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. Andy, New York, New York

    There is absolutely nothing else going on on the campaign trail that this non issue is now an issue?

    Must be a filler for a slow day at CNN!

    January 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Ocean

    Funny how the Obama supporters are say it's nothing; it's not news worthy; let's move on, etc., etc. Well, that's what I have been saying when CNN and the rest of the "bias" news media kept distorting everything the Clintons said (the "fairytale". MLK/LBJ, Jesse Jackson, race, Clinton's anger, etc.) – didn't you join in on the Clinton bashing? I, on the other hand, have seen the media's guilt in fanning the flames of divisiveness and have not fallen for it.
    Let us (decent people) make a pledge right now (regardless of who you support) to REJECT this behavior from the media and let's focus on the real issues. Can we do that? Thanks

    January 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Randy

    Obama is such a hypocrite..he hides behind the mask of Hope……and people fall for him….he should grow up and start behaving like an adult and should let everyone know that he too is a politician..that he is no diffrent from any of the other presidential candidate.
    Also, he needs to learn some manners of how to treat people…you don't turn your back on someone like that…that is so rude of him. I agree with the commnets here,; If Hillary had done the same thing it would have been headlines on all news channels…the media is so pro-Obama..all you hear in the media is praising Obama like he is the lord.
    Media, you shuld be ashamed of yourself for being so partisan to Obama. Do your job of fair reporting and let people decide.

    January 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. get truth guy

    Obama is a lier and sore loser, not a "uniter" or "future hope" faked by someone in his side. He will never get my vote, if he is chosen, I will vote to John McGain.

    January 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. gucc

    wow... as an outsider looking in... you guys are nuts for even making this the slightest issue.... you guys can be so self-obsorbed when it comes to politiy and celebrity.

    January 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Joe, Long Island, NY

    Compared to the amount of times Clinton has made potshots and false claims at Obama, Obama hasn't done much back. Most of the time, he just defends himself.

    Let me ask you this: If you were attacked, wouldn't you attack back? Or would you just take it in? The Clinton camp has done so much to derail Obama and everyone just sees it as business as usual. But when Obama counters, it's wrong for him to do so? How does that make sense?

    How is that fair?

    In any case, this particular move seems like an accident to me. Even if it was on purpose, it's nothing compared to what Clinton does to him.

    January 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Doris

    Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR January 29, 2008 3:23 pm ET

    For those of you who think a picture says a thousand words, what about the picture of the Clintons with Rezko.

    Better a picture than a house. Where did the Obama's get that house again?

    January 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. observer

    Obama has once again shown the American people why they should question and research every word that comes out of his mouth. His campaign slogan should be "Deny" instead of change.

    January 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Dave in Redmond

    You folks making a big deal out of this need to get a life.

    January 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Pat, CA

    He really needs to learn some etiquette. Is this another "You are likeable enough, Hillary" momemt by Obama?

    January 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. A. Harrison

    I'm am speachless at the fact he's actually NOT blaming HILLARY or BILL for this moment.
    Or the CLINTON Campaign for that MATTER! SUPRISE SUPRISE......


    January 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Pinky

    The picture shows Hillary is a strong person when her heart had to be broken after Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama. She shook Ted Kennedy's hand and smiled while doing so. Where is Barack Obama's smile?


    January 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Liz

    Mark January 29, 2008 3:10 pm ET
    I am offended that people keep comparing Sen Obama with JFK. Truly there is no comparison. As for the "snub". Bottom line: who cares? But sue is right, America needs a President who can unite, not a kid. Also, America, wake up… have you thought about what a President Obama cabinet would look like with Al Sharpton as Secretary of Defense, Jesse Jackson as Secretary of State. Be afraid, very afraid.

    Why so offended by the JFK reference? People say Obama is too young, just a kid. Didn't they say the same about JFK?

    January 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Donna

    We will soon see more and more of what Obama really all about. Give it time. He is to young, lacks experience. So he speaks well but I'm getting very concerned.
    I heard Senator Kennedy say this morning that he has tried for 35 years to get a
    health care plan accomplished. Does Obama really think with Ted Kennedy
    in his corner or does Ted Kennedy think that with Obama in his corner this will get accomplished. No way. If Teddy hasn't been able to accomplish this with all his political clout do you think Obama can. At least Hillay has really tried and know the obstacles.
    Talk about change Obama- Is Ted Kennedy change. Doesn't represent that to me.
    Same old guard. Who cares

    GO Go Hillary you are change.

    January 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Al in Wpg

    Wow, american politics really have gone down the drain, (i can't even think of a word to represent the disgust I feel for all of you that jump on the -this picture shows- bandwagon). I am absolutely sad, and distraught, that the responsibility to pick the most powerful leader in the world lies in the hands of all you absolute idiots. You should be ashamed. Accept your responsibility or get out of the way.

    January 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. DGH

    It is funny how Obama is the so called childish and immature one, when Hillary is the one that cries every time votes don't go her way. She cried for attention to win New Hampshire and was close to it after S. Carolina.. That is, if she did not do it off camera...

    I can already hear her…”Mr Puttin I strongly disagree… ”….{off camera – wailing in the white house}

    Had her husband mud-sligging, believing that it would be harder for Obama respond to a husband, who she rightly believes is still popular…. Come on guys, be true to yourselves, who really is the immature one?

    January 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. YC

    YES you did. A picture is worth a thousand words. Video says even more.

    You were caught acting childish, arrogant and showing that you are not ready to hold the highest office in the nation. This is just ONE example. There are many, many more pictures, statements, actions. Put them together people!

    Who are you "uniting"? Your best buddies and Oprah fans? You're not mature enough to do the job – period.

    January 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Barbara

    I can't believe how many people are allowing Jessica Yellin's perception of what she saw influence their feelings about either Clinton or Obama. Jessica . . are you for real? This is not news and shame on all of you for being a media puppet.

    January 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. Scott

    It's pathetic to see people feeding off this junk. After 8 years of GWB, you would think we could all get along and ACT like democrats, not racist, insulting morons. I personally see that CNN (Clinton News Network) has once again decided to drag their so called news coverage into the mud and the American public is more than willing to get in there and play like pigs. Why all the resentment against Obama all of a sudden? Could it be sour grapes where a Kennedy endorsement was lost by the Clintons?

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    January 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. Julie

    Even if he did snub her, do you really think that Hillary is so thin-skinned? Really, if you believe that, then she clearly is not capable of being the President of the United States. Furthermore, I think that Hillary and Bill have done their fair share of snubs in the last three weeks to merit a rebuff or two from Senator Obama. No one need play false with someone who has been unfairly attacking him based on his race in the media and on the campaign trail. I wouldn't shake hands with a turncoat like that either until an open apology were made. Their comments offended me and my fellow citizens more than Obama's failure to play nice in the sandbox with the opposition that just threw sand in his eyes.

    January 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Ann, MO

    I doubt that he snubbed her, but if it were me, I certainly would have.

    January 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Angie Wheeler

    Oh come on people! are you kidding me? Stop being such hateful weirdos – any decent minded, logical, sane person can see that this story is absolutely meaningless. Shame on me for even reading it.

    January 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Ray

    Obama is now Crybama!!

    January 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. ABC = Anybody But Clinton

    THANK YOU SENATOR OBAMA, FOR EVEN REPLYING TO THIS PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO SMEAR YOU ONCE AGAIN. You are a man of character unlike those who try to bring you down. RISE ABOVE! RISE ABOVE!!!

    January 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Rachel


    I'm tired of these non-events being reported as news.

    January 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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