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. Jessica, arlington, VA

    LOL....this entire story is like an episode of Seinfeld. Based on NOTHING.....lolol

    January 29, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. JJ

    Your moderator appears to have some arbitrary rules for inclusion.
    Please advise.

    January 29, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. hilma johnsen

    Well, itsn't that interesting for Barack to be on the other end of the stick and say "it was sorta tea leaf reading"........ come on, when Bill Clinton is being accused of trashing Barack he (Barack) was outraged ....... they made all kinds of talk about it........ I think he (Barack) just shows a side of him that bothers me....... I praise Hilary for stepping in to shake hands with the Kennedy's.......... shame on the Kennedy's....... I am so disappointed in them for endorsing Barack – a new comer who hasn't even been in the Senate long enough to know the ropes........... or is it the plan that "the ole boys will put Barack in training"........ then how much "change" will there be folks?.......... Talk about dividing the party............. what a shame on all you Democrats – those that aren't paying attention and those that are letting this go on!!


    January 29, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Candice - TN

    Is Jessica Yellin a Hillary supporter trying to stir things up in favor of Clinton so we'll feel sorry for her and vote for her just as in NH when she shed those crocodile tears or is Jessica Yellin an incompetent reporter?

    January 29, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. maryla225

    Always an excuse.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Mike

    These recent actions by Obama is troubling to me.

    Like the other day, he said that 'this election is between the past vs. the future" and he is against political dynasties. Then yesterday he embraced the endorsement of Ted Kennedy. Is that what he meant?

    All along he is saying that he is a uniter. This SOTU incident is definitely a snub, the video says it all. C'mon, why not give him a truth serum or lie detector test.

    Sorry NOnama, I will not buy your snake oil.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Heidi

    January 29, 2008 2:16 pm ET

    It is the afternoon the day after. If this is not scripted, I do not know what is. Why did it take Senator Obama this long to come up with a statement. This statement from Barack also undoes the damage control done by David Axelrod on his behalf early this morning when he stated Senator Obama was allowing Clinton and Kennedy to have a private moment. These type of contradictions are simply left to rookies. We want this bufoon to be our next president? What a joke!!!

    If you would read the artical from earlier yu could see that David Axelrod said he thinks!!!!! Obama was campaigning today in Kanas which is mor ethen likely why it took him so long to respond.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Stewart O.

    I agree with you. Obama plans on bringing the Universe together to live as one. This a faire teller. He will be more problams to this country. President of the United States, I don't think so.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. ryan

    Unintentional or not, the issue is petty. This is just another opportunity of Billary ’08 supporters to point a finger and distract the American people from the real issues. And why are Billary supporters so against Obama? Where is this hatred coming from? Are you trying to hand the Republicans another 4 years in the White House? Let’s focus on uniting the Democratic Party, not tearing it apart.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Eric

    SERIOUSLY?? Is THIS news??

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. CHERYL


    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. MJS

    OH! NO! Not another I did not do or say, what you just saw me do or say from Obama

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Ryno

    You have to wonder, if she is so disrespected among her colleagues, how can we expect the military to respect her. You guys DO realize we're hiring a commander-in-chief, not a nanny, right?

    Obama '08.

    Hillary never.

    January 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Tony

    It is so obvious this guys is a lair. Why don't you man enough to say sorry and move on! Shame on you OBAMA HUSS....

    January 29, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Al in Wpg

    You are all too imature to vote

    January 29, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Bev, Houston

    Everyone of you bloggers making a bid deal out of this incident need to get a life.

    I would snub her over and over if she was in my face.

    GROW UP!!!

    January 29, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. MJE WPG


    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. case

    CNN is becoming, or has become a tabloid...this is a joke of a story...!! What is this the Drudge report.

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Annie

    How come every time Obama is caught doing something wrong he has an excuse? In the picture you showed us he snubed Hillary. And he still denied it. Why are all these men picking on a woman. I'm sorry the the men that are behind Obama can"t see the real change and that's having a women in the white house. If these men really wanted change they would put there proud behind them and vote for Hillary. I don't know about you but I don't want a cry baby or a winer in the white house. We need someone who could clean up the mess and take the pressure.

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    This blog is making me dumber by the minute.

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Theresa

    For those of you who don't think it isn't a big deal, if this was the other way around I wonder what the Obama people would be thinking?

    It says a lot about his charactor.

    We are putting another President Bush in the White House.

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Confused

    Who cares? Don't have your Britney Spears gossip fix for the day so you have to turn to this? Wow.

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Amanda, AZ

    Why lie?? Same old "I am misunderstood" crap!!!

    I like others - cannot wait for February 5th!!!

    Hillary 08

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Jay B

    Jessica Yellin doesn't have the IQ of my cat! The litter box seems to be her main reporting desk. HOW DID SHE EVER GET HIRED?????

    January 29, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Denise

    Let's all snub CNN and the New York Times.

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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