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. james in melbourne

    let me get this straight - Hillary comes over to say hi to everyone but Barack (who then, wonder of wonders, seems uncomfortable). But it's he who is considered to have snubbed her. Hmmm. smells like Clinton spin.

    January 29, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Ayyub, Richmond, Va

    This is totally not an issue, He could have been looking across the room like the woman next to him clapping.

    CNN I care about the issues not trash and spinning. Unlike the Hillary supporters here who actually call this an issue. Shame on you all, you act like this is pre-K.

    January 29, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. CATHY

    It's is very obvious that obama Turned away from Mrs Clinton.The Women beside obama was not even looking at him.People be aware We wanted change when we got bush and we got it all right.We didn't know much about him either.I say go with safe and maybe in 8 yrs we'll be able to go with change.

    January 29, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Breeze

    This is completely ridiculous...why is it even news?

    January 29, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. An Agnostic Democrat

    Gee! Looks like Hillary's supporters are almost as mature as she is! At least his significant other wasn't giving or receiving sex from an intern while the spouse was away on business!!!

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Ogden

    This is evidently the most exciting story some of you have read since "Harold and the Purple Crayon"

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. CS

    This was just what I was waiting for...

    How could he do this to our Queen? Not our Queen of Divisiveness!
    This was the determining factor in my vote.
    I am voting for Clinton.

    All hail the Queen.

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. New England


    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. kwame

    Obama's behavior is that of a lowlife

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. Mattied

    Obama, stay focus and don't let nobody take you where you don't want to go.
    The Media is trying to disrupt your movement with negative reporting. My message to them is "SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE" or "BE QUITE AND SHUT THEIR MOUTH UP!"

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Diana

    If something this simple and basic upsets Clinton and makes her feel snubbed, how in the world is she going to deal with leaders from other countries who do not like us?? I don't think we can expect the leaders of Iran and Russia to feel pity when she cries!!

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. john smith

    who cares. the most important thing is that if they continue this comedy it will just play in favor of the republicans. the best thing to do is to attack the real issues and convince the american people that they really care about them and also convince the rest of the world that they are for peace. shaking hands or not we all know that they hate each other.

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Mike

    Obama is a liar !!! look at the pic, Sen. Clair McCaskill eyes not contact with Obama – thats mean they didn't have any conversation.
    Why such as not an issue, Obama need to lie on good morning America by saying I didn't snub but Sen. Clair McCaskill asked me a question?

    Big liar..big liar, you just lost my vote!! how can you make a change?

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. John

    You call that a SNUB???

    How many low-income employees did Hillary snub when she was on the Wal-Mart board??????????????

    Hillary needs a bigger snub than that. When Bill nails one of her interns... now that'd be a snub!

    January 29, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. joojo

    Indeed if this was to change the minds of people then its another disaster. I think this picture is worse. I dont even think Obama is engaged with Mcaskill. Poor Obama. Such a hypocrite. Nothing but a pretender

    January 29, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. Mary

    He snubbed her! Good for him. Jonathan if you think this is an issue you really need a life.

    January 29, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. John ny, ny

    Stan- I think it is time for your medication. Why don't you just wait till tuesday then honk you horn. what an idiot
    stan pitts pa January 29, 2008 6:38 pm ET

    HRC and her supporters will PAY a big price on Super Tuesday for making this none issue an iSSUE, instead of dealing with the problems facing this nation, HRC supporters and campaign staffers who post on this BLOG seem to think Americans are stupid or idiots! You will find out otherwise and the hard way on Feb 5th, obama 08!

    January 29, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. Wise

    I remember when Joseph Biden made a comment about Obama being one "... who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking .....".

    Obama later went on record to say he didnt think Joseph Biden meant to hurt any one. He was atleast courageous enough to comment on the issue, even though he would have benefited politically by remaining quite.

    Where is the Hilary Clinton's comment confiming or denying whether Obama actually waved to her earlier when entering the Senate Chamber?

    Or let me think why Hillary hasn't made a comment?

    Likely answer! Always the calculating Clintons!

    She should have atleast commented either positive or negative, just like Obama did on Jaseph Biden's incidence. Just some thought!.

    January 29, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. Jerry B. Orlando, Fl.

    For someone who says that he can get along and bring others together....snubbing Hillary proves hes a little off that message!

    January 29, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Malik

    It's this kind of reporting that substantiates peoples claim that CNN is the "Chicken Noodle Network." This, coupled with the "Reactions to Kennedy endorsing Obama" piece, is clear news bias. Geez...Report the news; don't make it!

    January 29, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Alfredo

    Well Barack did not even congratulated Hilalry when she won the Nevada caucus. With nagative ads between them, he should at least glance first to Hillary before turning his attention to somebody else. However, I still need to see the actual video if he did it this way. Also, the endorsement from the Kennedy's is ridiculous (clearly politics). The so called CHANGE we need is to bring back the prosperity we have during the Clinton years. We do not want another TRAINEE for the next 4 years as Presidetn Bush did in his first 4 years term in the office.

    January 29, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. dxv2008

    Wake up People, he's no JFK...

    January 29, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Hispanic Texan

    Jamie Hernandez:

    You would think that you would also be interested and/or care what Sen. Clinton has done and is doing to support the Hispanic's. She has received support not only from African Americans but Hispanics as well. To name a few the brother of the late Cesar Chavez endorsed her and is to campaign for Sen. Clinton. Do you know who CC was? The United Farm Workers have also endorsed unfair impact of pollution on minority neighborhoods. This issue is important to the voters in California. As a minority you should really inform yourself re the issues that concern your culture as well. I know I do. What's Obama done for Hispanics?

    January 29, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. Steven

    Oh come on!!! Barak Obama didn't realize he was snubbing Hillary Clinton.
    In fact he just got her confused with the American Flag and turned his back on instinct.

    January 29, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. AP

    Lest we forget, shortly after Rudy's biggest point, the attacks on September 11, the beast known as Hillary (hereafter referred to as IT) blatatly ignored the stirring speech given by the President of the United States. Say what you will about the president, but everyone remembers what those few days following that attack felt like.

    When they showed IT on tv, IT wasn't even paying attention! The state that IT represents, as well as the nation IT wants to lead, were both attacked worse than ever before and IT couldn't be bothered to listen to our president.

    Oh, and no one made any sort of huge deal about that either...

    January 29, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
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