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. Jeanette J

    I think Obama deliberately snubbed Sen. Clinton. This shows his immaturity. If he can't stand the heat of this campaign, as the saying goes, he should get out of the kitchen. He talks about uniting the Democratic Party. Not acknowledging Hillary last night is not the way to go about it.

    With Ted Kennedy's reputation, who really care what he thinks?


    January 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Nancy

    I got so disgusted with all of them that I changed my party from Democrat to Independant. Obama is inexperienced, Hillary is old school, Edwards is being ignored, McCann is running on being a POW, I'm not sure what he can do. The joke is on Giuliani!, Romney at least has some experience running something and Huckabee is not going to be around too mutch longer.

    January 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Jamie Hernandez

    I agree with the Texan,

    It seems as though we do need a real change, If the Clintons loved black people so much like they say, when Obama gotkey endorsements and made history like he did in IOWA you would think the Clintons would be running to shake his hand, I think they are hypocrites, and it was best OBAMA did not shake her hand, why should he, she obviously is a hateful woman politiian....

    J Hernandez
    Cerritos, CA

    January 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. KMac

    Seems like the Billary supporters are so discouraged by the SC beatdown and the rush of endorsements by the Democratic establishment to Senator Obama, that forming bad opinion against Obama is their last hope of a victory. Why isn't she dominating on the strength of that 35 year record of hers? Maybe it's because the country is still trying to figure out what exactly she did in that 35 years......Hmmm.

    January 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Larry, Columbus, Ohio

    Wow. As a moderate Republican, all I can say is:

    "Don't you Democrats have other things to be thinking about????"

    I'm in agreement with those of you who are saying "geez, enough already!!!". But for those of you who are getting all dandered up about this, "liar!", etc...wow is all I can say. It's interesting to see how divided y'all are, but I'm surprised at the level of vehemence and pettiness. This feels like a reality game show or something.

    January 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. JC

    It looks like a snub...maybe it wasn't. However, they have teams of people around them to help them see who's coming towards them, who's around them, what protocol is. His inexperienced, young team may have failed him at this point. That's not his fault. However, a would-be president doesn't have that luxury. Minor mistakes can become an international faux pas.

    January 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. inc

    All of you losers need a life. Barack Obama, is within his prerogative not to acknowledge whom ever that broad is. Beat it "OBAMA 08, LIKE IT OR NOT, CAN'T STOP THE MOVEMENT"

    January 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Barack Oprah

    You see!!!
    That's the reason why I pick OPRAH over OBAMA!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Edward Arthur Stuart

    For all his talk about change and moving away from politics as usual, Sen. Obama seems well versed with the playbook. He got caught on camera and he just wont admit it. Granted this is not a real issue, but the fact that he rarely seems to practice his promises of civility raises major concerns about him personally.

    January 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. Greg

    This Clinton / Obama crap is getting old. We shouldn't vote for either one. We all know both are a poor choice. That would be like choosing the lesser of two evils.

    January 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Becky in Indiana

    Get a life!!! I won't vote for Hillary Clinton because I don't trust her or her husband. I won't change my vote over Obama not shaking hands with her. If she wins the democratic nomination, I'll be forced to vote Republican. Keep that in mind when voting... There are many others like me.

    January 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Tired of being tired

    This remind me of the time when the media took a picture of Condalizza Rice or what ever here name is, brushing her hair out of her face . Next thing you know the media took that one snap shot and said she display a look of stress and dismay over the proceedings that she was attending. When all she did was brush her hair away.

    The media love this kind of hype. Can't wait to see what the next issue is.

    Its funny how people judge others and never look at their own actions. Even if he did. How many of you freaks want to shake hands with some one who basically call you a liar or accuse you of doing things you have not done? Then turn around and claim you started it?

    Give me a break. This is exactly what you all was waiting for and here it is. Jump on the bone and have a nice dinner it will be done in a week. Just get ready for the next feast.

