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. David S.

    CNN: Stop perpetuating a non-issue and stirring the pot of cynicism reflected in many of the earlier comments. Good grief, there are 400,000 people whose mortages were foreclosed on last year, and this "moment in time" has more import than those families' futures? Give me a break!

    January 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Nicole

    Yeah, Obama only deals with what he wants, when he wants, what a leader right?

    January 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Michael

    Petty, desperate Clinton supporters grasping at anything they can. This is exactly why I'm registering independent if Clinton wins the nomination.

    January 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. MS KITTI

    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."

    BELIEVE IT OR NOT FOLKS, THIS "small" TALK TO KEEP THE

    MEDIA FOOD ON THEIR TABLE IS JUST THAT!!! TO KEEP FOOD

    ON THEIR TABLE....DON'T SWEAT THE ""small"" STUFF, IT IS

    ALLLLLL """small""" STUFF! YOU SNUBBED ME 2DAY, HA-HA!!

    January 29, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    There are two people in the photo looking at Hillary and nobody else is. Big deal?

    January 29, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Alice, VA

    I don't think he snubbed her, but if he did, I couldn't think of a better "person" to do it to.

    January 29, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. adriane

    All the women supporters of Clinton are voting for her because she is a woman, then you may also vote for Britney Spears! What is the big difference! If you want to vote for a woman then wait until he right woman candidate comes along. This is so typical American, this trashy stories and the depth of thinking about the responsibility of voting: he didn't shake her hand so I'll vote for Clinton. Geniuses!

    January 29, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Adam, Houston, TX

    Why do people even care about this? People that do care are acting like immature kids trying to start a fight... "OHHH, Hillary got dissed! Hillary, you gonna take that?!?! Obama be hatin' on you! Oh yeah, fight, fight fight!!!"

    January 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Toni, Seattle, WA.

    People really need to get a LIFE. Who cares after all the things the Clintons have done to him in the last week i wouldn't rush to shake her hand either. If he had someone would have made a big deal out of that. We the american people need to stop falling for all of this foolishness and get to the issues, because i'm sure we've ALL have ignored someone before.

    Obama 08

    January 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. MAW

    Is this becoming a habit of Obama or is just him not accepting mistakes and always in deny of his wrong doing. Last night he intentionally snubbed HRC. Now realising his mistake , he just can accept the fact . A good leader acknowlede his or her mistakes, make correction, and don't live in a state of denial.

    January 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Lilly

    Clintonhater – What kind of Obama support are you? You support a president that calls for more civility and compromise in Washington, yet you have a name like "Clintonhater" and start getting all defensive when the media is doing to Obama what they have been doing to Clinton this whole time. Twisting everything and making a bigger story out of nothing. Bill Clinton comes to the defense of his wife in a few speeches and then everyone makes it seem like a Billary is running for president. Or Hillary gets slightly emotional in one speech and everyone makes her out to be an emotional wreck.

    Now shouldn't you understand that both Clinton and Obama are subject to unfair media philandering and speculation when we should really be focusing on their stances and the issues?

    To those saying that this is not an issue and wondering why this is news....well, for the same reason that anything on Clinton, lately, has been in the news.

    And she has not even mentioned this little "encounter" so, obviously, she is seeking no advantages from it.

    Clinton 08.

    January 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. joe joe

    I wonder if Mrs. Clinton started to cry after being ignored by Mr. Obama. Now that would be a story to cover for the media.................not.

    January 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. dee

    Alfredo

    Was not Bill a Trainee, in 1992? No, the admin. makes or breaks a president.

    Think Future – move forward

    The Glory days were never ment to hold us animated in the Past,

    Hillary has voted for war with Iraq, and in 2007 with Iran. See how much we missed holding on to the past.

    Stay in the Now. 90s were good. think of a life better. They call it the American Dream – Fashioned by each generation.

    Now is the time.

    Hillary will not be able to draw the needed Votes. Take away the GOP, and the Ind.
    Her message is old politics. separate everyone.

    GOP 08, becasue of a Dem. melt down.

    Obama 08 he has and will get the Voters to come out for change.

    as he stated: Come out and vote even if it is not for me.

    I do not hear that old style politics saying that!

    January 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Coming Awakening

    Let the media play you like the fools you are. Before this even happened, I heard the commentator on CNN and Fox both say something to the effect of "we are keeping an eye on Obama and Clinton to see if there are any awkward moments between them."

