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. Bubba

    Quit making up 'news.' We have FOX for that.

    January 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Bob

    In other news: Ron Paul Still Alive, Doing Stuff

    January 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. jake

    Liam- that is the dumbest thing I have heard so far. may be yoiu need to get your eyes checked.
    Liam January 29, 2008 3:36 pm ET

    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 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Harry, NY NY

    Anyone else feel like the coverage of this issue is reminiscent of an episode of "The Simple Life" or "Desperate Housewives"?

    How this is relevant to anything, not so sure. Maybe this is related to the Writers Strike that is affecting TV shows and putting more of a focus on reality based TV?

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. danielo

    Now look at the second photo shot from a different angle and it doesnt give the same SNUB impression. The first picture was carefully selected to fortify the story.
    It makes busines sense for CNN but twists the truth.


    Sometimes pictures dont tell the whole story.

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Uba


    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Matt

    I think Obama's pants are on fire!

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. DB

    This is the most unbelievable storm in a teacup I have ever seen. A handful of irresponsible media people are whipping it up into something and people are swallowing it hook, line and sinker. How the hell do we even know what happened from the TV pictures?

    And, frankly, if you people are going to vote on stuff as trivial as this, I'd rather you stay away from the polls until you actually get educated on the candidates' records and issues.

    I actually thought six months ago that we were going to see either Hillary get the nomination because she had the strongest plan on healthcare or Barack get the nomination because he was the strongest war opponent or John Edwards get the nomination because he best understood the problems facing the economy. How naive. Instead, we're being forced to choose on the basis of an overpriced haircut, a racial slight, and apparently indifferent body language from a fleeting TV image. How pathetic.

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Viola

    I'm still wondering how this has become an important issue....who cares....oh yeah, the Billary fans...........

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Jimmy, Oklahoma Feb. 5th

    The Boy's club got to Obama. He was afraid he was going to lose. Obama had to turn to the very men he has been campaigning aginst. THE ESTABLISHMENT.

    This is all good for Obama, but I for one am voting for CHANGE.

    Senator Clinton for President 2008

    The Establishment got to OBAMA.

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Buffalo Bill

    My question is: Hillary Clinton's seat was on the right side of the aisle and in several spaces so why did she deliberately go to the left side of the aisle, reach in and shake hands with someone that was way out of her way?

    I have seen more than once (in my 80+ years) that an individual will go out of their way to just antaganize an opponent or someone that they did not like. Was this her intent? Sure looked suspicious to me if you look how far she had to lean in from the aisle.

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. MH

    I am not hearing anything from Billary. People tell me that they are too tired to keep it up, and taking a long rest. How can they (both Bill + Hillary) run the country...

    They are too tired to run teh campaign, how can they run the country...

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Courtney S.

    WHAT EVER!!!!

    I'm SO sick of this NON-NEWS....Let US please talk about the real issues. I don't care who it is JUST DO IT!...

    I'm 31 years old, have worked all my life went to college have a "good job" and I still struggle. Lets talk about that. I have pre-existing conditions, own my own business and can't afford health care, lets talk about that. I pay taxes out the ying yang because I'm single and I KNOW I won't see anything back...Lets talk about that. I have a retirement fund that for the second time in that last 9 years the gains have been erased....Lets talk about that.

    I could CARE LESS about the picture, or the fighting...LETS TALK ABOUT ISSUES!!!

    Anyone WHO really CARES about THE PEOPLE '08!

    January 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Brandon


    From now on Im getting my news from FOXnews or MSNBC. You people are making me sick with this stupid reporting and for the last week reporting every hour on race in politics.."What Does Obama Need To Get The White Vote?" He probally needs CNN to shut-up about it..

    January 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Anne

    absolutely ridiculous...and the comments on here are even worse. cnn and readers alike should be ashamed of themselves.

    January 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Rob

    Our troops are dying! We need health care and the economy is crappy! ANYONE WHO CARES ABOUT THIS IS A TRUE IDIOT!

    January 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Eric, Elk Grove, California

    I endorse the SNUB.

    January 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Johnny Peace

    Alot of people here are thinking with half of their brain....

    According to the story, it was Clinton who worked over, she saw Obama and instead ignored him ans shake hands with Ted Kennedy, not only that she started a discussion with Ted Kennedy; Note she did not offer to shake hands with Obama despite the fact that she was the one that came to where they were sitting.

    Giving the events of the past week, If I were Obama and Clinton works up to were I was sitting and start shaking hands with everyone except me and proceed to start discussing with the person sitting close to me, I will ignore her as well as simple as that.

    Look at it the other way round; would it have been polite if Obama walked over to where Mrs. Clinton is sitting, shake hands with every other person and ignore Obama?

    Do not fool yourself, Obama did the right thing by giving them a little privacy to carry on their discussion.

    January 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. David S.

    CNN: Stop perpetuating a non-issue and stirring the pot of cynicism. Good grief, 400,000 people – according to the CNN Money site – lost their homes to foreclosure last year and, somehow, this pictorial "moment in time" has more import than the future of those families/individuals? Give me a break!

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

    what a fraud. McCaskill isn't speaking.

    January 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Steve

    Who are you gonna believe – me or your lying eyes?

    Does Obama EVER take responsibility for anything he says or does without trying to say we didn't really see or hear what we did, in fact, see or hear?

    January 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Amy in Iowa

    Poor Hillary is the supposed victim again. Reminds me of the tears incident. The Clinton supporters are REALLY grasping at straws now.

    January 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. jk

    Next time your neighbors repeatedly leave their trash in your driveway and bring all their dogs to you backyard, please have a camera ready so we all can see you shaking their hands. Call the media too!

    January 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Jack K., Fort Myers, FL

    I can't believe the hoopla over this poopla!!

    January 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Milo

    How much do the Clintons pay people to post these ridiculous comments?

    January 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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