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. Patricia Hughes

    Of course he snubbed Senator Clinton. That is why everyone is disillusioned with the entire political process. They lie about everything – even something so simple as did he snub Senator Clinton.

    January 29, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Sam

    This goes to show how immature Obama is. He can talk hope. But, his actions speaks louder than words. CNN is elevating the status of Obama's candidancy, he can't do no wrong. Despite of this country is ready for a woman President, the media does not. Let's prove them wrong.

    January 29, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. barbara

    The future of the United States should be the most important issue

    in this political race.

    Hillary Clinton has the experience to run this Country and get it back on TRACK!!

    All of the garbage that the media is trying to produce should be deleted at once.

    We need to focus on who can get the job done. The person to do that job

    would be HILLARY CLINTON!!! Hillary is our FUTURE!!! It does not matter who

    snubs who!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. jinishans1

    Topmost LIER in the entire presidential race. I was a full supporter of Obama till Yesterday. He does not know how to behave in a public office. He's telling lie now.

    Im totally upset OBAMA. Even McCaskill told she didnt called you. Im not either supporting CLINTON now. Im thinking of McCain/Romney now.

    January 29, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Evora Sardinia

    Please tell every one in the US that what the democrats are doing with Florida is wrong. Please give out the nomber where they can call Howard Dean 1 202 863 800 and tell him that this country is suppose to be a democracy and if he does not count the florida and Michigan!s votes there should not be a democrat in the ticket.We are very concern in Florida. We need to find out how to turn the USA into a direct democrcy counting all the votes not the electoral votes. Thank you

    January 29, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Karen Hillyard

    Im sorry, but I saw the film and he snubbed her. We are not stupid Mr Obama
    Your childish actions show the world that you are not yet mature enough to lead the US. I can only imagine how your foreign relations would be if you cant even relate at home! We need someone who can be amicable no matter what and repair the relations that the Bush administration damaged, not a boy with a chip on his shoulder...

    January 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Doug

    He acknowledged greeting her when he walked. She was not coming over to greet him, she was coming over to greet Kennedy. Obama was the odd man out, so he was looking for someone to talk to while Kennedy and Clinton greeted.

    This is not a story. >.<

    January 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. David

    Another case of CNN making a mountain out of nothing. It seems that their coverage of the campaigns hits a new low every day. I don't think I've seen a single story by CNN (or anyone) actually discussing the facts and issues. It's sad and frustrating.

    January 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. California Independent

    You might not like CNN picking on Obama on it's ticker, but not to worrry.....

    They are helping Obama pander to Hispanics on TV right now by saying he supports drivers licenses for illegals and trotting out a hispanic that supports Obama. Heck, this doesn't cost Obama a dime. Sweet! Way to go CNN.

    January 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. DavidfromCA

    Hillary, as your supporter, heed my advice and don't say anything else regarding this incident. Anything you say will be used against you. If you try to ge gracious to the uniter, he'll turn his back on you. It's best if you just stay away. He and all media already called you a racist.

    January 29, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Gman

    that does not square with what his campaign manager, David Axelrod, claimed this morning - that he was turning away out of respect for Hillary's relationship with Ted Kennedy, so they could have a private moment.

    January 29, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Mildred

    I am sure that Obama purposely ignored Senator Clinton. Shame on him!

    January 29, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. lecollye

    WHO CARES!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Carlos Loya

    Somethings just don't and should'nt change Barack. Common courtesy is one of them another is that actions speak louder than any eloquent words.

    January 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Anne

    Wake up America! Don't allow yourselves to be controlled by the media and people like the elitist Kennedys who seem to think this country is their private kingdom. The Kennedy's endorsement should mean nothing to you. If anything, it should make you NOT vote for Obama.

    January 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |

    To all you people who think that every time Obama sees Billary he has to bend over backwords and be nice to her are just plain dumb, he waved to her earlier thats enough.They are running AGAINST each other. GET OVER IT. Oh wait , he hurt the little girl (shes no WOMAN) feelings, will she CRY again.

    OBAMA 08

    January 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. Patye

    'Obama is like a box of chocolates....you never know what you are going to get'

    January 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. berhanu

    he guys be postive thinker

    January 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. blair

    If you want to see Obama when he was in Macon Georgia go to 13wmaz.com and watch him. He came here to a Church. Only members of the church and (special guests) could attend. See how many times he likens him self to Scriptures in the bible. He stood behind the pulpit with a notebook, could not remember what he did in Chicago and did not have a bible. What I found amusing was, when the preacher said lets open our bibles the cameras showed everyone opening their bibles. The lady standing next to him opened hers and held it up. He turned and looked away. She held the bible up higher and he turned away again. She then practically shoved the bible into him. Not once did he look at the bible. He told everyone Thank you for supporting me, Thank you for Marching with me and Thank you for praying for me. He was in the church almost an hour and I never did see him bow his head in prayer.

    January 29, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Kerry

    Could they be trying any harder to create a story out of something that has absolutely nothing to do with either candidate's campaign? Who cares? Ridiculous.

    CNN should hook up with TMZ and start snapping pics of celebrities outside their homes for all the journalistic integrity this story has.

    January 29, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. JC


    January 29, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Bonnie

    At the end of the day....this is a waste of important time and a whole bunch of un-necessary nonsense. Get a life....so what if he looked the other way. OMG is this a crime...Jezz whiz....What on earth does this petty nonsense have to do with the issue of the stimulous package? H-E-L-L-O People!!! I would look the other way too if I had to deal with all of the petty nonsense thats coming out of the Clinton campaign....So WHAT!

    January 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Dai in IL

    January 29, 2008 2:37 pm ET

    Nonstory said...

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

    One of the best Prime Ministers we ever had? He took us from prosperity and wealth to a war without end and the worst nanny state the UK has ever seen. At least most nannies protect their children – this one has lost personal data and the confidence of the Electorate.

    If Obama is like Blair then the US needs to watch out. Remember, nothing sticks to Teflon.

    HILLARY '08

    January 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. stan pitts pa

    obama is a uniter, HRC wouldnt give a concession speech in s.c, she snubbed us, CNN after bush speech last night, and for the record are people just upset because the mixed race guy snubbed HRC, GET a life folks, big deal, for the record he didnt snub her!

    January 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. So What!

    What a silly argument or issue to comment on. So what the bit about "likable enough" was not a snub but part of friendly banter.

    This is turning into a joke that's being played on the people by the press.

    Get a life and wake up the Clintons are as condescending and patronizing to Barack as they are to the American people!

    Anyway so flipping what!

    ABC '08

    January 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 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