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. Joseph DeSousa

    Talk is cheap and action speak louder than words...

    For months I have been commenting how America needs to eb carefull of how one cmes accross in good speach no matter what color or gender....

    It's time we realize that this young man may be a great president after Hillary gets the country in the right direction. Or maybe as Vice president under her wings.

    January 29, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Gary of West Hollywood

    It is CNN's fault. All they do is create an issue that is pro-Obama. All their headlines are OBAMA. Not even a pic of Hillary. I was expecting to have a pic to the Hillary/Mc Cain leading California article, but nothing, not even a front page article. I lost respect for CNN. Very biased information. CNN wants Obama to win since he can be an easy lost to the Republican. They cannot beat HILLARY!

    We will support Hillary all the way, even without CNN. We know in our hearts, people like her and she will win it. Proving this is her big lead in national polls. GO HILLARY!

    CNN, pls. post this. Thanks

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

    Since we are all so foolishly bent around talking about a snub.......................

    What about the 140,000 snubs Hillary did to the loyal South Carolina people who supported her, by getting out of Dodge because she lost......

    or perhaps the grandest snub of all.(a kick in the groin actually).... to all her supporters anxiously waiting in front of their television sets across the nation, after enduring the very painful speaking ability of GW to hear her thoughts, wisdom and grand insight of Bush's last SOU address and what it meant to her, to her campaign......only to back out at the last second with no reason given.

    Like I said above "Since we are all so foolishly bent around talking about a snub......................."

    January 29, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Aaron from Riverside, CA

    WHO CARES?! If this affects you're vote, you're a moron.

    January 29, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. D Jones, Chapel Hill, NC


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

    It's clear our survivor episode/Hollywood drama loving culture is already predisposed to analyze human behavior like this.
    Therefore –
    We just soak it all up, and base all of our voting decisions based on stuff like this.

    How proud I am to be American.
    No wonder our nation has progressively gotten worse since WWII and now find ourselves to be in the world predicament we are in.

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

    Let's find another reason to drive people away from the real issues. Is this all that people have to do with their time? Seriously, if I cared about every single thing that someone wrote I wouldn't even bother to vote. Some of this stuff that comes up on these websites is absolutely ridiculous. Please let's stick to the issues at hand and get away from all of the petty non-sensical stories that aren't even newsworthy. All I want out of my presidential candidate is someone who is actually going to live up to all of the promises that they are making during this campaign. I don't care if they "snubbed" someone or not, please do not make something into news that has no bearing on the outcome of the upcoming elections.

    January 29, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. R. Fuentez

    Ummm... hello! The look on his face as he is walking away says it all. When will people look beyond the inspirational speeches and see the guy for what he is? A prideful, ego maniac who can't even finishes his first term as a Senator before going for the highest office in the land. There is a lot this nation doesn't know about Senator Obama. The writing is on the wall.

    January 29, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Cliff Baker, Arlington, TX

    From the news story, McCaskill commented about the "snub" incident: "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." I agree with Mc Caskill. And I want to add that that the Clintons' "fairy tale" and "MLK and Johnson comparison" comment is also one of those things it's being blown into something that wasn’t.

    It is sad that the TV and printed presses (including the commemtators and pundits) INJECT RACE to the Democratic's Presidential Race.

    The media FOOLISHLY took the baits from Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn and turns the "fairy tale" comment by former President Clinton, and the "MLK and Johnson" comment by Senator Clinton into the race issue. The fairy tale and MLK and Johnson comments from the Clintons are factual and are NOT racial.

    The media took the “race card” spins from Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn. The truth is the Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn play the race card and successfully manipulated the press.

    Congressman Clyburn is NOT neutral. There is nothing wrong for Congressman Clyburn to perform his civic duty by voting for Senator Obama at the polling place. However, Congressman Clyburn is disingenuous for manipulating the press (particularly Joe Scarborough) to wrongly accuse the Clintons of playing the race card.

    I witnessed Congressman Clyburn used Joe Scarborough of the Morning Joe shown on the S.C. election day. On this particular show Congressman Clyburn implied that the Clintons' "fairy tale" and "MLK/Johnson" comments are "RACIALLY MOTIVATED code words. Joe Scarborough stupidly bought Congressman Clyburn race-bait's trick.

    January 29, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. m

    He definitely snubbed her and as usual stretched the truth when making his statement or was asked about it. I can't put my finger on it or even tell you exactly why ,but I don't trust this rookie any further than I can throw him. Just not Presidential material in my eyes, I have watched the debates, and campaign coverage, done some research and can find nothing that tells me what he truly stands for, records that show what he stands for, etc. other than campaign sound bites. Is America so stupid as to elect another sweet talker like they did the last two elections? I certainly hope not.

    January 29, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. S. Hunt

    ROFLOL It sure was a snub. Turning his back on his opponent, yes, I bet he'll sure get a whole lot accomplished if he wins. Just don't face your adversaries.

    I don't for a second believe either of them didn't know where the other was. He knew, he chose to ignore her, and now he is back-peddling.

    January 29, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. thinkunbiased

    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.

    is it true? Where did you get that info? The republicans will have a field day!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Andy

    Don't make excuses Obama. I don't know anyone that would want to shake her hand. Its a pretty universal feeling.

