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. Joey Vedge

    This needs more coverage because it's really important. I mean like CRUCIAL.

    January 29, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Nana

    Sen. Obama, contrary to what he wants us to believe, is as political as any of the other candidates. Watching him over the past few months, I clearly see a person who hides under the pretense of being someone other than who he really is. Nothing could be further from the truth.( ie-when speaking with black audiences in S.C. he reverted to a type of black speech to arouse the audience and secure black votes. (If I were a person of color, I would make it known to him he was insulting my intelligence) Besides making it quite clear his intention is not to be a president for ALL.

    Knowing that a good many eyes would specifically be on him with his buddy Teddy Kennedy, he purposely turned away from Sen. Clinton to show the public his disdain for her. Forget the politics of it all-this shows an extreme pettiness. If he can't extend a hand in common courtesy-I don't want his brand of "change."

    Odd, that the people endorsing him now, Kerry and Kennedy, were certainly losers in the context of seeking presidential office. Sick and tired of the "old boys club."

    January 29, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. Mark F

    Some idiot from AP said this morning that you could see the doorminder wince. I've looked at all the photos from all the angles. There was no wince, no snub, no nothing.

    This is all a tempest in a teapot, created by some morons in the media.

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. Lisa

    Man, I'm sorry - but this whole "We now have to back Barack Obama because Bill Clinton picked on him" thing is sort of pathetic! Maybe I'm a jaded jerk, but isn't this American politics? Why all of a sudden is everyone coddling Barack Obama? I used to really like him, but he has just come off as a collosal weenie-whiner!

    I believe Barack has some amazing, wishful ideas, but if you crap on one hand, and wish in the other, just wait and see which one fills up faster in between all ofhis "calling fowl", and I can't stand it anymore - his whining about his besmirched record - as if he wasn't throwing low blows, too, which he was, in his e-mailers, prior to the primaries. So it' kind of hard to swallow, his proclaimation of "new politics" when, once the cameras weren't rolling, he was being very negative. Then he cries "fowl" once the cameras are rolling? CREEPY!

    WHICH is to be expected, in politics. But you don't see Edwards or Clinton crying and moaning that they're being picked on, and the Obama campaign has been particluarly awful to the Clinton campaign in particular, prior to South Carolina.

    So the message I'm hearing, as a Democrat who was undecided, is that we, as a country, have to come togther to hold Barack Obama's delicate, visionary hand, to protect him from mean ol' Bill Clinton. YEAH, that's the type of president I want - who needs his personal ego stroked 24/7, and needs a fanclub and a bodyguard to feel effective. Why not just vote for Tom Cruise? At least he HAS fans that stroke his ego 24/7, and it wouldn't be my job, as a voter.


    Sorry, Obama - Hillary just got my vote. You've ended up being a disappoinment, and you need to man up and stop crying to the Kennedy's to come beat up Bill Clinton. PUH-leez.

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Jesse - San Antonio TX

    Why is this an issue?

    Because it shows Barak Obama's true nature.

    Now, like his votes and his past statements, he's misunderstood.

    CNN is disecting every move Hillary makes, As they should But not only with Hillary, they should be on like that with ALL the candidates.

    They are treating him like he's a porcelin doll.

    Get him to start acting like a man. The strong black man your claiming he is.

    As of right now, I dont' see it. All I see is a smug jerk. (A darker shade of Bush if you will.)

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Alice

    Barack, listen, since your mama obviously never taught you this just as she never taught you manners:

    When you are caught doing something wrong, lying about it only makes it worse.

    It really does. Now you don't only look like the immature crybaby you are, you also have been exposed as the liar you are.

    Now, lying is an ISSUE for our leaders and even the rest of us – look at the current mess we're in, and maybe you'll understand why.

    I hate to talk to you as if you're an adolescent, but if the shoe fits.........

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Jim

    WHO CARES? The idea that anyone would try to turn this molehill into a mountain is beyond me. I wouldn't care if Clinton deliberately snubbed Obama, or Obama deliberately snubbed Clinton, or either one appeared to have snubbed the other because she or he turned away at a particular moment.

    I have an idea: let's all decide who to vote for based on the issues, and who we think is more likely to defeat the Republican nominee in November. Given that Sen. Clinton will unite Republicans like no one else could ever do, and that she won't draw any appreciable support from independents, why would anyone think she's more likely to win in November?

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. Nancy

    Did ya hear John Kerry is backing Obama. Oh Boy! that's as good as Kennedy!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    This is not an issue nor is it relevant to the presidential race.

    CNN, shame on you.

    I'm not even American, nor can I vote!

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Kaitlin

    It is really sad to see how many people are making a big deal out of this. This is so insignificant to what really matters. To everyone who is either "OMG Sen. Clinton is using this to her advantage," or "OMG Sen. Obama needs some manners," give it a rest! If you are going to worry about stupid things like this, don't bother voting, since you don't seem to care about the real issues.

