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. Ayo

    Bad healine from Clinton News Network...."I didn't mean to Snub Clinton" ...and you called your self a reoutable news organization.

    January 29, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. SOHAN

    HE DID TURN HIS BACK THAT WHAT HE GOING TO DO TO AMERICAN AND TURN HIS HEAD TOWARDS HIS FATHER HOME LAND

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Aaron from Riverside, CA

    Man, the Clinton supporters are DESPARATE. Can you losers talk about anything that matters? It's always "Aw, the poor victim Hillary, everyone's picking on her because she's a woman." Give me a break, you expect a double standard for women. YOU are the sexist ones.

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Pay Attention!!!

    This is only a non-story to those who do not want to look at their candidates and compare their actions to their words. Obama and his camp wants to label himself a "uniter". Well turning your back on someone and being less than cordial doesn't seem to match with the "uniter" persona... Everyone will make their own decisions. As I pay more attention to Obama, he reminds me more and more of President George W. Bush, who by the way, did not shake Hillary's hand either. He did make it over for a handshake with Obama. (not saying anything more than if he wanted to he would have) And before anyone says something about Hillary do you think she should have waited to shake the hand of someone who turned his back on her, which is considered disrespectful in many places. Look I don't like President George W, but he is the President and I will expect the position.

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. tracey

    If will take more then a Kennedy to help Obama win...even with GOD on Obama's side He's still going to lose!

    Hee Haa Hillary...We Love YOU!

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. cp

    Please, re-examine the photo.

    I see two ladies on the left looking away from Sen. Clinton. Are they snubbing her? No one has accused them of doing so.

    After everyone just had to sit through another state of the union address and was ready to move on to actually leading the country forward. The photo was snapped in a millisecond.

    I will say that Sen. Clinton approaching Sen. Kennedy was professional. However, the monthlong attacks by her and the former Pres. did not demonstrate professionalism. Mailing outright lies to New Hampshire voters are distorting facts on national television and they work because not enough journalists or voters are willing to prove lies wrong.

    Instead let's just create a circus on the direction people looked in one photo when they had already talked.

    Unfortunately, the clinton camp has dragged elements of Obama's message away from what we can do with comprehensive and inclusive leadership so that he's been forced to correct them on misstatements.

    Lastly I ask, if Sen. Obama had looked in Sen. Clinton's direction and smiled, how many of the people attacking him also would have done so for gloating about his recent landslide in South Carolina or the coveted Kennedy endorsement?

    He won Iowa and South Carolina and made up large deficits in N.H. and Nev. because people were able to see him in person instead of relying on the laziness of news "sources."

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Muharmud

    GO Obama and thank your money.

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. mike

    Sen Obama's explanation is not believable... it looked like arrogance to me for someone who is trying to reach out to everybody

    My vote just went to Clinton

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. New Yorker, NYC, NY

    If obama get nominated i voting Republican. I think alot of clintion supporter would do the same. I am not voting for ppl that from Skull and Bones

    January 29, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Zee

    I WOULD have snubbed her!

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Tracy

    O my goodness, the Republicans are working hard at increasing the division between the Democrates. Don't be decieved Obama and Clinton supports. Its the Republicans trying to downgrade and stir up confusion here.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. J, Ca

    Obama-backing idiots trying to blame this on Clintons too.
    Everytime Obama srew up just blame Clintons for it.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Mr. T

    GOP is saving the Peter Paul and Hillary Clinton story for general election. I guarantee you they will bring this up if Clinton becomes the nominee. Why do you think top democratic senators are endorsing Barack Obama? Because they know Clinton comes with a lot of baggage that could be damaging and cost the party a victory in novermber 08.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Zaac

    He's not fooling anyone. He's acting like a prissy lil liar. He turned his back to her and snubbed her. Senator McCaskill realized what he had done and stepped in to save his butt.

    He was turned away and Senator McCaskill was in the other direction. That's how he ended up facing that way again.

    For someone who is supposed to be above Washington politics as usual, he sure has learned fast how to play the spin game.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Media Nonsense

    Too many of Americans seem to conclude an opinion solely on one side of a story and it has clearly proven that fact today as I have read the posts shown on the Political Ticker today. These are the same people who continue to draw conclusions based on a picture or news report without seeing or hearing all of the facts.
    So I pose this question to those of you who are convinced that the picture shown today is so accurate, then you would also be convinced that the picture shown the other day depicting the Clinton’s With Tony Rezko is in fact accurate and that Hillary lied about knowing him right?
    Certainly is funny that there seems to be only one picture showing this image leads me to believe the rest of the film must show something their not showing, because that wouldn’t make for a lead story. So unless you were present when all this transpired you don’t know what really happened and shouldn’t continue to buy into the hype.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Robin

    You've got to be kidding me, are we being alittle bit too sensitive (oh he didn't talk to me). And the group NOW saying that Kennedy "abandon us"....this is too much. Their trying to damage Obama in every way. It's pretty sad when "they" have to lower themselves this much.Get over it.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. W. Artis

    Now who is making this about race. Wow, basically is just an excuse for people not to vote for Obama. I'm pretty sure many criticizing him have SNUBBEd alot of folk. It doesn't matter whether you running for office or not.

    We see another angle of the picture that was taken. That's what the media should have done in the first place, shown the whole entire picture instead of from an angle.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Drew

    Why is this an issue?

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Tracy

    O my goodness, the Republicans are working hard at increasing the division between the Democrates. Don't be decieved Obama and Clinton supports. Its the Republicans trying to downgrade and stir up confusion here.

    There is no issue here, as Obama has stated.

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. California Independent

    People keep complaining about the story yet continue to post.

    To Mike: thanks for the link, I've already seen the series of photos. I don't think you understand the difficulty some people have with the facts. Nice try though. Keep it up...

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. kevin

    the king of pork barrel spending and the patron saint of Alcoholics endorses a man I almost voted for, the Kennedy clan leaves to bad of a taste in my mouth now to vote for Barack

    January 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Ray Orr

    I am a conservative Republican, but please, give the man a break.

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Mel

    Why are we even talking about this? Is the fact that Obama may or may not have been disrespectful to Clinton at a single point of time going to fix the economy or end a war or give people health care? When is the last time CNN has ever posted anything about the issues?

    Is this an election or middle school dating?

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. HopesAlive

    Who cares? Hopefully come February 5th the voters will snub her too. Another term of Bush Clinton partisanship will not do.

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Dina

    I guess some people out there care about this. To those people I would say: find a hobby, or make some other kind of effort to get a life.

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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