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. Ryan

    This is really a story? Please don't get all Hollywood on us. This isn't Britney and Paris in a L.A. Nightclub. This is a non-issue.

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    I think we all would be surprised how many PAID Hillary staffers are on here trying to spin this into something

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Zaac

    Cliff in Arlington you are right to a degree. The fairy tale and MLK and Johnson comments from the Clintons were factual and were NOT racial. This is just what the Obama campaign made it into.

    Now I'm an independent and have no inclination to vote for anyone who is pro-choice so that kinda throws out the Democratic candidates. But as I sit back and watch this whole Democratic fiasco where folks are getting tit for tat endorsements, i'm still left to wonder how it is that the Obama camp made Hillary's and Bill's comment into something racial when they weren't, but suddenly everybody is railing against Hillary and Bill for bringing race into the campaign?

    Your statement "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." is so true. I thought that I was one of few people in the country that noticed this until after the SC results came back.

    In a state with a more than 50% Black electorate, he got 80% of that vote. That means the other 13,14, or 15% of his support came from non-Black voters. Hillary and Edwards split the rest of the non-Black vote.

    As the makeup of the rest of the states isn't close to what it is in SC, it would be impossible for Barack to win by carrying only 15% of the non-Black vote.

    And I think a lot of folks realized what his campaign had done and a lot of the across the board support he got in Iowa shifted to Edwards.

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

    WAKE UP!!! – Laurence Fishburne in School Daze

    When are you going to realize what is important.. when its too late...

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. wilma

    This incident shows, for a second time, a side of Obama, that is very revealing. The first being, when he told Hillary "Your likeable enough" in a dismissive tone, during the debate. He should accept responsibility, for his childish actions last night. Apologize & then move on. That's what grownup's do, when they get caught, making a mistake.

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Klessington

    For Nick-Houston,TX, Tom, MiMi, Ed and John17 like i said before GET OVER IT! vote for who u wish who cares!

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. A Canadian Point of View

    You call yourself the greatest democracy on earth and an example to the rest of the world?? Do you realize how foolish some of you are to say you are going to base your vote on part of a picture??? And the station that calls it the "best political team" thinks this is newsworthy??

    And the candidate whi is so called "snubbed" and is sitting back letting this rage throughout the internet...and I will bet will graciously tell what happened when the damage is already done. Very nice deflection away from the Kennedy endorsement.

    We used to admire the United States, but we really now just roll our eyes....

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Texas

    Obama did it!
    WAKE UP FOLKS!

    Why don't people question his racist church background more often rather than this stuff? Bottom line if he was white, he would NOT be getting this attention as well as if he was white he would not be running because of his questionable racist affilates!

    But he will win the election, gotta love that whitey politcally correctness...

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. gossipguy

    Barack, you are very admired, even among Republicans. Fight hard and please don't let the gruesome twosome steal delegates by getting the Michigan and Florida results to count. People are pulling for you and believe you will rise to the
    occasion.

    January 29, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Mario

    this is the BIGGEST NON issue to date...are you serious?

    January 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Toby

    I think he intentionally avoided her..call it what you want. Maybe he's intimidated or maybe he's over confident (i.e. cocky). I'm just proud of Hillary and hope she continues to rise above. The odds are against her as the media has annointed Obama as their "prince". GO HILLARY!

    January 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. tracey

    This is not an Issue, but it is an indication of what kind of character Obama really has!

    January 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Partho

    wow the Billary machine is really turned on. can we see a few tears of sadness from the honorable senator from NY at this obvious rejection! that should work for super tuesday. come now folks!

    January 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Ron

    Dennis Kucinich always behaves in most gentlemanly way. Get back on the trail DennisK!

    January 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Truth

    Obama did it!
    WAKE UP FOLKS!

    Why don't people question his racist church background more often rather than this stuff? Bottom line if he was white, he would NOT be getting this attention as well as if he was white he would not be running because of his questionable racist affilates!

    But he will win the election, gotta love that whitey politcally correctness…

    January 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Golden Chica

    This just goes to prove why Obama can't be our next president. He can't stand the heat. At least with Hillary, we know what we're getting.

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. LC

    Why did you write this article? Who does it benefit? This makes me feel so sad. We are trying to elect a president. We really don't need this kind of story.

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. California Independent

    People scream but they keep on posting. The keep on responding to this stuff.... your bloggers say they want issues, but when an issues ticker comes up, they are eerily silent. But they scurry to this. This stuff makes me laugh.

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Ovidiu

    I am agree with BP, quote:
    ” 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……”

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Cathy

    This is a non-issue. Report about something important.

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Bryce

    Does everone realize that NH was fluke and polls are normally pretty acurate. They predicted SC pretty well. ALL the national polls say HRC will win.

    Kinda says something I wonder if anyone's considered. About Teddy and his "Endorsement". It does LOOK good doesn't it.

    News Flash! All the candidates are politicians (gasp!)

    Anyone who knows the definition of "politican" knows that the Kennedys and the clintons are still friends.
    Obama is WAAAAAAY out of his league. I think it's funny, really.
    HRC is going to the general election and everyone knows it. Shes the only one who can deal with the cutthroats face to face and smile!

    And I know shes dishonest. I don't care cause the same can be said for all of them. It's who can do the job, NOT who you think is "Honest".

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Armando

    Obahma – the great divider and non-uniter
    Hillary – Commander in Chief of the United States of America

    "Madam President" just getting ready and used to saying that.

    HILLARY 08'

    January 29, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. adam

    WHO CARES? AREN'T THEIR BIGGER ISSUES. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS MANY PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT.

    NOT AN ISSUE, GET A LIFE.

    January 29, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. Petrus

    When Obama turn around to see who else around him.

    OMG Obama turn around to see who else are around him!!! He snubbed Hillary!!! The world should revolved around the Clintons!!! He should paid full attention to Clintons because they are like famous!!!

    What if Obama had looked at Kennedy and Hillary talked.

    then all those who posted about the snub will be shouting, OMG why can't he leave Kennedy and Hillary have some personal time together to talk. Do he thinks Kennedy belongs to him now??

    😉

    January 29, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Sally

    I don't know, someone that was there said he turned his back to her as she put her hand out to shake his, he is just too young and immature to be President. There are many leaders he will not agree with, and is this how he will act?

    January 29, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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