sickening. Get a life.

    January 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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