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. Iraq connections?

    Apparently, Rezko borrowed 3.5 million dollars from some billionaire in Iraq. Why would a billionaire from Iraq have connections with Rezko? Makes me wonder if there's a connection with Obama "I was against the war from the start". Interesting. A stretch, but one never knows.

    January 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Clyde

    It appears to me that Mr. Obama does not have the ability to get along with other Democrats. Snubbing Senator Clinton was quite obvious. Once again proving he is not the right man for the job.
    As for Senator Kennedy, I don't think he is really a good friend of the Clintons. If he was he would have made every effort to work with the Clintons to achieve his endorsement.
    Personally I think Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Mr. Obama works in Senator Clintons favor.

    January 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. murry

    This is a silly story. Don't you anything more important to report?

    January 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. D'Berry

    This is stupid.

    January 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Sharon

    Come out and say whatever you want to make yourself feel better.....we SAW it happen.....not just in a picture.......

    January 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. roger, conway sc

    You are seeing our MEDIA in action....they were responsible for the racial mess during the SC primary.....they stirred the pot 24/7...

    January 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. DOUGLAS

    Hit-lery and O Blah Blah have some fence mending to do....Maybe they could ask Bill and Ted ( excellent Adventurers.... or Adulterers) to help out with their issues...Wait, that is what got them to the top of the Don't vote for me list in the first place !!!

    January 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Nando, Florida

    CNN Stop know one cares !!!!! she is not the Queen of ENGLAND!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Clinton

    please. Clinton spends a month attacking the man and people are surprised that he doesnt want to shake her hand? it would be a photo op for ther campaign to use against him. The guy had to choose the lesser poor choice her. Another sly move by Billary!

    January 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. John, N.H

    liar, here we go again....

    January 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Ray

    Poor Obama..everyone is picking on you!!! You did it. GROW UP!!! MANY people around you saw you.

    January 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Clinton '08

    Obama is right... this is a good example of timing. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here since I know how the media is. Speak first, investigate later. I'm a Hillary supporter, but I can totally give Obama the benefit of the doubt here.

    Clinton '08

    January 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. matthew

    Obama clearly turned away because she was there.

    What a great way to handle conflict...it worked so well in WWII.

    January 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. nice!

    Who the h*ll cares??? Hillary is rude 24/7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Armando

    Seems as if Obahma has issues with strong women. It will be Obahma who after Florida and Super Tuesday as he is behind Clinton in almost all states. Clinton is about to take it away with the multi-cultural states.

    January 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. drmarte

    My goodness, can we get crazier about we journalistically angst over?

    January 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Kate

    what was he supposed to do .. stare? .. he was giving them an opportunity to talk .. that's what we call politeness .. but again that's too much to understand these days 🙂

    January 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Everybody is looking for signs he is going start being a "gunslinger politician" like Hillary and Bill.

    He never been caught being anything but professional–even during the debates when she–became pretty vicious.

    Obama has clearly demonstrated in all of the meetings with his competitors–that he is above the sort of below the belt tactics lauded and taught by so many of his colleagues (guess who?).

    January 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. racergirl8807

    Honestly, I wish he'd just said "Yeah I just didn't feel like talking to that mixed-up crazy." I think I'd respect him way more for openly doing something I'd do.

    January 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Gerty11226

    Must you always try to place Sen. Obama in the worst possible light? Is it possible that Clinton snubbed Obama?

    January 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. david the blackman

    oh yes you did brotha you did
    enough with your lies!

    just like you told kieth oberman of msnbc last night that you did not campaign in florida when in fact you broke the dems pack and did campaign by running ads in florida last week
    enough with your lies!

    just like told the american public last week that you only knew tony rezko for 5 hours of billed work mean while you are in bed with this crook w/ jump starting your campaign fundraisng and buying property with him
    enough with your lies!

    January 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. The Decider

    Hey Mooney, this is pretty petty junk to put on here. It is more of the same as your article on NOW. There already was one article on here about NOW and you keep on stirring. I'll have to admit that I'm surprised at Jessica Yellin. She is a great commentator but this is a bit below the bar for her.

    We have a week left, how about giving us some political news thats worthy of reading and commenting on. You are lowering yourselves to about 75% of the ignorant comments on here. Let it play out and whoever wins --WINS...

    January 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Rob

    LOL@the comments in here....he just said he didn't snub her and you still don't wanna believe it...the Senate memeber he was talking even said that people are making this situation out to be something bigger then it really is...I swear you Clinton supporters are incredible....you'll log on here and just say anything...

    January 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Robin

    The smug petulant behavior by Obama has cropped up too often for him to spin his way out of it. A picture tells a million words.

    January 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Wayne

    Obama is such a hypocrite! He acts holier than thou, and then when he gets busted acted like a CAD, he denies it ever happened. Obama is a petulant snide HYPOCRITE who has the press/media eating out of his hand!

    January 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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