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. David Meth

    How about President Bush's very clear snub of Senator Obama? The senator extended his hand to President Bush, and the President ignored him and walked away.

    January 29, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. stan pitts pa

    HRC snubbed C NN AFTER THE PRESIDENTS SPEECH LAST NIGHT SHE SNUBBED OVER 8 MILLION VIEWERS HOW RUDE! that shows how she is going to lead, promise to do one thing and then do another another very typical!

    January 29, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Nic

    I am shocked there are over 600 comments for this type or news. and yet we complain that the media feeds us nonsense... We are definitely falling into the trap.

    Hillary does not care if Obama snubbed her and Obama does not care is he snubbed Hillary.... This is useless news.

    Come'on people!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. 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 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Eric D.

    Is it me or is the whole Hilary Camp posting here? I just see a-lot of bashing. You guys are taking this too serious. Just let them both be and just keep this race running clean.

    January 29, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Karen

    A snub or not a snub – many people in this blog keep saying it is a non-story. However, if you look deeper, there is a story and a reason for concern. If Obama did snub Clinton, how will he treat international dignitaries if they have a disagreement or they aren't sweet to him? It shows a lack of maturity on his part.

    My biggest concern about Obama is that he just doesn't have the knowledge and experience to tackle the HUGE problems DUBYA will have left when he vacates the White House. I'm all for change in Washington, but the person in the Oval Office has to have the knowledge and experience to handle uncomfortable situations in a mature manner. They can't behave like they are in the sandbox when our national security may be at stake.

    I live in Florida. I voted in that joke of a Primary today but I cast my vote for Hilary nonethess in case this nonsense about our delegates gets fixed. I never voted for Dubya and I'm not going to be blamed for the next 4 years of nonsense if we get another person in the White House without the ability to lead – not just talk about it, but actually lead.

    January 29, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. roga

    I think there is more important issues to talk about in this presidential campaign...
    let's try to be focus on what the country is souffring from and look for the strategie to cure the deases. we all know dipply that Obama is the candidate for change and unity. guys I am begging you to stop refusing to beleive what we all know is the thruth. We have to give a new start to this country and prepare the future for the next generation. we do not need the same more focks to help their friends and forget about our generation.
    I am concern because my wife and children are Americans....Americans do not what to drive a broken vehicule but a new one. so, let vote for the change we all beleive in despite our racial pride and actually do something for the country that we all love.

    American are not that stupid to vote for someone because of tears or because he tells lies on other candidates.

    January 29, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. John

    Obama denies EVERYTHING and answers nothing as usual.The real Obama –the wolf in sheeps clothing.

    January 29, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. JC

    Aww, listen to all the poor babies who think their candidate didn't get talked to. I bet they all have really bad childhood memories of being left out.

    I have a question. Why is this even a big deal?

    January 29, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Andrew Kenneth

    Well let me think for a moment,
    Clinton and Kennedy are close, hes just endorsed me, she rushes across the senate floor to greet him, she is obviously talking to him, do i just stand there
    I feel claustrophobic, I turn away either to the voice of one a senator or i just turn away.
    Clinton on the other hand obviously was running a bit emotional herself and canceled all her scheduled time with the media(She's the one always saying that the media don't give her time)
    Common people be honest, we all have these awkward protocol moments,yes including Presidents, don't forget Bush vomiting in Tokyo.
    It beats the hell out of someone having fellatio in the oval office, I hope they autoclaved that oval office

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

    WHO CARES. no one. they dont like eachother. she didnt reach out to him either. but seriously, WHO CARES.

    January 29, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois


    January 29, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Bryce

    Mike –
    We have as much right to be here as those who were here last wekk bashing Bill. And in case you didn't hear. Just cause Hillary is a woman doesn't mean she doesn't have her own identity.. Please stop combining her and Bills names. Not unless you plan on refering to Obama as Baramishelle.

    It only shows you make poor asumptions.

    January 29, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. TY

    With the kennedys in his camp obama is on a roll.
    With this endorsement, will he still be his own man?

    January 29, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Celested9

    Obama snubbed Hillary....The pictures tell the story.

    Petulant and childish...we have seen this behavior numerous times from Obama.

    1) the likable enough comment. 2) the threat of knowing about dirty politics from having grown up in Chicago. 3) the remark about HIS supporters might not support Hillary if she were the nominee, hinting that perhaps he might not be uniting behind the nominee.
    AND now this childish dissing of a colleague when she walked over to greet Teddy and Obama.

    Obama has had to explain his immature behavior over and over. Come on....we have had 7 years of immature and petulant...do we really want that again?

    January 29, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. anon

    Hillary and Bill Clinton are the most polarizing figures in American politics today. They turned the entire Conservative half of the country against them in the 90s. And they turned half of the Democratic Party against them in this Primary. Tell me how Hillary Clinton plans to win the General election when only 25% of the country would vote for her under any circumstances?

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. phyls esparza

    A wolf in sheep's clothing....

    Someone who hides malicious intent under the guise of kindliness" = Obama.....watch out he is another Bush, mark my words, no one thought that Bush would become the president he is......stubborn, new, likeable, etc!

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Jared

    Even he did intentionally snub her, all of this talk about how "
    immature" and "unpresidential" this supposed snub was is a joke.

    Firing one line accusations based on fiction in a national debate and then sitting back with a smug smirk knowing your opponent is now forced to take 5 minutes of valuable to defend himself – that is immature.

    Allowing your husband to smear your opponent at will, now to the point where racial overtones are obvious – that is unpresidential.

    Ignoring seniority rules in Senate committee meetings and now crying that Michigan and Florida's delegates should count – that demonstrates a sense of entitlement.

    Thankfully, Hillary is so unpopular outside of a small segment of hard-core Democrats, it won't matter. If she were to win the nomination, not only will she find it impossible to find votes in the Republican or Independent ranks, she's going to find that not even the whole Democratic Party supports her.

    Twenty plus years of Clintons and Bushes are enough for me. Do we have a democracy in America or an elitist political movement that will eventually result in Jeb Bush and Chelsea Clinton as two future Presidents?

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Tim, Seattle

    This is pathetic. Creating a story where there really isn't one...We should all start reading different online publications...

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Christiaan, Norman, OK

    This is, to date, the most ridiculous conversation of the entire election.

    Call me when you find some news.

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Brian, Dayton, OH

    I think I would be more apt to leave a bigger comment if this mattered. One. Bit.

    But, it does not.

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. stan pitts pa

    i cant wait for feb 5th,
    obama all the way,
    Hrc and the way,
    she treated CNN,
    she snubbed us all last nite,
    obama 08! all the way baby!

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Your Daddy

    Did Billary go out of her way to greet Obama? No?! Then I guess it was a mutual snub. Billary 1 Obama 1. What a stupid non-issue!

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Anne

    Who cares! For one, Republicans don't admire Obama and that includes minority Republicans. And as indicated by the voting thus far, many of the Democrats don't admire him either. To be honest, there's nothing to admire.

    January 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Daniel, Richmond, VA

    This is news?

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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