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. Liarr

    Can we really believe Obama that he can unite the country????
    Or is he just another liar?

    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Matt Scott

    I can't believe all of the people saying this story "proves" that Obama is a bad candidate.

    I know there are a lot of stupid people in this country but i am stunned by the number of them that flock to this forum.

    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. kathe Oakland Ca

    I think all of you folks are S T U P I D.
    So what, who hell is Hillary she is not the Queen, she is not any mvoie star, she is not the President either.

    Why has no one commented that the President of the United States did not acknowledge Obama last night after that boring and past-history speech, when he was standing with his hand out(Obama) to shake President's hand. All President did was shake Ted's hand, who was standing right next to Obama – who had his hand out too – but Bush didn't shake his hand – so what who needs that past history guy anyway but did anyone see that. NO, you are all so hell bent on defending the Clintons you cannot see the forest for the trees. Bush and Clinton, both Presidents who need to be taught what respect and morality and virtue really is!!!!!

    If you are all stupid enough and dump enough to place you votes based on who snubbed who????????? GOD HELP US.

    Why has no one said anything about all the military folks at the State of Union and the President did not recognize ANY OF THEM – and he is supposed to respect our men fighting, getting manned and dying??????? NOW

    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Maria

    Why is everyone concerned with Clinton, she is a grown woman and take care of herself. She's not his wife, it up to her husband to handle her insecurities not Obama's.

    When political debates occurred he was also place in the position of taking care of her ego. Give us a break.

    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. CDR

    It looks like the Billary Spinsters are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. This is one of the most ridiculous articles and stories that I have seen. I believe that most reasonable American people agree that this is not an issue and surely won't base the leadership of this country on such propaganda.


    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Joliet, Illinois

    That gesture is the same way as saying " That's not what I meant".

    January 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. CaughtItonCNN

    If it looks like a snub, acts like a snub, and talks like a snub, it IS a snub! He's a loser.........

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

    THIS IS RIDICULOUS. Can you believe this made the political ticker, or required anyone's time? What about the issues?

    January 29, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. john CA

    Don't be fool media people PLEASE DON'T ATTACK BARRACK hussien OBAMA. Don't show the other side of my beloved BARRACK. I'm happy for you before with all the praise and rhetoric but now.......PLEASE DON'T.

    BARRACK hussein OBAMA 08.
    BARRACK hussein OBAMA 08.
    BARRACK hussein OBAMA 08.
    BARRACK hussein OBAMA 08.
    OBAMA 08
    OBAMA 08

    January 29, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Johnson Blah

    ?? He isn't turning away. from the picture thats posted he is talking to the other lady. Pretty obvious whats going on in the picture that is now posted.

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

    Who cares???? Apparently you do. You're reading and posting!

    Good job CNN!

    I hate Hillary!
    I hate Obama!

    January 29, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Sandi Owens

    Barack if you're reading this, please try and train yourself to stop saying "sorta" and "kinda". It makes you sound indecisive and unsure, especially in print. Either a thing is or it isn't so say what you mean and mean what you say.

    By the way, YOU'VE GOT MY VOTE! Peace and blessings..........

    January 29, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. rich

    yes he did. we all saw it. Please stop lying

    January 29, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. Let my people go...

    You liberals are funny. If he looks her in the eye and speaks to her her is being 'rough' and in the eyes of many, disrespectful. If he allows her and Ted to exchange pleasantries he he speak to someone else, he is also dispespectful. Does he need to learn his place?

    January 29, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. Henry

    This is a non-story.

    Obama did acknowledge Clinton, but as the photograph shows, both of them had their hands full in the crowd of people.

    I should be surprised this story was green-lighted, but then again CNN has displayed a bias in favor of Sen. Clinton for the entirety of this race.

    January 29, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. gere

    HILLARY 08

    Powrfull,smart, Mature ,Intelligent,.She would be good for our economy and our country.

    January 29, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Bryant

    Perhaps "tracey" should change her screenname to "tracist" after that enlightened comment...what the heck does Obama's RACE have to do with this?

    I'm white, btw, and sick of the fact that Bubba (whom I voted for back in the 90's) has succeeded in painting Obama as the "Black Candidate" in many of your minds. Pathetic.

    January 29, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Donna in ID

    Do you really believe he would admit the snub? Not on your life. I wouldn't trust that man right now in an out house with a muzzle on. If you have really watched you would see where he and his wife play the race card. They are so suttle about it you have to really watch. I liked him when he first started but to many things have happened. Then I got to thinking that the stormy mess Bush and Chaney have made of EVERYTHING, I want someone that has been around and has connections to try to get friends restored around the world and the economy straightened out for the everyday working people. I don't want someone who is doing "on the job training".. Then when he can't even open his mouth to vote other than present does not show to much back bone and not informed.
    Ted Kennedy wants change, HAHA. Then maybe he should take his old political dynasty ( been around for ever) family out of politics. He found some way to get back at Bill at the expense of the country and also some one that he can attach his strings to and play like a puppet. Years ago I liked him but he has played the American people also.
    I am liking both Edwards and Paul more everyday.

    January 29, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. chevyk

    a lot of you need to get lives. A tiny accidental incident occurs and you all RUSH faster than the speed of light to point your fingers at an accomplished man who could pretty much buy and sell you. So have fun with your freedom of speech, disrespect the man who's put himself on the line to be the your leader. Yet you're prejudices finally surface when an incident occurs. I am sickened. CNN please stop these stories that will might fuel racial fire against senator Obama. These Racist have more than enough.

    January 29, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. jeam

    best presidential candidate

    Hillary 08.

    January 29, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Pete, Kensington, MD.

    Sen. Obama, as stated in a previous debate, seems more willing to "meet and greet" our determined enemies. Character counts. Is this how he would unite Republicans and Democrats?

    January 29, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Ray

    Too bad! Obama is no longer the beautiful, empty vase.
    Obama, unfit for president!

    January 29, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. george

    You can not see one's true color if he hides and prepares very well (when he speaks), but you can really see one's true color through these small things that he forgets to hide. From this small incident, Obama not only shows he is immature and not a uniter, but he also shows he is a liar (trying to explain it away somehow).

    January 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. joanna

    oh, yes just wanted to add this, Obama did snub Clinton but when she takes the oath of office, she could purr all the way to the White House steps with wonderful Bill by her side. YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!

    January 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Hillary supporters

    Really.......is this the biggest topic you can throw your comments at, this isn't even news worthy. As to the media "attacks" on Hillary, If she didn't put herself in that position with her husband and her lies then the media would have worthless stories like this instead of "attacking" her..... Obviously the two don't like each other but what does it matter....this isn't a popularity contest its a presidential election..... if you want a real snub watch Hillary's stump speech after loosing badly in South Carolina...

    January 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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