    January 29, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. No!!!

    dee think about it, he is saying come out vote here for change(he is not saying come & vote for me, that;s incentive he knows people fall for him & get him vote) to win votes. It's all about winning votes for Obama, he doesnot know what he is getting into, no idea any resolution for any issue that we are facing.As far hillary voting for war, I think it was something like Obama is saying present 300 times when he could have said No. Hilary was just senate,didn't have power to make decision, now if she is president she can use her experience, love for the country and will also have power to make solutions reality.

    January 29, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Rick

    Usually I go to the Enquirer and US Weekly to check out paparazzi style snap shots of famous people appearing to do things that they may or may not be doing. I'm glad to see that I can now get the same type of quality journalism from CNN.

    January 29, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. D.

    It's amazing how Hillary Supporters work so hard to split hairs.

    Give me a break. And you guys had nothing to say when Hillary didn't even deliver a concessions speech. When she actually saw that she was losing in SC and just completely abandoned the state. You talking about a snub. Hell Hillary snubbed a whole state. Give me a break. This petty "American Idol" "Real World" Drama.

    Amazing! Hillary supporters are starting to sound like G. Bush supporters. It's Hillary first no matter what and when she gaffs, you feel sorry for her,and excuse her obvious mistakes and tactics. "Ready from day one?" Look at the mistakes and change of tactics, stealing campaign slogans, change of messages that she has already performed and it's only been a few months.

    She can't even get her campaign right. Please, please, for the sack of our children allow us to move forward. Please rethink your support for Hillary. She miscalculated in 2004 when she didn't run and could have won. Now, however, there is no way that she (this idea of co-presidency) can win a general elections. Face it she has run an awful campaign and if she plans to run the country and foreign affairs the same way, then here we go again, more of the same.

    And if he snub her. Who cares, it's not like she is above snubbing. The woman could even provide a just concession speech.

    January 29, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. JohnS

    Gosh, what people DO NOT understand about the Clintons is that they like to set people up for "awkward" situations, only to get snubby responses back, period!

    What Hillary did during the State of the Union address was to put Obama in such an awkward situation that the media would get DISTRACTED about Obama's wide sweep or win in SC.

    This style of relating to people is exactly WHY THE REPUBLICANS HATE the GUTS of the CLINTONS; I do not blame Clinton haters.

    For the UNEDUCATED, please read several BOOKS out there by prominent writers (e.g., KB), who know Hillary VERY WELL ,and have written extensively about her style of relating to people. Part of the problem with this NATION is that people simply DO NOT READ, PEOPLE DO NOT READ, PEOPLE DO NOT READ!!!!!! OMG!

    Finally, those who think the Republicans are AFRAID of Hillary are either very, very DUMB, MENTALLY INSECURE, or FAILED BASIC HISTORY LESSONS!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Bentley Peters

    It is probably no big deal and that seems to be the way Sen. Clinton–she is Sen. Clinton, but the way, not Hillary to all of us. However, there are a growing number of Reagan like Teflon moments in Sen. Obama's campaign. I voted for him 3 years ago and have not grown in my appreciation. He has a hard time being completely straight rather just brushes off any criticism. Didn't mean what he was understood to say about Reagan; Rezko not really a big deal even though he is today in jail and has been a major donar; buying the house through Rezko again no big deal and this while he was writing letters as a US Senator to help Rezko and this has been investigated and reported by the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune and CNN; I'm an outsider and have David Axelod as my campaign manager–a 3 year Dem. insider working for every candidate around; a part of the Daley machine, but that is no factor for him, right? On and on. Obama seems like a nice man, is a churchman, has done a few things in the Senate–ethics bill–but how does anyone know that he is a unifier and can bring anew spirit to DC. We heard that in 2000 and 2004 and that worked well!! I wish I didn't think so, but I think more and more Obama is an empty suit who made on speech that has people thinking JFK and MLK. I don't think so.

    January 29, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. angela

    And.... why is this news? If he did snub her, "So What!" Why does it matter?

    January 29, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Roxanne

    Wonder why Hillary's camp is not commenting on this?


    Get a life, people...this is not the 6th grade where you cry because someone didn't say hello!

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |

    Obama sure snubbed Mrs.Clinton, thats childish and not statesman like conduct. Barrack still needs some political growing up to do.

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Al, Los Angeles, CA

    Lilly, your comment is about the only pro Billary comment that makes any sense.

    I don't agree with you, but you aren't just peddling divisive half truths.

    All the haters on both sides are only helping the other camp.

    People are firmly committed will cheer the hate, but those in the middle will be repulsed.

    What I see in that pic is Ted Kennedy smiling at Hillary, saying "I warned you, you should have backed off", as he stands beside Obama.

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Nicole

    Is there nothing else going on? I'm fairly sure, and this may be because I'm one of those "bleeding hearts", there is some family that's homeless due to a fire or slumlord of anything more worthy of coverage than this.

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. JohnX2

    yaah so why is Clinton 'News' Network (CNN) reporting this agian?...oh yah. Maybe if they put add "snub" and obama to healdine ppl will autiomatically interpret it as he snubbed her and say YES EVIDENCE not a uniter!! YES WE FINALLY GOT HIM SCOTTY! ...get over your selves.

    I am happy Obama doesn't think HIllary is someone special he has to run after, if she wants to say hi to him she will come up to him and say hi, otherwise he has more important things to worry about!

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Jack in MA

    I think we have another George Bush in the making in the democratic party... false hopes of inclusiveness, not admitting even when caught, etc... Obama = Bush in the making

    January 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 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