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. Jay

    Hillary a mother and a woman can not even say am sorry to a grieving mother who's lost her son or daughter in an war she (hillary) voted for. What kind of a woman and mother does that.
    Even the men, Edwards, Dodd and Baiden had the courage to say they were sorry.

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. JC, Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Anybody (like me) who can read body language and facial expressions can plainly see that he is snubbing the woman. Bad move, Barack.

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. jmh

    Way to bring everyone together Obama!

    It was a snub......but the media will let him slide by again.

    By the way, what does he stand for again? Oh yeah, not sure because the media only talks about what a great speech he can give.

    Not enough to be leader of the free world for me....

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Julia

    You or the media are making a mountain out of a molehill. You want to discredit Obama, so anything you can find that seems display him in a negative light, you will. This is one of the reasons why you can't get good people to run for high office. You shed a person to pieces until no one wants to be put out to dry.
    Be positive. Everything is not always as it seems.

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

    C'mon, CNN. You had "Obama: I didn't snub Clinton" on your hompage and now you've changed it to "Obama: I didn't mean to snub Clinton," though this page still says the former. Quit handling him with kid gloves and quit censoring my comments!

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. VALERIE

    Hillary clearly reached across three people to shake Kennedy"s hand including Obama. The polite for her to have done was to shake Obama's then Kennedy's hand. She obviously snubbed Obama IMO.

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    wait 'til next tuesday. He will wish he would have respected her.

    CLINTON 2008

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Sara

    I don't think I will decide who I will vote for based on this issue............true or untrue. I'm just ready for the stinkn' election so we can have some real news online and on television!

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. seyi

    As someone mentioned earlier... This is the most stupid thing to dwell on. How many people have you snubbed (if that's the case) in your life for various reasons. Buckle up hillarites. You can do way better, you are going to need it for the pressure. Obama camp is not focusing polls... even deadlier.

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Zaac

    He flat out lied and is now trying to cover it. Stiil waiting on someone to tell me what change his platform is based upon .

    From what I've read, there's no difference between what he is offering and what Hillary or Edwards is offering. People just like him more.

    So where's the change?

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. stan pitts pa

    yeah i dont think he ignored her, and even if he did i wouldnt blame him much, it at least would be an honest reaction to a false person HRC with a false smile, HRC can smile to your face and stab you in the back, not everyone likes someone like that!

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. JON PHILP

    THIS PHOTO COULD ALSO SAY " KENNEDY TURNS HIS BACK ON OBAMA AND WELCOMES CLINTON"

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

    Mike818, your comment is stupidest thing ever. When was it a crime to aid people in distress? Your type is the very reason there is a war in Iraq and a conflict in Kenya!

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Above the Fray

    Bravo, Caesar. Your comments are right on. The fact is, we all like the candidate(s) we like, we don't like the candidate(s) we don't like, and our individual perceptions of all events are shaded and inflluenced by our personal preferences.

    January 29, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. DaddyD

    Eric January 29, 2008 2:11 pm ET
    "So Obama, Axelrod, and McCaskill all say that Obama did not snub Hillary. Do you expect them to say anything else? The media and voters will have to decide what this snub looked like to them. "

    You think voters will vote for a presidential candidate based on whether or not someone might possibly have snubbed another canidate? Wow. The fate of the nation on a handshake. I guess those would be the same voters who voted for Bush 'cause he'd seem like a nice friendly person to have a beer with.

    January 29, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Tom , Flagstaff, AZ

    Obama did not snub Hillary. No doubt about it. However, given what a liar and cheat she is, I would not blame him if he had.

    January 29, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Bill

    Oh my goodness... are we all little children on the playground here? A SNUB?!? They both see each other quite a lot on the campaign trail and at debates, not to mention in Washington... why is it that this ONE time, for whatever reason, Obama doesn't immediately shake her hand, it's labelled a SNUB.

    And really... why are all of you generating such ridiculous stories AND comments about this? Let's focus on the ISSUES, and the differences between the candidates, ok? This is ridiculous schoolyard behavior, from the media right on down to the majority of people who have commented here.

    Please, let's can the "my candidate is better than your candidate" rhetoric, or the "why is it when MY candidate makes a mistake, the media is all over it, but YOUR candidate gets away with it?" crap.

    Can't those of us that are entrusted to elect the next candidate to quite arguably the most important position IN THE WORLD act like informed ADULTS for an entire year?

    January 29, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Theresa

    Obama doesn't fool me for a moment, I can see through the smoke that he blows in the eyes. That's all it is smoke, hot air! He does nothing but sweet talk to you people and you just eat it up.

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

    Do YOU really not get why this is an ISSUE...let me HELP...it's about
    C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R

    Which Obama is obviouslly lacking, based on these situations.

    Join Us In The Hillary Camp! 🙂

    January 29, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. joe

    OBAMA HAS NOOOOOOOOO FOREIGN POLICY EXP..

    HE IS CHAIRMAN OF SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS SUB COMMITTEE ON EUROPE

    AND OBAMA HAS NOT HELD A SINGLE POLICY ORIENTED HEARING SINCE CHAIRMAN

    OBAMA IS ALLLL HYPE...I DONT WANT A NEW INTERN MAKING OUR DECISIONS

    HILLARY O8

    HILLARY 08

    HILLARY 08

    HILLARY 08

    January 29, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Willy

    Yes you did.

    January 29, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Jayne Sal

    I cannot shake these two questions I continue to ask myself in regards to Sen. Obama: 1) Where's the beef? I don't need to be inspired; I need ideas, action and answers." and 2) Why is Sen. Obama always so, so misunderstood? Senator, you are in a presidential election in 2008: GET OVER IT! If you are nominated, what are you going to do when the RNC comes at you but good and hard? If elected, what are you going to do with constant opposition and existing in an environment that demands compromise?

    If you are so grand at bringing people together, then you better start demonstrating you can act nice with your opponent. You cannot have it both ways. I question your authenticity.

    There is too much at stake. No room for pretty words and high thinking. We need experienced leadership.

    January 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. Ryan

    Our people are dieing in Iraq, we have a housing melt down and this is BIG news?

    January 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. DP

    Obama seems to have the art of lying down to a science. Also, take notice when he talks of how many times he says "UH" when he's talking. That pause in his sentences with "UH" gives him extra time to contemplate what he is going to say next. He never will just give a flat out direct continuous sentence when talking. VOTE FOR HILLARY 2008!!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. PatriciaG

    yall just want drama .... nothing to report if the brother turned to coughtor sneeze.. Doesnt the downfall of Britney provide that to you hounds?

    January 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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