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. DrToketee

    All this nonsense because (1) some idiot journalists made a ridiculous grossly unwarranted interpretation via some headlines of a couple of still photographs and (2) many idiot readers actually took it seriously. The Obama campaign manager had it right: Obama, In the company of Kennedy, appropriately backed off when Kennedy extended his hand to his long-time friend Hillary. After all, Obama had already greeted Hillary minutes before in the lobby outside.

    January 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. ken

    What a non-issue! More media creating personality stories instead of dealing with real issues.

    January 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Beaches

    If you think this wasn't a snub, well, he did it before! After a previous debate, I don't remember which one exactly but because there hasn't been that many of them so it would be easy to find, when the candidates are shaking handshe turned when it seems that Hillary was coming towards him. It just put me off when I saw it and I remember thinking, well isn't he the one talking about bringing people together . . . isn't he the "change" candidate? It was not becoming of him at all and I think that if he's already rattled just what is he going to do if he gets the nomination and the Repub get hold of him. They (Repub) are much better at this sort of thing than the Democ. anyway.

    January 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Fem4Hillary

    Oh poor Mr. Obama =( He was once again MISUNDERSTOOD. Maybe if he takes away all the FLUFF is his speeches and adds some SUBSTANCE then we will beleive him.
    He did it ...... just didn't think anyone saw him! Mr. Unifier showing his true colors! LOL

    In the meantime......... ~~~~HILLARY ALL THE WAY~~~ No empty suits here...no matter what color they are!!!!

    Hillary 08

    January 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Jim Lunsford, Chicago IL

    Let's see now... Obama was there ...... Clinton was there ....... neither of them reached out for the other at that moment ...... Is one party any more guilty than the other? NO. Is this news? NO. Are the media manufacturing the drama here? YES.

    Let's talk about the SOTU address, and how Bush continues to talk about making the tax cuts permanent in the face of record debt that was generated primarily in the first six years of his presidency, when he had a Republican Congress to support him. Bush's economy has been propped up on the backs of our children, who will face a debt crisis in years to come.

    And how finally, in the final year of his presidency, Bush suddenly sees "earmark" spending as the evil that it is.

    And how he has experienced an epiphany about rapid global climate change, and his idea is to establish a world-wide treaty, but he doesn't mention that a treaty already exists (Kyoto) , but he refused to participate on it.

    Let's talk about the fact that the only reason John McCain is the likely Republican candidate because we seem to know where he stands. Trouble is, he doesn't stand anywhere near where the majority of Americans stand on issues such as the Iraq war and abortion.

    Could we possibly talk about the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels, and how the development of renewable energy is really the most important priority we should be pursuing, as it will lessen the greenhouse effect, eliminate one of the most significant factors in global political tensions (the dwindling supply of carbon-based fuels), and improve our economy and the world economy?

    Can we?

    So can we STOP talking about the silly ["You snubbed me!" "No, you snubbed me first!"] crapola?

    January 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Tony A.

    This is the dumbest news story I've read since the Paris Hilton saga, and Hillary supporters, you really make yourself look petty trying to blow this up into some kind of sexist issue.

    January 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Fayth

    OMG..... Lets let the voters decide,, I know Hillary will win, because we all need her to its my opinion,!
    Dont be fooled people . the media is being nice to Obama .... because they are saving it up in case Hillary lost, but alot of republicans are crossing the lines and voting for him .
    Hillary cant say anything with out the media saying it racist.. but when the republicans get a hold of him we will lose the white house again.. Im just saying....

    January 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Louis

    No pun intended but; it looks like the true colors are showing.

    January 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Basquale

    IDIOTS! All of you!

    January 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. John

    Judging by all of the immature comments about a issue that means absolutly nothing I feel nothing but sadness for the future of our great nation. Are we going to pick our future leaders by such insignificant issues? Get over it and move on. I can't believe there are so many comments for such a non issue.

    January 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Stop the Silliness!

    I agree with Vince in Arizona.

    THIS….. IS….. NOT….. AN….. ISSUE…….

    People: Get a life!

    January 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. GLENDA Hudson ,Fl

    HE CAN'T EVEN BE GRACIOUS TO A RIVEL. HOW IS HE GOING TO BE A UNITER(like George Bush hahaha) when he meets leaders from other countries
    that are our rivals????

    He is an empty suit that makes
    motivational speeches.


    January 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. PB

    All you Clinton fans remember , Hillary 's a Goldwater girl to the end. Now get a life.

    January 29, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    The media has done it again. Implied racial issues now one candidate snubs the other. Come on folks, GROW UP. Lets now let the media win. Remember the issues and vote for the candidate of YOUR CHOICE and not be side tracked by others.

