January 29th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
15 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. Kevin

    Why do you have to lie, Obama? McKaskill, a supporter, even contradicted you. Just say, I wanted to see others around me as Hillary and Kennedy were talking. That's reasonable enough. We've all been in situations were we might feel like a third wheel as two other people talk exclusively to each other. Hmmm, so much for civility and being a uniter.

    January 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. nice try...

    The snubbing was captured and talked about during the live coverage of the SOTU speech. The "real" Obama reared it's ugly head.

    January 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Andrea S Austin TX.

    ~*~Unreal....Had Hillary snubbed Obama or Kennedy she would of been hung out to dry! Everyone talks about the racial divide however the Sexist divide is alive and well in this country! Bashing Hillary seems to be the theme for the day.
    Thankgoodness she has got a thick skin...
    She still has my vote!

    January 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Tevin, Raleigh NC

    Everyone who was actually in the chamber and involved at the moment that stapshot was taken says that this is being blown way out of porportion. You can't tell anything from a snapshot. This is no different than that snapshot of Obama without his hand on his heart and how that was misconstrued! People need to just stop with this unessecary crap! I understand we in this country love drama but we should leave the manufactering of it to Hollywood! If you're going to note this, it should be noted that Obama at least had the decency to shake Mr. Bush's hand when Hillary would not! And it's not like she was reaching to shake his hand in this photo, she was speaking to Ted Kennedy.

    January 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Anna

    Obama, you're really as a talker. It's just all the talk that you can deliver. You're misleadind people that you can deliver change, but in reality, you have only the DNC keynote speech in 2004. You will not get the nomination, because the American people are intelligent to not choose you. You can go home and live the house that you bought from your indicted friend!

    January 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Texan

    Come on Obama, not all of us are hoodwinked and bedazzled by you. Just apologize and move on. Also, glad to see you, the candidate for "change" sitting next to Kennedy, the last of the old Washington guard. lol.

    January 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. INTELLEGANT VOTER

    LOL....AS DIRTY AS A CAMPAIGN SHE HAS RAN......EVEN IF HE DIDNT ACKNOWLEDGE HER I COULDNT BLAIM HIM....AND NEITHER WOULD ANYONE OF US THAT ARE POSTING COMMENTS.....OBAMA 08

    January 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Nadira, Toronto

    I expected this from Obama, he is never truthful, typical Bush syle Politician.
    Not Quilty because he can talk his way around the truth.
    I AM NOT WORKING FOR HIILARY, CNN PLEASE POST MY COMMENT!

    January 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Newburgh, IN Man

    ………………………………………………………………..

    EOUGH! ENOUGH!! ENOUGH!!!

    THIS IS ANOTHER LIE…

    INTENTION is CLEARER than Action…!

    If you had no intention to shake her hands for whatever reason “JUST SAY THAT” and own up to it.

    NO MORE EXCUSES, NO MORE!!!

    As common etiquette, even if your attention was distracted, I will like to see subsequent pictures or videos of where you showed Senator Clinton the respect she showed you and Senator Kennedy after your so important conversation?

    You want to be President, You must be a GENTLEMAN.

    You were NOT Last Night, Own up to it and admit it

    NO MORE EXCESES!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Josh

    Can you really blame him?! Why would he want to shake hands with a person who has and will continue to make calculated and unjustifiable jabs at him to take the focus away from real issues concerning America. Hillary is everything wrong with this country and it is time to move away from the Bush – Clinton dyNASTY. I am not a democrate but I can see the need for change and "Billary " does not fit the "bill."

    January 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Gram

    Obama needs to go back to IL and learn some manners...He's not a uniter and winning endorsement of Edward, whose record towards women is tainted by MaryJo and his brothers with Marilyn just shows how low men will go when a strong woman is the best candidate to get this country moving on the first day, after the disaster wrought by Bush. Senator Clinton, you are the one!

    January 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. smart40

    Glad to see the press have moved on to the serious issues. Perhaps we will be lucky enough for Billary to comment on it. Be sure to wave the finger.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Jennie Lee

    THAT'S IT!! I WILL NOT VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON IN NOVEMBER. I BELIEVE, AS DO ALL THE OFFICE WORKERS IN MY COMPANY BELIEVE HILLARY CLINTON STAGED THIS EVENT JUST TO GET ON CAMERA AND TO GET HER HATEFUL, RACIST, NASTY SUPPORTERS TO JUMP ON OBAMA AGAIN.

    IT'S NOT TOO SMART, DUDES AND LADIES, BECAUSE BIG BUTT CANNOT WIN WITHOUT THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTE. TRY IT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

    ASK JIMMY CARTER WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS SECOND TERM. THIS DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE THE PARTY OF DAVID DUKE.

    JUST SAY NO TO HILLARY CLINTON AND HER DIVIDING THIS COUNTRY TO BENEFIT HER BIG WID BUTT.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. C.Lo

    u guys need to grow up there is no problem here.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Rick

    The facts are all there to those that were "PRESENT" (as Obama was 1132 times in the Il. Sen.) Obama couldn't stand the fact that the guy who just misendorsed can be polite enough to have a civil conversation with her. Stop all your whinning Obama, Oprah wil soon be there to dry your tears.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Rodney

    No matter what Obama says, a picture is worth a thousand words. People better stop going by this guys charisma and how he makes them feel.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. New York City

    If Sen. Obama doesn't want to speak to Sen. Clinton that his prerogative. Get over it all of you haters...

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Mary, PA

    Looks like Obama called CNN to complain so they ran a new story

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Ray

    Cnn is only posting anti-Obama posts

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Oscar, Rio Vista, CA

    People see what they want to see. You Hilary supporters should learn to say that you made a mistake instead of still trying to persuade people that your precious Hilary was snubbed. Get over it. CNN shouldn't have printed the column in the first place without finding out the truth. I have said it many times before... with the ridiculous items that are posted here, CNN reporters should start working for the Enquirer.

    January 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. AJ, IL

    Obama says he didn't snub her and Hillary says she didn't feel snubbed. So what is the freakin' problem?! All of these Hillary-supporters are jumping on a media bandwagon with no brakes. These Obama-haters are the same ones who believe Obama doesn't pledge of allegiance to the flag or got sworn it on the Koran. Jessica Yellin's CNN Poltiical ticker garnered over 1500 responses when it was a social controversy with much to do about nothing. Let's move forward as a nation even though the media trys to stir up partisan bickering for ratings.

    Obama in '08!

    January 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Nonstory

    I guess Hillary at all cost fans (especially women), will finally have a chance to rejoice. It has been a pretty somber week for her and her (win at all cost) husband. Even the democratic party's establishment is abandoning her and we all know she can't get the independents to vote for her.

    Obama reminds me of Tony Blair who, at only 41, became one of the PM the Uk has ever had.

    As for CNN, let's admit that's not much of a story. How about another one on why Hillary mysteriously cancelled her appearance on Anderson Cooper's 360...

    January 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Ty

    wow. unbelievable. mor....

    all words to describe hillary clinton supporters/people who judge a person from a picture.

    January 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Nick, Denham Springs, LA

    AND ALL THIS WILL COST HIM THE ELECTION ??

    January 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Georgette Becker, Imperial Beach, CA

    I can't believe CNN is reporting this as "news"!!!! Haven't we had enough spin the last 8 years??? Snubbed or not, SO FREAKIN' WHAT????

    January 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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