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. Cindy, Calfiornia

    Whatever Obama, it was a snub job and you know it...why don't you for once , TELL THE TRUTH! Repeat after me,"yea I snubbed her, what about it." See don't you feel better for telling the truth...lol

    January 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. jason58103

    This is NOTHING....Just a bunch of people bumping into the room. If it was anything it’s another opportunity for the media to make a manure pile out of a turd. News at Eleven.

    January 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Carol, Pittsburgh, PA

    Wow, and I thought Republicans were mean-spirited. They have nothing on the outspoken Hillary-philes. We have more important issues than this to think about – enough already!!

    January 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Michael Dunn

    I think this falls into the category of "Who Cares" if it would have been Hillary it would still fall into the category of "Who Cares" move on there's got to be more interesting things out there than this.... As for Chelsea's comment....I think we need to take this in perspective; which is worse worse turning away from someone of smearing their name with lies and half truths in a "win at all costs" campaign....common lets keep our eye on the prise.

    As for Kennedy being the most divisive politician; well i'd have to say he's come in second to a certain husband and wife team...

    January 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  5. Ray

    Who cares about this? This is not an issue. We are getting worse than middle school gossip. What a shame. CNN, knock this off!

    Want to know about issues? Check out the web sites for the candidates. Those who say they don't know what the candidates (e.g., Obama) stand for are just flat-out lazy. You're already on the Internet, for Pete's sakes.

    Hillary can't get elected – she will mobilize an "anti-Hillary" vote. 44% disapproval rating! I don't dislike her, but I want the Democrats to win in 08. Love her or not, Hillary will not win the presidency. Wake up and snap out of it! We need a Democrat in the White House!

    Choose Obama or Edwards. From the research, Edwards would have the best chance in the general election, but it looks like he's in a firm 3rd place. Next best choice is Obama to win.

    Democrats '08!

    January 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Allie


    January 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. chet

    Obama is an excellent candidate, and as a Hillary supporter, I'll vigorously support him should he win the nomination. But the Obama crowd needs to take a deep breath of reality. All candidates have their flaws. Hillary displays less than desirable qualities at times and so does Obama. This is not an isolated incident. He has a growing track record of appearing arrogant, condescending, and petty.

    Obama isn't a saint and his supporters would be well-advised to shorten the height of the pedestal upon which they have placed him or it's going to be a long fall from grace.

    January 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. I used to be a Democrat

    He snubbed her. They obviously don't like each other. Continue to press the issue CNN.

    January 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. Mimi

    And please look at their facial expressions, everyone around was looking at Hillary and Ted Kennedy. Only Obama was looking away and he looked really awkward.

    No more bull***t please!

    WAKE UP people and see this guy's true color!

    Obama has been lying ever since that slumlord Rezko got caught by FBI.

    January 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Amy in Iowa

    The Clinton supporters, or rather paid bloggers, are so hateful. You all are grasping for straws. Stop trying to have Hillary play the victim card.

    January 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. deb

    what is wrong with you people? i was watching all the talk last nite thinking "didn't it occur to anyone that perhaps he had turned to talk to someone on his other side?" which IS what happened. talk about much ado about nothing. maybe we should ban all 24 hour news stations, since there doesn't appear to be enough actual news to support them, so they just make stuff out of nothing!!! shame on you CNN!!

    January 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Barack Oprahma


    GO hillary

    January 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. kpatjipr

    who cares if he snubbed her? or if he didn't? they don't like each other. they don't have to.

    January 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. Jonathan

    Is this really even news?????? Pardon me, but this article is pure conjecture. WHat makes anyone think that they can reason into the mind of another human being.

    If Obama had walked up to Hilary Clinton and smacked her in the face THEN perhaps it would be news.

    Stop grasping for straws that arent there (or even necessary)

    January 29, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |

    The media must be desperate for news and gossip. I don't believe Obama intentionally snubbed Hillary; nor would she him. This newsy gossip is petty; stupid!!

    January 29, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. tracey

    People this is important because it shows what kind of


    Obama has...that is important if you are running for


    Get it?

    Join the only smart choice..Hillary 08!