    January 29, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Herman

    I can't believe, in this crucial time in our lives, we would be talking about a serious presidential contender snubbing his main rival for the nomination. However, that is exactly what we are dealing with. I have seen the pictures, and it is extremely clear that Senator Obama did purposely turn away to keep from shaking the hand of Senator Clinton, which is very childish especially if you're going to be dealing with leaders of other countries. I am very concerned as a citizen that you may continue these antics if you're elected to be president. Although I was wavering between the two candidates as to whom I would support, I can't support someone who is going to play childish games with their colleague and opponent because things are getting tough on the campaign trail. Come on Barack....you had to know getting into this game wasn't going to be easy. My two year old niece knows better. As a result, I expect to vote for Hillary next Tuesday, February 5th and I'm a resident of Illinois.

    January 29, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. RedSea Foreign National

    Maybe Hillary snubbed CNN because she is above their games and participating in the tabloids ! As I myself have sent many complaints to her, Obama, and other congress and seante members about CNN and their censorship of factual comments with referenced sources of the facts! Do you think she is stupid about what CNN is doing?

    And obviously Obama knows, because this story first appeared with the first picture without an added moderation of Obama's comments, then it reappeared 10 hours later with moderated comments of Obama, now it appears again as a headline about Obama claiming again to be the innocent victim!

    Good for Hillary to snub CNN!

    January 29, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Alice

    Nap Time – since you seem to need some help and obviously don't own a dictionary:

    snub: to treat with disdain, slight

    Oh, now maybe you need more help, so

    disdain: contempt, scorn

    slight: a humiliating discourtesy, to treat as unimportant

    discourtesy: rudeness

    contempt: the act of despising, disobedience to or open disrespect of a court or legislature

    Oh, sheesh, this could take all night....

    Look, he DISSED her – can you get that????????????? I KNOW you know what THAT word means 🙂

    January 29, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Rin

    are you serious???

    this is news? good one, cnn.

    January 29, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. stan pitts pa


    January 29, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Beans

    You said it yourself, CNN...that snubbing is in the eye of the beholder. Is Hillary complaining about it–does SHE feel she was snubbed? Maybe she snubbed him by keeping her distance. It is clear that neither one of them went out of their ways to greet to other.

    Seems we are hard up for news or trying to stir the pot. This isn't news...move on. No one cares really.

    January 29, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Joke of the day....

    Maybe Billary will start cryiing......then find herself.....then win California.....does that make you Clinton supporters feel any better? lol As a woman, I resent the fact that one day Billary is the big bad wolf, the next day, poor Billary she was attacked by the two big bad Demoncratic candidates who happen to be men, the day after that, she finds herself, the next day here comes, "don't mess with Mr. Bill" to her rescue, the day after that, she gives this pathetic speech after loosing terribly in S.C. which was a joke (talk about electability) which she only got 1/4 of the white vote....talk about being a sore looser, now her poor little feelings are hurt because Obama "snubbed her" and she didn't get the nomination from her long time friend, the Kennedys. She seems to be an emotional wreck....Please, Bill rescue the little lady. This is getting more pathetic as the days draw near.... And you think that she should be the president. The country is already way too emotional! lol hahaha

    She can't have her cake and eat it too, if you are going play with the boys...then roll up your sleeves and deal with it...

    January 29, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Frank

    Of course Obama meant to snub Clinton. It was obvious and for those who don't think so then please try to explain why he and his campaign can't get their stories straight. This was a deliberate act and that is very disturbing; especially after his big day with the Kennedy endorsements. If he lets his anger get the best of him and acts like a spoiled child now what is going to happen in the general election when the Republicans unlease the dogs on him? How could he handle that if he's so upset now with Clinton? More importantly, how would he be able to deal with egotistical dictators if he were elected President? Do you want someone who obviously can't handle criticism in a primary campaign with his finger on the nuclear button as President? Not me. That one childish act of disrespect has convinced not to vote for Obama (and for those Obama supporters out there, no I am not a Hillary fan; my preference is Edwards).

    January 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. A Smoke Screen

    What better way to keep petty people occuoied than give news to the key endorsements Obama got. If Clinton is not behind this she should speak up.

    To decide on your vote by part of a picture shows that you are shallow and wouldn't read about the issues even if CNN posted them.

    January 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Ray

    I used to think that CNN was the leading news source. Gradually over the past 6 months I have changed my mind. They report stuff that isn't even news. It appears that CNN's goal is to make mountains out of molehills. This "snub" story they've chosen to sensationalize is just one more instance of increasing frequency. Other news websites don't even mention this "national story of importance!" I believe that CNN is steadily moving into competition with the likes of National Enquirer. CNN's website contains, "Car Looks Like Homer Simpson", "Clay Aiken meets Monty Python". Is this news?? I think not. I'm switching my home page to MSNBC.

    January 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. American

    Pictures are worth a thousand words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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