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. Paul

    Is OBAMA not a BETTER candidate because of THIS?!

    Did Hillary reach out? Or did Ted Kennedy reach out?

    America is getting POORER AND POORER and this is your concern?!!!

    Keep the FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY in mind, guys. This is not a high school nomination.

    January 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. John A

    We would have never even noticed the snub if the media
    hadn't brought it to our attention. Beware, were all on "Candid Camera".

    January 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Cory, PA


    The media is looking into this way too much. I have an idea, take a poll and see who cares about this "issue," since you media folk are poll happy.

    January 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. marianne

    As president Obama needs to speak with people that he has had conflicts with. That is why experience in politics is a must. Sorry sir, Caroline and Ted can't help with that. The worst part is the excuses. When you are wrong just don't say anything or admit it

    January 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Randall, Austin TX


    January 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Jeffrey J. Kennedy

    " This was a photo opportunity, another game of dirty politics" Judge for yourself!
    Just a tabloid.
    Jeffrey J. Kennedy
    New Jersey

    January 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. lambert strether

    Funny how this "Unity" thing Obama's always going on about turns out to be hating Hillary, the same schtick Limbaugh's been running for years. Maybe the Hillary haters are the Republicans Obama keeps saying he's going to attract?

    Meanwhile, although Hillary hatred works fine in the primaries, I'm not sure how it's going to work as a governing philosophy.

    January 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. dee



    NOW is being ati-Male, although if he is the better choice

    This is silly

    You mean Bill the race issue watch-dog is not correcting the NOW agenda of a women or no one else.

    NOW should have pick a candidate that would not use the race card to get nominated and loose in NOV.

    Special Interest – American Interest

    Obama 08

    or another 4 years of

    GOP 08

    January 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Alice in Florida

    Typical Baby Barack – first, he does something childish, then he lies about it. Next he'll play the race card somehow, then he'll finally blame Bill and/or Hillary.

    Get over it, liar. It's on video – you can't "spin" this one in your usual way.

    In the picture above, he's not even looking at the other Senator. Then again, he does seem to have difficulty looking people in the eye. Maybe because he's a liar?

    January 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |

    You know, who cares? Isn't there more important news to report??

    January 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. J, Ca

    The picture says a thousand words.
    Who are you trying to fool Obama?
    You think people are that stupid?

    January 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. ramno

    Nice try Mr. Obama. It's almost the "PRESENT" vote time:) try and try may be can fool all of us by the Feb 5th.

    January 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Alfredo

    The endorsement by the Kennedys is ridiculous. The change we need is to bring back the prosperity we have during the Clinton years. We do not want a another Trainee for the next 4 years as Presidetn Bush did in his first 4 to 8 years term in the office.

    January 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Linda Smith

    Open your minds enough to just consider this:

    Maybe someone called out his name and he turned around. I would think that a lot of people would be doing that, especially since it was a good day for him. Good heavens–in this case NO ONE REALLY KNOWS, BECAUSE THERE IS NO SOUND. In the debates and news clips, there is obvious lying and distortion on the part of the Clintons. I think some Clinton supporters are upset and are grabbing on to a very small, thin rope here. Make a list of his impolite actions and hers and Bills. See which one is the longest and most serious.

    And people complain that they don't hear the issues! Look how much time and space this silly, incident that no one can prove has taken up.

    January 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Dear Americans, in Europe they are not talking about this non-issue yet.... However, we have seen the 'mud-campaign' of the Clintons on every eight-o'clock-TV news shows.. so if we continue, it will be in the news there as well. Maybe it is in America's interest to prevent that from happening?

    January 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Joelene Reno, Nevada

    Sure, and if you believe Obama on all the other "non issues" that he preaches on (but says nothing definitive) you'll also believe he wasn't acting in a manner which suggests a "snubbing" event.

    Get real people, this guy is a tidy little package with a sinister and, dare I say, vindictive personality...reminds me of George Bush when someone pisses him off.

    Remember his "Hillary, you're likeable enough" statement, and that I could just kill you look? Oh no, that wasn't ment as belligerant...give me a break, I'm not stupid!

    And now, my goodness, Ted is supporting Obama...kinda like the Kerry endorsement...LOOSERS, both of them.

    Hillary Clinton will turn DC on it's collective ear when she's elected President. And indeed, that is what is needed.

    Hillary Clinton 2008!

    January 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. stan pitts pa

    like the organization NOW OF NY, mad at ted kennedy for endorsing obama over hillary a woman? talk about playing the gender card, hrc may have put them to it, America to think that women will vote for HRC just because she is a female! NOPE not gonna happen, American women are smarter and will vote for the best candidate, just not this particular divisive person like HRC, look at all the hate mongering against obama on this blog, if these are her supporters, i wont vote for HRC, even if she gets the nomination! i will vote mcain, she is way toooo polarizing, and she cares about i sgetting her family back in the white house,besides REPUBLICANS dont want hrc back in the white house, they will block her every reform and nothing will ever get done, if you got hope, and you want progress made in America vote obama!

    January 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. john g

    It baffles the mind that anyone would give half a thought to this complete non-event. The only reason any of the sheep on here are debating the deeper meanings of a crowded room is because the media is telling you to. It's good to see the nation is in the hands of such informed and intelligent voters who truly will pick the best candidate based on factual, objective information......sigh.

    January 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Handcuft

    Who snubbed who?? The article clearly states that Hillary was attempting to greet someone else that was seated in front of Obama, even though Obama was clearly in front of her and allegedly facing her (according to all the complaints) at the time. When Obama realized she wasn't attempting to greet him, he moved on. What was he supposed to do, stand there like a stick until SHE was ready to be cordial?? Give me a break people, this is a bunch of nothing. They are rivals, each having said and done things not appreciated by the other. Snubbing occurs.

    January 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Doc Bee

    What an intelligent bunch of kids we are.

    January 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Info


    January 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. Ray

    For those of you who think a picture says a thousand words, what about the picture of the Clinton's with Rezko?

    Or, does the rule only apply when it favors your candidate?


    January 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. manubi

    News worthy? Think again. All you have invoked are petty arguments among candidates' supporters. Why don't you cover talk about issues where readers can actually engage in an intelligent conversation and discussion. We are not looking for a PROM QUEEN/KING to balance our national budget!

    January 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Alfredo

    The endorsement is ridiculous. The change we need is to bring back the prosperity we have during the Clinton years. We do not want a anotherTrainee for the next 4 years as Presidetn Bush did in his first 4 to 8 years term in the office.

    Also, CNN should have also focused after the South Carolina caucus result that majority of the votes the Barack got are from the African American and they say in their camapaign that there is no race polarizartion. This is ridiculous.

    January 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Sabrina

    Who else will he SNUB????? At least Hillary had the good manners to shake Teds hand and be cordial. Ted is news for a couple days and it is on with the next story. All of the media needs to get over thier love affair with Obama, he is not what he seems. We need experience, Hillary 08

    January 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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