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. joe`

    YAWN!!! i am a Hillary supporter...a democrat.
    THIS IS NOTHING. We need to stop. Please for the love of all that is holy, Let this not continue.
    So Boring!

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. JC

    What! How can Obama say he was asked a question by Claire and he turned to her! Claires mouth is tightly shut! There was no question. She's not even looking at him! Sad day. This is a snub as big as a snub can get!

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Bayousara

    This is all so childish!

    My English cousin (who lives in England) thinks it is a riot.

    He says things are like this in England, too.

    Bunch of immature idiots. And they want to run the government!

    God Save us All!

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

    So what,he didn' t shake her hand and that means? Get over it!

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Troy

    Please lets not be side tracked by nonsense, lets stick to the issues!

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Nate

    This whole story is so stupid. The media really is doing a poor job handling this Presidential race. The whole story is childish.

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Patricia

    CNN is blowing this out of proportion. But they are a news network. So get out your filters and keep them clean. Senator Obama has PROVEN he is capable of running his campaign; and is just as qualified as Sen. Clinton to be President. If you read the article Obama and Clinton had exchanged greetings when they first arrived. When Clinton walked up to Obama and Kennedy. She could have briefly re-acknowledged Obama, with a tap or a squeeze on his arm or back. And then proceeded to greet Kennedy. I don’t think there was ANY stubbing. I applaud Obama; he is not arrogant or immature. And let’s be honest the conflict is with the Clintons and Kennedys. Obama is running his campaign, in a manner that is TOTALLY acceptable to me. GO Obama!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Patrick

    lol this really showed how fickle those that hated Obama are, it's like grasping for straws on anything to paint any dirt on Obama.

    Hey when you are in a room and everyone seemed to have someone to talked to of course you bloody look around to see who else is around that you can talk to. Maybe there are friends around or maybe you can strike a conversation to get some of the delegates to vote for you.

    Furthermore what is he supposed to do? Go and look at what Hillary is talking to Kennedy? To check on Kennedy to make sure Hillary didn't steal his endorsement? Come on people, it is also impolite to eavesdrop!!!

    I bet if Obama just watched Kennedy talked to Hillary the press will be screaming Obama trying to prevent Hillary stealing Kennedy endorsement.

    You are a Dumb idiot if you believe everything what the press wrote!!

    This is just an attempt by the press to print out something because they got nothing better to report.

    January 29, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. stan pitts pa

    obama did not snob HRC, she snobbed him all year on the senat floor, like he was nobody, didnt HRC snob us all when after President Bush speech, she left without talking to CNN, without reason, or notice? How rude, left us hanging, yet the one senator obama, who most naive people on this site are bashing, took the time to give us his thoughts on the speech, Actions do speak louder, obama 08!

    January 29, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. tracey


    January 29, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Rashieka

    This is so ignorant and childish i know the media has something of more importance to report on then a supposed "snub". I feel like I'm watching an episode of Seinfield, where they're debating on wether it was a snub or not pure ridiculousness!!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. M.Lewis

    Wow, I guess HRC campaign is in full affect on CNN, actually CNN we need to have some more unbias support of OBAMA, the Clintons can make racist comments and OBAMA didnt turn around and he is snubbing Hilary, I guess a BLACK leader needs to know his place in politics huh?.. .Yes masta!

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Raed

    CNN , seriously, are we talking about this? can someone tell me why Clinton didnt talk after the Speech on CNN, why she cancelled without apology? isnt that disrespectful to all those who wanna hear all different views on the speech.

    So he didnt shake her hands, I dont blame him after all the lies her campaign was pushing about him either being non christian or other things, if they call it a war then i dont think enemies shake hands that often unless they were liars with two faces.

    I dont think this is something that should concern the voters, As John Edwards keeps saying its ABOUT ISSUES, com'on guys,, when Clinton can make sense while she is talking and give me some ideas to admire her, I would stay in the Obama camp for now, at least I can see inspirational person who can energize the nation towards upper grounds.

    CNN focus please on the main issues, in 10 years people will keep talking about issues, and the SPeech not if someone shook hands or not.

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Joyce S

    From that angle you can't tell who was reaching out to who...Senator
    Kennedy was reaching out to someone also..and unless they were sitting down and
    we can't see them..he wa reaching out to Senator Clinton..That
    expression on Senator Obama's face however says a lot.

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Mrs. Green

    Did Clinton acknowledge Obama or was it his sole responsibility to acknowledge her?

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. LE

    He should have been more aware, it shows just how naive he (Obama) really is in politics/media. Obama has a long way to go. Unfortunately, the country doesn't have the luxury of giving him time to grow up.

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. George W

    I can't wait to sit back and listen to all the poor people across this ESL nation and try to find a solution to fix the problems the Democrates have created. I have beer to drink, LATER ALLIGATOR
    Sickem Hill....

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. mia


    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Josh, KW, Fl.

    I have NO Doubt What-So-Ever that if Bill Clinton "Had Done The Exact Same Thing" to Obama, the media, Teddy & the rest of Washington would be Screamin' "Racist, Racism, No respect for a black man & on & on &..."! But, because Obama did it, "There Had To Be an oversight, misunderstanding, OR ?" Because Obama, "The Chosen One", would NEVER do that Intentionally or out of spite to any woman or man! We ALL Just Misunderstood & Jumped to Conclusions! (Yeah, Bull!)

    January 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Senkump

    Stupid Clinton .... You don't deserve anything. You are frustrated with Obama's success and your campaign is now finding new ways to work against Obama. This photo must have been taken by someone who supports Clinton and now finding new ways to escalate the situation. This election is getting very dirty every day.

    January 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Tyler Blackstone

    Blame the media for creating something out of such a non-issue. The "Newsertainment" that we are subject to by CNN, FOX and all others is disgusting. God forbid they report actual news.

    And BTW, for those of you who are quick to judge let me ask you this. Were you there? Did you witness this so called "snub" firsthand? If not then open your mind a little to the situation before deciding what really happened and what didn't.

    January 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Gobama

    roger, conway sc January 29, 2008 2:23 pm ET

    You are spot on about the media.

    Let's bear in mind, people, that the media is PRIVATE BUSINESS that exists by DRAWING ATTENTION TO ITSELF for the purpose of advertisement DOLLARS, not social harmony and patriotism.

    And the media will prostitute itself IN ANY WAY to gain attention/'hits'.

    That is why it is so important to vote for someone like Senator Obama who knows the immense value of educated citizens.

    If citizens are more educated and less petty, then the media will never be able to attract the attention of educated citizens with these childish and manufactured kindergarten stories.

    January 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Analyst

    Whew...I'm relieved to hear Barak and Hillary do get along. I suspect there are some awkward moments between the two. Only natural.

    January 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Dan, NJ

    Good thing there aren't issues to talk about.

    January 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. KZ_Guy

    Oh sure that was a snub. Obama looked like a spoiled child that did not get his way. Please someone look at Obama's resume and tell me if a white man with the same resume whould be considered presidential material? NO WAY!! Has he ever been a governor; is he a retired General Officer; has he ever been a CEO?
    If Obama is elected he will be eated alive in Washington. He will not be able to accomplish anything without the good old boys support..

    January 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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