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. Open a History Book

    More lies from the Clinton camp. When will these people stop. The Clinton's can't get enough of the mud slinging.

    January 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Sherryl

    It's really disheartening to see the press continue to make "something" out of nothing. I was watching CNN last night when Jessica Yellin made her comment. I was amazed to see what seemed like two people just missing each other, being blown up to be called a "snub". Journalists are supposed to REPORT, not create a story where frankly, there is no story. If you look at the picture attached to this story, you can see where both Senators are engaged in conversations with different people at the same time. Please stop trying to create conflict where there is none.

    January 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. rw

    Fess up Obama, your actions demonstrate a lack of character. Misogynist. And no female lackey can arrest the damage done.

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

    CNN SHOULD BE ASHAMED. STICK TO THE ISSUES.

    January 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. chris

    Maybe Obama snubbed, maybe he didn't. But the vehemence in these commments shows how petty and desperate the Clintonites are. Do they think this will matter in the election. More importantly, do they think it SHOULD? They're OK with the Clintons totally playing the race card (is there any other explanation for the Jesse Jackson comment, for example, other than Clinton trying to suggest that race matters–totally unacceptable for a former president to play that game) but God forbid Obama does something a little rude. Remember the time Bill Clinton turned his back on the press corps and farted during a news conference!

    January 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Coming Awakening

    If any of you would make up your mind on who to vote over this non-issue, then the democrats are doomed in November. I came to the party as a moderate Republican because I think Obama is refreshing. I would never vote for Clinton. McCain or Romney would be my choice if HRC is your nominee. There are quite a few of us out here. I met them in line SC last week when they went to see Obama speak after his victory. This is big. Obama can draw Republicans. I am sure HRC cannot do the same.

    January 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Big Dawg

    Obama fits right in down in DC, no matter which way he wants to spin. God help us all.

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. DK

    I wish the one sided media would take the kid gloves off and start treating Obama with the same scrutiny they reserve for Billary. It makes me think Obama is the affirmative action candidate. Obama's behavior is anything but professional and nowhere near presidential. An endorsement from Ted Kennedy – didn't he let a woman he was dating on the down low drown in his own car that he drove off the road while driving under the influence to save his political career?

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Jan, Toledo, OH

    Whatever Obama says is correct. Right! We have had so much investigative coverage. Something is said – they ask Obama – he gives him his answer and the news media accepts it as the whole truth – end of story. Obama says that Florida is just a beauty contest because no one campaigned there and their delegates won't count. However, there is one thing wrong with this picture. He ran ads in Florida.

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. Alice in Florida

    LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE BABY BARACK!!!

    It's on video, or was the guy who shot the video a racist? Is that it? What about the photographer? Are they just picking on you because of your race?

    And what is this "change" you keep talking about? Nobody is really sure. Is it your diaper?

    As for your supporters, how can they claim it's a non-issue, or worse, defend you for it?

    Can you really picture this fool sulking and turning his back to other world leaders? That's presidential???????? I've never heard anything so moronic!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Joseph DeSousa

    Yes he did and now that it's getting him a negative reaction he is turning around.

    Kid grow up before you can become president.

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Al in Wpg

    ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!

    You have the responsibility to pick the best person for the job, this is not American Idol. Grow the ef up. If America is not able to be mature enough to put careful thought into who they ellect, then America does not deserve the power and prosperity it has. You have earned your recession, keep it up and you will earn your depression.

    Seriously, grow up. accept your responsibility. Is this what your grandparents fought for?

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Justice

    This is NOT news.

    January 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    What a bunch of bologna. He is immature and childish. To now attempt to hide behind McCaskill's skirts is even more adolescent. Look how gracious Clinton was with Kennedy. Experience, maturity and self confidence are attributes Hillary has shown, not Obama. Grow up and come back when you do.

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Rubiconski

    POOR HILLARY TRIES FOR THE "SYMPATHY" VOTE.....

    PATHETIC!

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Excited in 2008

    Wow, some people can really angry about nothing..LOL.. Well if he snubbed her who knows.. who cares??? There are bigger issues at stake here. If you guys want to know where people stand on issues so that you can vote, then get to investigating.. Snubs are the least of our worries.. economic, war, illegal immigration and the future of my kids are what gets me fired up. Don't fall for the media attempt at getting us emotional instead of educated.. Study to show your ownselves approved!

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Lee, York Pa

    hey...if Obama wants President Clinton to consider him as a VP >
    I'd suggest he try to be a bit more charming and polite!

    HILLARY 08

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. JIY

    What a din! Clinton's supporters up in arms, must be smarting over Kennedy's endorsement. They say Obama was childish in his behavior, but all I hear are a series of shrill childish comments! Talk about removing the log in one's eye before removing the speck in the other person's eye.

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    A little to do about nothing. look at all the hate mongering against Sen obama. once again someone can say something,people will believe any thing just by word of mouth. look like when Sen Obama turn the picture was taking. look back through the flim you mite see them talking. This is only one picture of many but this is the one we see. Time for change get out and vote. BUT REMMEBER THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SELECT THE PRESIDENT POPULAR DON'T MEAN TO MUCH

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. nancy

    Enough already, everybody knows that Hillary has alot of growing up to do. She acts like a little kid in a CANDY store.

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Lilly

    And another thing, people on here are asking, "well why should he shake hands with someone who has been attacking him?"

    Well, let me explain this. As president, he will have his opposers both nationally and internationally and will be receiving criticism because presidents, no matter their success, are always given the blame and the responsibility. So, does this mean that he won't, for example, shake hands with the president of Palestine or come to some sort of agreements, or even be cordial, with Republican party members in Congress just because they critique him or oppose him on some matter? Think about it, this guy is supposed to be the "uniter".

    Perhaps, this is being blown out of proportion, but we should still read into this to some degree.

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Jerry

    The news media is not for Hillary especaily MSNBC and Mourning Jo and Hardball with Chris Mathews

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Al in Wpg

    ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!

    You have the responsibility to pick the best person for the job, this is not American Idol. Grow up. If America is not able to be mature enough to put careful thought into who they ellect, then America does not deserve the power and prosperity it has. You have earned your recession, keep it up and you will earn your depression.

    Seriously, grow up. accept your responsibility. Is this what your grandparents fought for?

    January 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Rubiconski

    I saw the snub and I made up my mind... HILLARY CLINTON got my vote!!

    LOL! Just joking.

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY!!

    January 29, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Mirta

    Obama lacks grace and maturity. Senator Clinton acted Presidential last night. Senator Obama acted like a spolied child. All of you who are saying ":I would have snubbed her, too" are missing the point. As President, he must have a very strong sense of protocol and act as a gentleman. If he doesn't have enough piece of mind to act appropriately there, what makes you think he will properly represent our country?

    Further to the comment from Iraqi Connections: Interesting isn't it that you and I had that same thought and the media hasn't said a thing about it. Let's see...Rezcko gets money from an Iraqi businessman and makes a contribution to Obama...theoretically, wasn't this money just washed through Rezco??? The headline could read
    "OBAMA"S UNEXPLAINED IRAQI CONNECTION"

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