    January 29, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. albert petrasek

    I just watched the piece in the last segment about Obama and the supposed snub of Hillary Clinton at last night's State of the Union. He said no snub was intended and he was buttressed by the Senator from Missouri claiming "there was no snub... I had a ringside seat..."

    Having been at the Mrytle Beach debate last Monday sitting up front, I in fact had witnessed Obama's obvious snub at the end of the debate – he never shook Clinton's hand, totally looked away as he did last night and blew her off. I'm undecided voter here, but I find that "petty" conduct disturbing from someone that appears forthright and honest. Go back and check your tape to the end of the debate and compare it to last night's action – coincidence or... let your viewers decide...

    January 29, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. GLENDA Hudson ,Fl

    VAIN. Does he plan to be a uniter(like George Bush) with this attitude.
    He is a empty suit that gives motivational speeches.
    He can't even be gracious to a rivel- must less leaders from other lands.

    January 29, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. GM

    Obama snubbed her, but at least he didn't inhale it. lol

    January 29, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Alex

    hahaha. why do people care about this crap. can you even blame him. i wouldn't shake her hand either.

    January 29, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "Obama, I believe you. I don't know if I would if Clinton said the same thing."

    Who cares what you think? Since videotape caught the fact that Obama wasn't tapped on the shoulder until AFTER he turned away...why, that makes Obama a Liar. And you a non-thinker, just a knee-jerk apologist.

    Live with it.

    Enjoy President Clinton, the second. Obama will make a fine V.P.

    January 29, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. politicians stink

    this whole country is in a mess because of politicians. voting for a different one will NOT change anything. these self-centered criminals are only out for themselves. they ALL talk BIG ca-ca to get elected, then fight with each other once they get there, to the point of ridiculousness, with the country going deeper into the darkness. and one of these people is the answer....klinton, mccain, obama, romney, juliani...??? yeah right... we're in trouble...!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. concerned

    If Obama gets the nomination he can thank CNN for a good part of it. They have nothing good to say about Hilliary. It's all Obama. I think they are afraid to say anything negative because he is black and that will cause "Racist" accusation.

    This incident regarding the snub – I feel he did snub her. If She would have snubbed Obama – wow the media would have crucified her. But because it's him, they are making excuses.

    Go Hilliary

    January 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Amy in Iowa

    WHY IS HILLARY IN FLORIDA? Look at that false concern. She snubbed South Carolina but is so concerned about the voters in Florida. What a calculating move.

    January 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Lisa

    It's not even about this photo - whatever about the photo. I guess my thing is, Barack Obama came out as the guy who "wasn't like anyone else", and I'll admit, I bought it. But if you're going to lead out with such an almost unreachable ideal, you darn well better be able to uphold the identity of the ideal.

    The problem was, I started getting these really negative e-mails way back months ago from Barack Obama's campaign, bashing the Hillary Clinton. So I was confused about his supposed "nice guy for change" image.

    The problem is, he's just not honest about being a standard low-blow guy! This "playing fragile visionary" is not right! I don't agree with some of the stuff Bill Clintont said, but at least Hillary will come straght out and be harsh in front of people and takes the heat, and Barack takes his shots through e-mail, and behind closed does, then publicizes how he has been picked on, and martyrs himself for some voter sympathy in the name of "clearing his record" (who cares? It's all public record anyway!), which is the EXACT same old politics he's preaching against.

    It's so unbecoming for a presidential candidate to be so "fragile", and shows someone show is really inexperienced and weak, and I don't want to put the "W" factor in here, but I would be lying if I didn't say that his media tactics remind me of George W. Bush, the "moderate" Republican! Yeah - right! Bush was a MONSTER behind closed doors, but all smiles and heatt in front of the camera. I noticed some other people were making the W connection on this board, and I would have never said it out loud, but I was shocked to see other people making the same observation I was - so I'm out with it.

    At least we know now, so he won't get elected, and we won't get another "big surprise" one year into the presendency! I don't think Barack Obama is a bad person, and i do think he's got great ideas, but he has too many meltdowns and his ego is too fragile to be the president. I just think he's REALLY inexperienced in this whole public image thing, and he's blown it.

    January 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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