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. Nick in Atlanta

    I'm absolutely amazed at the amount of people acting like they're offended that Obama may or may not have snubbed Clinton. Give me a break! It's a crowded room, he's talking to someone else. It's not like any of you have not made mistakes and not even noticed someone was talking to the person next to you in a similar situaton. I'm sure all of your spouses can attest to that!

    January 29, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. twan

    "I didn't have snubbing relations with that woman"
    ..LOL!!!!!! now that was funny!!!!!!!!


    January 29, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Gail

    Drama. We women love it. Although it is uncalled for.

    January 29, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Devo, San Antonio, TX

    Wow, I really can't believe people are buying this, drink the Kool-Aid everyone, it's tasty!

    January 29, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Zaac

    Jessi, in Florida says " I will be truly disappointed if this trivial instance plays a role in anyone's decision about the election"

    I feel the same way about the celebrity endorsements. Why should anyone care who Toni Morrison, Ted Kennedy, or Maya Angelou are supporting? If that's what folk's decisions are based upon, they shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    Now can I ask something of all of the Obama supporters,, and I prefeace this again by saying that I'mm an independent who isn't voting for either Hillary or Obama.

    Obama is running on a platform of change. What is he offering to change? I look at his platform and he's offering the same things as democrats have offered for decades with his own little twist as do all the candidates.

    So what is this change he keeps speaking of?

    January 29, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. justbehonest

    Obama, it is obvious you didn't want to talk to her. Just be honest. Do you have an excuse for everything?

    Wait, I'm being a racist because I'm questioning you on issues and your conduct? – The same way Hillary gets roasted every minute of every day. Wait, your black, I'm not supposed to do that and if I do, the media will say I'm playing the race card to put you on the same pedestal.

    Oh yea, I'm black myself.

    Hillary 2008.

    January 29, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Nancy

    Obama, Sen Claire Caskill wasn't even looking your way. She had her eyes closed and was turned in the other direction. He is a winer and you kind of get the idea that he will deny everything he does that he would be called on to explain. I can just hear him after he screws up, "I didn't do that". My kids never got away with that. People have to get smarter. I'm tired of putting up with lousy presidents, aren't you?

    January 29, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Duboiz

    Don't you guys realize it's the same 10 Clinton supporters posting the same crap over and over.

    It's laughable. Let them have their moment. We will be sure to smile and shake hands with Senator Clinton during President Obama's inauguration!

    Obama '08

    January 29, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. EMH, Atlanta

    Slow news day???

    January 29, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. get a life

    yeh I got pushed down, called a sissy and had my lunch money taken from me today! I'm telling my mom!
    Whaaaa. How about focusing on jobs, the economy and getting someone who can run this country in office?

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Frank

    I have something new to do a story for CNN because obviously they are lacking real news to report:

    -Take a snapshot of Obama while he is drinking the morning coffee and if he blinks more than twice, than it's a sure sign that he doesn't like Hillary. Or how about asking him if he has any pictures of Hillary anywhere in the house and if he doesn't, then He "snub" Hillary again!

    By the way, what the hell is this now? Hillary soon come out in an empress cloak and we all must bow at her majesty?

    To hell with Hillary !

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Sam

    OBAMA will win and give all of whitey's money to South Africa..

    It's your own fault..

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Mike


    You just confirmed what I've been telling people. Most southern Whites are some of the most racist people on this planet!!

    What do you mean if he was white? That's all we've had were white candidates.

    Bill Clinton got much worst criticism than Obama!

    Are you questioning the church that Mitt goes to. Oh, that's right, he a white man and you are going to support him!!

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Mike

    He didn't snub her: He AVOIDED her. I would too. What do they have to talk about? They debate each other once a week!

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Danny

    really, this is what people wanna talk about? thats all they got from the State of the Union? lets just say he did it on purpose, WHO CARES?!! these two obviously are fighting for the nomination, so why do peope expect them to be fake towards each other? its not like Clinton tried to say "hello" to Obama and he ignored her, they both did not acknowledge each other. so...WHO CARES?!!

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. JAS

    We don't know a lot about Obama but every time we find out a little something it's just not positive. He gives a good speach but his actions don't match his words. I think this initially seems like a small issue but there is an underlying tone to it. There is to much time until the election and if he gets the democratic nomination the republicans will walk all over him as his "true" colors come out.

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. will

    eric please grow up who cares if he did snub hillary, honestly if you and your spouse had been lying on me for the past month i too would have snub and you!!!
    stop trying to act like hillary is innocent. just stick to the politics. it is people like you that are causing problems that should not be. don't start side-tracking because hillary has no foundation without dirty politics.

    January 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. Nick in Atlanta

    Mike818 – You're right Mike we should be scared of his foreign policy because he may send aid to Kenya. Are you SERIOUS? Have you ever LOOKED at the foreign aid we send out? We give aid to over 150 countries. We spend literally billions in foreign aid to Israel. But I should be scared to death over a President who may say, "Hey this troubled area needs a little cash to get them up and going again..." Give me a break!

    January 29, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. Mike818

    The reason why people support Hillary is because once in the early 90's we experienced one of the greatest economic booms and that was under Bill...so I vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill

    January 29, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Ray

    Those who think Obama is pure and with high moral standards, please wake up and look at the real person. This guy can do the same to other world leaders simply because they do not agree with him on issues if he becomes the president. This also shows Obama's inexperience and lack of diplomatic skills.

    January 29, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Listen, Hillary is not a racist. Barack is not rude. Hillary is not strident. Barack is not arrogant. The two have far more in common than we realize (but I believe they do realize it). It is time for all of us to give them the air and space they need to be the good people that they are.

    We, all of us - the voters, the fanatical supporters and the media - bring out the worst in these candidates. We're all slaves to the horse race. Shame on us all for valuing personality over policy. Shame on us for putting our candidates through this weird circus that results in bad behavior on the part of everybody.

    Go, Hillary! Go, Barack! Deep in our hearts we love you both!

    January 29, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. mike

    all you hillary volunteers can now go to the nasty troll section of the cnn blogs. talk about sensationalism... OH MY GOD DID YOU HEAR? Bunch of old ladies and gossip drama queen nonsense

    January 29, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. Anne-Marie Armstrong

    It is another case of the media trying to be the message and trying too hard. Give it up and let us alone.

    January 29, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Sam

    Mike 818

    Obama – will send all money to africa (after all, the violence there is whitey's fault again)!
    Let him win, it's our own fault...

    January 29, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. tracey

    We're all too imature to vote, says one blogger...How 'bout Obama's too imature to be President of the free world..:)

    January 29, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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