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Nando, Florida

    Bill snubs her everynight they dont even sleep together ? So who SNUBS WHO!!!

    This is like 10th grade Crap!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    I see why the rest of the world LAUGHS at us!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Scientific

    I really fear for the future of our country if a) this is the most popular topic, by far, on this Ticker and b) people really are making their judgments about whom to vote for based on a photograph for which they truly have no context. There are some amazingly stupid people in this country, and many of them posted here today – and it scares me that these people will vote in this election.

    This isn't frickin' American Idol, people. I can't believe I have to say this to a bunch of adults. Learn about the candidates, forget about this ridiculous tabloid nonsense and make a real decision about whom to vote for based more on substance and issues and less (none, really) about who "snubbed" whom. Grow up.

    January 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Ann

    Go back to Hillary44..

    January 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Jessica

    You are such a liar, that is not what Axelrod said on Morning Joe.

    Obama how about you tell the thruth for once.

    January 29, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. AH

    Hillary deserves this after all of what she and Bill did in last couple of days!!! He waved his hand to Hillary while entering the senate room.. What do you expect him to do, be faking like Hillary all the time...Wake UP!!!

    January 29, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. cb

    Why don't you try spining the truth?

    January 29, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. sjbj2322

    AMEN! I've always felt that the Clinton campaign was working too hard to show Obama for what he is – that in time he would show himself to be the true cad that he is. At last!! Did it ever occur to anyone that the reason Hillary cancelled her opportunities to speak to the nation last night with the exception of one channel was because she wisely anticipated she might be questioned about how she felt about this flagrantly obvious snub by Obama. What a lady in contrast to what she's said all along....he is not ready to represent this nation. The picture says it all. Clearly NO ONE was attempting to engage him in conversation – NO ONE in the picture is even looking at him except the woman standing BEHIND him. Spin it anyway you want....Obama made an absolute fool of himself last night.

    January 29, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Patye

    His snub was obvious and he acted like a child...what is he 10 and now is going to run off to his Mommy Oprah so she can protect him from the big bad mean Clintons....is this how he is going to behave as President....he is like the Teflon candidate..he never takes responsibility for anything he says...constantly says he is misquoted..I am waiting to see what is swirling around in the undercurrent of the river Obama...i think it is sewage named Rezko

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. linda, OKC OK

    clinton supporters act like she's the queen of england. more like her royal thighness.

    i say he was too nice. i'd spit in her face for all the nasty drama billary have put him through.

    OBAMA 2008!

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Theresa Jarrett

    Yes he did snub her.....You saw him he turned his back on her and had a sour look on his face...Kinda like oh gezzzz here she is again.....I can not get ahead. Oh well I am hoping he will not be the Leader of the free world.....he has no experiance....ALL HE CAN DO IS TALK THE TALK......QUESTION IS CAN HE WALK THE WALK??????? NOPE DO NOT THINK SO......SO GIVE IT UP...AND GO BACK TO YOUR SLUM LORD FRIEND'S.....HILLARY IS THE PERSON FOR THE JOB....

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Shelby

    Who is lying now. My Mother told me when I was young not to ever accuse anyone of lying because before you know it you will say something that is preceived to be lying. He need tp grow up if he is going to be president. Who will he shun on the world scene?

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Owen Scott

    Does anyone actually care about this?

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Bonie

    This is all utterly ridiculous! At the end of the day, what does this have to do with the current issues surrounding the President's useless state of the union speech and the stimulous package? Huh?? Duh??? exactly...absolutely NOTHING...After the way the Clinton campaign have shown themselves (ignorance and extremely disgraceful) how dare someone question why Obama "looked the other way" when he saw Billary? He didn't feel like speaking...so what? Get over it...and keep talking about real issues.....

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Morris

    Real World Capitol Hill: On this weeks episode Barack Obama "snubs" Hillary Clinton and we make a news story out of it!!! I am sick and tired of the political world looking more and more like some bad reality tv show. Give me a break, and move on to some real issues. And for all of you saying that if Barack or Hillary gets the nomination you're going to vote republican is pure ignorance. If that's how you truly feel and you want Mitt or McCain than you are all morons. Let's look beyond the petty stuff, beyond the black and white of everything, and get to the true meaning of what a presidential campaign is all about. We as Americans have a big responsibility in front of us, let's not go out and make a mistake by electing the wrong person because we don't like the person who got the nomination in our party. Please use some common sense when you see the "news stories" on the web, don't believe everything you read, because if we did we would all be living in fear of aliens, bat boy and the end of the world every other week.

    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. Barack Oprah

    it's so fuuny.
    Some Obama supporter claim how single-minded Hillary supporters are.
    What about what you have done so far? Calling Hillary divider and terrorist.
    Flip-flop kids... Shame on you.
    Go to charm school with Obama.
    But I know that I should not blame you because it's not your fault.
    It's Hillary's fault, alright?????


    January 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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