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. gggrrr

    Kennedy supported the loser Kerry. Now, he is supporting Obama. I think he is a joke and a jinx to a potential president of this country.

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Henry CA

    I was shocked when I saw it. It is worse than "You are likable enough, Hilary".
    He has not learn his lesson.

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. tracey

    HEY... "Yes We Can..Brain Wash YOU"

    The issue is...Obama's character is called into question.

    News flash, the charater of a President is important!

    Go Vote for Hillary!

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. caesar

    Barack transcends any of this childish drama. Let the survivor episode/Hollywood reality viewing public soak this crud up and corrupt their minds further. It's too bad that our nation is degenerating into a nation where we elect presidents based on how the power of the Media displays them to be. I am continuously losing faith in our collective representation of this country.
    We have a chance to elect someone who could repair our image in the world, and yet people would rather perpetuate a dynasty/tyranny based on human behavioral semiotics and gestures, kinesics, body posturing, etc... when they aren't even specialists on analyzing such things.
    Can't you see!!! This sort of analysis of human behavior is not much different that being judgemental, or having prejudices based on race, becasue what you think should happen doesn't!
    Stop being judgemental! It leads to racism.

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

    Obama deliberately ignored Senator Clinton. She was facing him and he turned his back to her. Time to grow up. Play the tape. The truth in in that tape and photos.

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Tim

    You people are all insane and the amount of time you are devoting to this should nullify your vote.

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Joe

    Arrogance, sense of entitlement, attacking anyone who questions his past as liars (surrogates raise the race card) — we saw all this in 2000 when our current Prez was running for office.

    A vote for BUSHAMA is a vote for “FOUR MORE YEARS”

    January 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Independent

    To all those immature people that say that Obama snubbed Hillary:

    He waved at her when they first met in the hall. Then when Obama is on the way when she is reaching out for Kennedy, it is a nice gesture to turn away instead of standing still and watching/hearing them talk.

    THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE. GROW UP !!!

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Dennis

    This is an issue? Really? Big deal. Don't we have something more important to discuss? Or, is this going mole hill going to get turned into a mountain too? I guess we shouldn't be surprised given the tenor of the primaries so far. Everything of consequence is ignored and trivial matters like this get debated for meaning and blown out of proportion into indications of how each of the candidates will act as President.

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Op.Ob

    Forget democrat and vote Republican for 2008. We need to find a president work for people of the United States. "Bringing the Universe together to live as one"

    is old go home and younth go work

    is illegal immingrates have right to live to drive to work to use our Midcal and you work to paying they live here

    is if I am a poor is your false

    is I can not work is your false

    is I stay home and dance on stree and you have pay it

    is your money? You do not want to give me!

    Go OBa!!! The Universe together to live as one!

    I need your money $$$$

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Jay

    Who cares if he does not want to talk to her. How many of you have people you do not talk to. People are quick to insult Bush and no one has anything to say about that. Give me a break!!

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

    The more this politic is shown the more I lost my trust and respect for Barack Obama.

    The comment from Obama's supportors does bother me a lot in term of double standard and lack of logic.

    I'm considering to not vote in general election at all if Barack Obama wins the primary.

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Steve, NYC, NY

    Let's see...
    Rezco contributions and below market price property
    Ads in Florida against Dec agreement
    Snub and denial

    Change? What change?

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Sharon

    Imagine–Ted Kennedy and the Clintons are friends and mutual supporters for years, and Ted endorses another candidate, very publicly. If I had been in Obama's exact position last night, I would have turned aside in deference to the situation, and to allow Clinton and Kennedy a little privacy. Regardless of our political persuasions and choices, let's not succumb to rampant cynicism and rash judgment! I wonder, had Obama stood silently smiling next to Kennedy as he greeted Clinton, would his opponents have accused him of gloating?

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Michael Jefkins

    Wow, people really are watching cable news too much these days. Obama has no reason to snub Hillary, this is a non-issue. Funny that America might get a great president because of a writer's guild strike.

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. OUT W/ THE OLD

    WHO CARES IF HE DID OR DIDN'T!! IS THIS ACTUALLY AN ISSUE TO DO A FULL STORY ON? SEEMS LIKE THE MEDIA, AKA CNN, IS CREATING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING! I THOUGHT NEWS AGENCIES WERE SUPPOSED TO REPORT THE NEWS AND NOT CREATE IT??

    SO FAR THIS STORY GOT 720 COMMENTS. YOU KIDDING ME? WHERE ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE DURING A NON ELECTION YEAR WHEN REAL ISSUES ARE AT STAKE, LIKE THE PEOPLE OF NEW ORLEANS GETTING WATER, DARFUR, THE ENVIRONMENT,EDUCATION. THESE ISSUES AND MORE ARE PREVELANT AND HAVE BEEN PREVELANT FOR YEARS!

    ALL OF YOU LOOK TO HILLARY AND OBAMA TO HELP SOLVE THESE ISSUES, BUT THE PROBLEM IS IF AMERICANS WEREN'T SO LAZY AND GOT UP AND DID SOMETHING TO HELP, AMERICANS WOULDN'T HAVE TO RELY ON A SAVIOR TO FIX ALL OF THE PROBLEMS. THE PEOPLE ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. michael, grand prairie tx.

    So What, If he did nt snub her he should have.

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. get a life part deux

    Thats it! Where is Pat Paulson when you need him to run.
    A little levity will go along way until October...

    Any Democrat has GOT to be better than what we have suffered with W.
    The bar has been set quite low.

    BTW-IF I TYPE IN ALL CAPS IT MEANS THAT I REALLY MEAN IT AND IT MUST BE TRUE.

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Patricia

    In my native language, that kind of gesture is just plain bad manners, its the kind your Mother taught you as you grew older....also we called "playing dumb"...

    it gets certified as such when the subject inq uestion, says "I did not do it"

    gotcha!

    January 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. dantheman

    oh....my.....gooodnesss. He didn't shake her hand? That does it! He lost my vote.. GOOD ONE Obama.

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. nursevic

    After weeks of media gangbanging Hillary it's Barack's turn! Maybe we can also comment on male body parts.

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Luke

    Pathetic attempt at news.... come on CNN......what are you a tabloid now?

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Ray

    Almost 1000 comments!! So those who think its not news to them..It is to others. I guess because it's not a pro-Nobama article then its not news. I guess Obama Cult members are as big of baby's as Nobama is himself!!

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Ken

    This picture speaks for itself. Don't you see Barrack talking to Claire McCaskill.

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Mike, San Francisco

    Jeeezzzzz, you Clinton people............really, really, REALLY NEED TO BUY A CLUE & GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Such a NON-ISSUE!!!!

    So what???????????? Who Cares???????????????????????????????????

    January 29, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83