    I was all for Clinton until she allow her husband to start turning her presidential race into a race war. EDIOTS! Is Obama that much of a threat? Everything was all love love until she lost only one state.

    January 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |



    January 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. DLM

    If CNN represents America's 'Best Political Team' and this misrepresented piece of useless trivia is the best piece of political news you can report, the United States needs more than new political leadership – it also needs adults reporting the news. Those of you already there should report back to the playground immediately.

    January 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Bobby Joe

    One thing Dr. King taught his followers was when confronted by racists they should turn the other cheek.
    Obama did just that

    January 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. lorraine

    I watched the clip and it seems that Obama did snub Hillary, watch out people – he will do it to all of us if elected

    January 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Friendly

    I see that HRC supporters definitely enjoy paparazzi-type news about nothing. I'm sure that they also enjoy extremely negative campaign run by Clintons – I hear: "yes, lets make a big deal out of nothing – otherwise how else we are going to win?!". Yes, the leader is only as good as her/his followers.

    January 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Phil

    This is so stupid. For you idiots to buy into this need to go over to faux news.

    Then some of you people crack me up when you say Obama is being mis-understood. Well of course he is, all the dang time. Look at what the Clintons did just to come back and say they were sorry and that they need to be on the task of what's good for the American People.

    This story is a JOKE. I bet Hillary is laughing about it. For you idiots to buy into, I hope you evolve and grow a brain.


    January 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Vi Smith

    That was a snub if ever I saw one. If he is president, will he snub Canada too? I don`t trust him.

    January 29, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. Sam

    When this moment was happening, a reporter actually mentioned it on the air before Pres. Bush came into the room. It's not like the reporter made it up. It's good that the people get to see this side of Obama before we make a blunder anointing him as Saint and Saviour.
    I don't know if this is arrogance or just plain childishness.

    He is going to make things worse by trying to explain away his behavior. It will reinforce Hillary's point of Obama not taking responsibility for what he says or does.

    January 29, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. jessafina

    Oh My Goodness... WHO CARES????? I don't care who you support, get over it. I can't believe I even took the time to read the article, I am ashamed of myself! LOL

    January 29, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Sooner

    Obama HMMMMMMM! Clams he has family in Kansas but yet on local tv they say they havent spoken in years and would like to see him to give him some family things, UNITED is his clam this from a man who cant even speak to his own famliy but yet he comes to there home town to make a big show of how he has kansas ties PLEASE! No matter what is said about hillary and bill you now the truth straight out. Who needs a fake to run the country AGAIN we already spent 8 years with the current fake lets not get another one in office.

    HILLARY and BILL all the way she ran the country when he was in office why not a third term for both of them. GO HILLARY! 08

    January 29, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Dem08

    This is an issue the same way "Bill Lashes Out at the Media" or the " CLintons play the Race Card" is an issue. It was all good to bash the Clintons over non-issue's. Atleast this issue has some truth to it. Its clear from the pictures, and from watching the SOU last night that Obama snubbed Clinton. The Obama supporters take any chance and create any lie to distort Hillary, but can not deal with the truth about their own canidate. Should this be important. NO. Is it, probably. Obama put himself up as the change canidate. He was a typical politician holding a grudge last night..

    I wish CNN would only discuss issues. Hillary Clinton would win that battle without a doubt.

    January 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. marie

    Hillary only did it for a phot op, and if anybody believes she did it in a friendly jesture they better do their homework. She can't stand him, like he can't stand her!

    January 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Jim

    This doesn't matter. I will vote for whoever is on the Democratic ticket in November. I like Obama's vision and all inclusive approach which will change politics for years to come. I also like Hillary's command and position on a vast variety of issues facing this country. On Feb. 5, I will vote for our next leader based on vision, credentials, and proven experience. This country is in a world of hurt and I don't have the luxury of choosing based on likability. I think Hillary is the best choice to manage this country based on rediness, experience, and access.

    January 29, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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