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. Richard

    This is probably the dumbest comment section I've ever read. I'm sure if we analyzed each one of us day in day out, we'd all be rude almost 100% of the time. Its incredibly tiring reading posts from people who just want to find one small thing to label a candidate – no matter from which side. Endorsement from Ted Kennedy? Means nothing. Doesn't speak to Hillary Clinton because he's turned to talk to someone else? He's obviously a woman hater.

    Jeesus. With this logic, we'll never elect a good president ever again.

    January 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. karl

    to say that voters should vote in the confines of their race instead of what they believe in as the clintons did in s. carolina you and mean you do not expect obama to even shake your hands.

    January 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Donna Baptiste

    I have been in this exact awkward position and may have done the same thing!.. Obama I like you, but don't hide this one.. Dude, fess up. You felt uncomfortable, snubbed her and probably regretted it but don;t lie about it bro.. it will only get worse.

    January 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Steve, Clemmons NC

    Are you people 12?

    January 29, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. RLE

    People give it a break, I agree with David S this is not an issue, stop letting the media suck you into these nonissues which takes your focus off of what is important and who is the best candidate.
    I am voting for Senator Obama because I believe that he will unite this country and he will bring about change. To me it is not important if he spoke to Hillary or not...

    January 29, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Mike D

    Sorry but this is ridiculous, Hillary supporters please stop trying to stir the pot, this is stupid, and it's making you look bad and childish.

    January 29, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Cher

    Doesn't surprise me that Obama would snub Hillary. For those of you doubting 'Thomas's'....ever watch closely his body language when he is on the stage during the democratic debates? He has the back of his shoulder turned slightly against her. This says it all. He doesnt acknowledge a woman as his equal. Could be his upbringing?

    January 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. James M, Tacoma WA

    God this is idiotic. Seriously? This is the best that the Clinton camp can conjur up? Hillary, we don't need more of this nonsense. Go away.

    January 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Ronald, NY

    I love all these Hillary supporter.


    January 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. hm

    Mr. Obama has an arrogance about him that is truly unbecoming. CNN, is there any impartiality and integrity left in the media? Your blatant favoritism towards Mr. Obama is truly shameful. Actions speak louder than words. the tv audience saw the Obama snub as it happened, yet CNN, who's always so quick to report on everything has had very little to say. I want a president who's capable of civility in any situation. If it comes down to Obama or a republican. I will vote republican, and I'm a democrat!

    January 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Louise

    Obama's story doesnt really add up...he says he turned away because Clare McCaskill called him...but David Axelrod claims Obama turned away because he didn't want Clinton to feel as though Obama was lording Kennedy's endorsement over her....Make up your minds guys....the decision you make in a split moment says a lot about your personality. Obama made the decision to ignore Hillary...so much for unity.

    January 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. KAS

    I will tell you that after the Clintons lost the Kennedy endorsement, they have gone to phase II of their smear campaign. Most of these bloggers work for the Clintons, and it's pathetic that CNN would endorse this. In response to the "CNN rates responses to Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama" notice you can't comment, and it's favoring the slimy Clintons. Also, the so called "snub" was photographed by The New York Times (who endorsed Hillary). Come on people, can't you see the Clinton regime is behind all this?

    January 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. tracey



    January 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Ben

    @ 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."

    That's sort of like how HRC voted for the Iraq war but decided to blame the President instead.

    I'm joking here but what would she do if she was president? Blame the people who voted for her?

    January 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Ken

    I thought both Obama and Hillary were very rude in the Presidential Address last night as many of the comments that President Bush made were positve about America and not related in any way to a particular party.
    They both acted childish and neither deserve to be Elected President.
    I wonder how long either would last in the Corporate world with their attitude.

    January 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. ron cherry

    So What CNN, no one really cares, it's not important. Your reporters perpeuate any animosity and instigate seemingly unnewsworthy topics. Do some real reporting.

    January 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Jessica, arlington, VA

    See!!! All you stupid people!!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Mike

    You people need to GET A LIFE

    January 29, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Ayo

    I can see Hillary fans at work, using every tactical advantage they can get. The more i listen to Hillary the less i like her.

    January 29, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. New Yorker, NYC,NY

    If Obama gets nominated i am voting republican.

    January 29, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. ChrisB GA

    Why is this an issue? How does this make news? What has this got to do with their economic plans? Is it a gender thing? What am I missing..

    January 29, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Souly

    You know all those things demonstrate cleary that Obama is not ready to be the next president of USA. I watch the video, and everyone who does so, can see that Obama is lying! Oh my God, he could say, yes I didn´t know how to do or what to do, when I saw Senators Clinton and Ted...,! It could be an excuse! But now we all have seen who is really Obama. You know those kind of things remember us how difficult it will be for Obama and the democrat Party if he get the nomination. Fortunatly he will not be nominated! Poor Obama, Hillary is like you a democrat, and whoever will get the nomination you will need to work together for the general election. You don´t look like someone who has understood that!

    January 29, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Jessica, arlington, VA

    Omg, this is so ridiculous. It shows him in the photo TALKING to someone else. You Hillary supports will say anything to make him look bad.

    January 29, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Ellie

    Saying: "Stop This" and "Who Cares" is ignoring that obviously many care. Trying to decide for whom to vote for President is more important than watching Brittney Spears self-destruct, yet millions seem to care about that...

    January 29, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. John E Lexington KY

    Obama is using the photo to say it was just a momentary turn. Accounts have it as a five minute incident. He's gotten that into his own myth thing, he couldn't be so petty so it didn't happen. The photo and his expression says different.

    If he gets the nomination, McCaskill will be his vice president – that's why she's joined at his hip. Then he can say, see – I have no problem with women, only Hillary.

    January 29, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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