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. chyke

    Fayth, that's what we need in this country! A lot of people crossing party lines to vote for a candidate they believe in! That's the message obama is propagating: tising above partisanship to rebuild america!

    January 29, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |

    Obama, How can you possibly embrace your enemies over seas, who have promise to bring America to its knees thru all kinds of terrorist attacks if you can't even acknowledge a competitive rival in your own party. These are your own words, "I intend to unite this country by bringing democrats and republicans together and restore our international image by talking to our allies as well as our enemies", or something along those lines. Your immaturity is really starting to show through and something else too. You are starting to look a lot like Bush and his cronies.

    January 29, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |

    wow coming from the guy who doesnt lie, it seem to me like he is doing it just now, manners are basics for politics? He so snub her....

    January 29, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. wakeupamerica!

    Yea, what ever Barack.......like we believe you!

    you lied about Resko!! you'll lie about anything!!

    January 29, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. Alice

    To our friend in the Netherlands:

    How will you like it when he pouts like a baby and turns his back on your leader or your Queen?

    It IS NOT a small thing – it just really highlights what he is really all about

    It speaks VOLUMES about his true character – or lack thereof

    January 29, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Ben, Nashville, TN

    The video doesn't lie. Of course it was a snub. But why lie about whether or not you snubbed Hillary? After the way the campaign has gone I don't blame Obama for snubbing her.

    January 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Esau T.

    Just another reson why he supports the appearance that he has not yet matured as a politician! Grow up Senator!

    January 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. John & Erika Copeland

    We have been listening to CNN for the last couple of months.It is nauseating,how much negative coverage Hillary is getting vs. Obama.Sort of like a "Hit job" on the
    Clintons, while Obama can't do no wrong.We've seen this picture before.
    We have major problems to solve in this country & CNN is totally engaged in overplaying & dramatising comments made between Clinton & Obama.
    Who is the force behind this. The next time we will change the channel to an unbiased station the moment we recognize your ammo.
    By the way, this is a retired, disabled veteran and his wife, who like Ron Paul, and who have many black friends who also dislike what they see on CNN news.
    Shape up & bring us some real news instead, so we don't have to turn you off.

    January 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Ed

    I don't know who's worse, the pundits who stay up all night trying to find a non-issue or the suckers that see it on TV and demonstrate that the pundits are correct in making money by turning a non-issue into an issue. This is how we ended up in Iraq. The only reason I am looking at cnn.com is to find some news on the FL election (and there isn't any, of course). I try to never seek out cnn because they don't report news, they report gossip or create news (just like FOX does). But then again, the president had nothing intelligent to say so I guess watching smart people in the audience is more entertaining.

    January 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. R.A.R.

    I heardthat even the photographer had said that Obama turned away after he saw her, contradictory to what Obama has said. I have also noticed his cockiness now, which is really a turn off for me. I don't think I'll be voting for him after all, not just because of this but many other things too. I would also like to see CNN talk about what we are writing here, noit just what their views are. I probably wont get posted now, but I don't care. CNN and the other news media have already chosen Obama as their guy. But really, get Wolf to show our responses and let the us see what other people are saying, because I lknow not all of us are gonna be "Hoodwinked" or some other word used by a certain candidate.
    Anyways, Obama snubbed her, McCaskill proved that by sticking up for him because their stories were different. And please....stop being a cheerleader CNN for one guy, let us see everyone of them in equal light.

    January 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Bruno

    Such a non-issue

    January 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. Slow Poke

    The HRC people seem rather desperate on this one – is the ice melting under their feet?

    January 29, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. We are still the same team

    Regardless of what Obama thinks of her they were at the State of the Union and as fellow Democrats they should show solidarity towards each other. Clinton was probably just trying to show that as Democrats they are still in it together to defeat the Republicans why can't he just smile for the picture!! That's politics now a days Image Image Image Image!!!

    January 29, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. Patrice Ceeley

    It was obvious that Obama did diss Clinton at the State of the Union. That is fine, he seems aloof anyway. Granted that the speeches he gives are filled with contrived emotion, stem winding, and a throwback southern preacher imitative style, that get the live audience excited and moved. The I simply do not get what all of the fuss about this guy is all about. I hear him speak in a debate and am underwhelmed and put to sleep. He is impossible to follow when making a point at a debate. That is the guy we'll get as President ...unless he is giving a speech.
    I really hope I'm wrong, I want to feel moved by this guy like most of the media seems to be, and, just like the media, and especially MSNBC, I want another "JFK" Too.

    January 29, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. Tawnya

    His body language said it all! Not the way of a future President! So glad we have cameras that catch things such as this!

    January 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Donna

    Please, people. This is ridiculous. Quit trying to read stuff into every little nuance and just listen to the candidates' positions.

    January 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Hillably

    who cares?!
    Only Hillary's cry babies

    January 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. Arthur

    At one point, the Clintons were the right choice. Today, call them what they really are: CARPETBAGGERS!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. r sisk, nevada

    I am surprised CNN featured this article because it may cast a bad light on Obama. My God, Hillary sneezes wrong and it's plastered all over the place. People who saw this obvious snubbing will turn a blind eye not to criticize their "golden boy". Or better yet, try and defend his rudeness because Hillary has been so mean to him and spreading lies. Here in Reno, Nevada Obama did a stand up comedian style bashing of Hillary that left me feeling he's a hypocrite. Seems CNN favors Hillary and Bill being the bad guys with their racist remarks and evil tactics. Don't be fooled folks. Obama needs polishing and seasoning. Plus, a lesson in manners.

    January 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. eva

    Is it the "Bad Luck" of the Kennedy's Dynasty hunting Sen.Obama already??? I guess, that Bill Clinton was right , when he asked Senator Kennedy to not get involve and remain "neutral" as he always was in the past.
    And Sen.Obama – this is just a beginning, just wait what will happen on February 5.

    January 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. True say

    The truth is all of those presidential candidates they needs president to Run them I wouldn’t trust them to run elementary school !!!!!!????????

    January 29, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. Alan

    Obama to supporters: Don't misunderestimate me. I'm a uniter!

    January 29, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Young Liberal

    Haha these posts just show how great Obama is! Hillary supporters must try and use THIS to bring him down! Too bad his record is nearly flawless, besides Rezko, which by the way, didn't one of Hillary's doners get arrested?

    Obama 08

    January 29, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. hahaha

    Okay, I'll play the role of Edwards and discipline Obama so that Billary's feelings won't hurt anymore and she won't need to find herself tomorrow......"OBAMA, STOP SNUBBING YOUR PARTY'S CANDIDATE"! There you go....do you Billary supporters feel better...Obam's been repremanded....now, on with some real issues....

    January 29, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I didn't see either one, Hillary or Obama, speak to the other. To me it looked like it went both ways with them not speaking.

    January 29, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
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