    Welcome to the non-issue but heavily covered event of the week – how timely.

    Sheep.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    To that "dirty-dishing blogger who idiotically refer to dirty campaign Hillary.
    The only dirt this dirty blogger is dishing out is from his own back , backyard and closets. Look at the issues. Forget what Bill Clinton says on the Campaign.
    He is not running for office. Any spouse of any candidate should know know that they would be supported by their spouses. A few Politicos endorsing Obama are
    really hedging their bets on the Election. They know Hillary will win the nomination.
    The "NOW ORGANIZTION has labeled T 's Obama support as a BETRAYAL.
    If Obama wins they still keep their seats. The backlash from all of these politicos endorsing Obama instead of Hillary Clinton will be great on Feb 5.
    God Bless America Pray for America. Pray for Hillary.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Obamamania

    CNN, if it's SUCH a SLOW news day, I'd rather NOTHING be posted on the Ticker as opposed to this constant DRIVEL.

    This is an IMPORTANT time in American politics. Please be INFORMATIVE.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Lei An

    This is news because Obama is basically running his entire campaign on his likable personality. And this just proves that he doesn't even have that.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. SyF the Giver, Chicago, IL

    This is very serious business.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. ojah_w

    It appears to me that your station has become quite obsessed with creating firestorms out of almost anything in order to get viewers to watch. Everything from Hillary Clinton "crying" (maybe she had a tear in her eye, but she was by no means crying), to escalating the conflict between John McCain and Mitt Romney by constantly peppering each of them with slight inflammatory questions and comments, and now the complete baloney about Barack Obama "snubbing" Hillary Clinton. The latest "story", the snubbing of Clinton, has had extremely heavy rotation particularly on your station and I believe it is irresponsible of CNN to continue to create "pissing matches" between the camps of candidates, their surrogates, and their supporters. Please discontinue this practice. It is causing disruption to the campaigns and the issues that are actually important to us, as Americans. It is making our 2008 Presidential Election look similar to your tabloid coverage of Britney Spears. To me your integrity is in question here, especially on the Obama/Clinton current "situation". I don't understand what your station is trying to accomplish...surely you are not so desperate for viewers as to lower yourselves to the old FOX news standards.
    We have extremely important things happening in our nation, and throughout the world right now. Please stop scooping stories out of the gutter and turning them into something they aren't, and get back to the business of news and legitimate political coverage.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. case

    What a joke is this what it is coming done to? Hillary needs to go away. She can not beat McCain in the November election. She is unelectable. This country has been split fifty-fifty the last eight years. If Hillary were to get the Democratic nod we all would be split for another four years.

    We need a uniter not a divider.

    Obama is the only choice we have for true change.

    January 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. educated voters everytown, USA

    This is whats important to the Clinton supporters? Yikes

    January 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Jim

    So what, she needs a pie in the face for all the trash talk her and slick willie have given him. That fake smile she has reminds me of that guy on the male enhancement comercial.

    January 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Margaret H.

    Cnn, thanks so much for deleting my follow up to my first comment. It shows that you are quite biased to the liberals – what's new?

    January 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Michelle, AL

    Yeah, McCaskill tapped him on the shoulder, and said hey, dude, here comes Hillary, and Obama was like, ok, ok, stay calm.. just act like I said something funny.

    So McCaskill reared her head back and gave a laugh, and Obama smiled. Then he's like, is she gone yet? And McCaskill says no, she's looking right at you, act like your shoe is untied or something. Hurry up, man!

    And Obama is like it's ok, I got this. Blah blah blah blah blah.. and McCaskill says, blah blah blah.. ok, whew, she's gone.

    Obama is like, whew is right. Hope nobody is filming this.

    After the speech, Bush even sees Obama and says hey buddy, how's it going? And Obama turns and looks with longing eyes, thinking, McCaskill... Napoliteano.. help meeeeeeeeeee

    January 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Lorraine, Birmingham, AL

    What a non story....

    Hillary was supposed to be looking like she was sucking on sour grapes all day, girlfriend has problems: she was courting the Kennedy nod, Bill can't keep his big mouth closed. Bet she'll think again about her husband who is already prone to overzealousness anyway, as it pertains to HER presidential bid. Yesterday was not a good day for team Bilary at all.

    January 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 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