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. Bonnie

    Don't we want a president with a little more maturity than a middle school student!! Obama needs to grow up. This is where experience would kick in...

    January 29, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Pat M

    Well since CNN brought it up ........

    Yes, I feel Obama avoided Clinton. He may have his reasons and only he knows what they are. But, I think he could have handled the public situation in a more mature and statesman type manner especially given the fact that negative headlines have been all too plentiful of late.

    January 29, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. tiquan

    That was mean he suppose to be a man about change that no change to me thats being evil trying to grandstand her.Hillary was so gracious to give Ted a hand shake after he diss her completey. I want a President like Hillary who can take heat and still be strong now thats a President.Now whose being caculating.

    January 29, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. Tee

    This infraction has more cover than the President's Speech and we're looking for morals. This is an insuly to our intelligence.

    This is trash and we should demand more from our media sources.

    January 29, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Mimi Stewart

    Mr.Obama was rude. He should start by being accountable and accepting responsibility for his public actions. If Sen.Clinton had done this, she would never hear the end of it. The Obama camp spent all morning trying to create a statement for Obama, but we saw you and you did snub her ! I think winning SC has gotten to your head, please remember that not all African Americans support your lies, and ill gotten behavior...go get some experience and grow-up while you are at it; Mr.Jr Senator !

    Clinton 08

    January 29, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Bingo Queen

    The picture says it all.

    As President of the United States you need to shake many hands of people, and you need to have good manners.

    Hillary Clinton 08

    January 29, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. J

    Everyone is complaining about Obama but Hillary. If she doesn't care, why should anyone else? Besides, she's got to wear her big girl panties in the White House because the men overseas will make her walk behind them and she'll really be looking at their backs. Much ado about not-a-doggone-thing.

    January 29, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Sammy

    I just read another story buried beneath this snub story. In this case it was about the home foreclosure problem and how more and more people are leaving their pets behind either in their homes or in some field somewhere. The lucky ones live. Yes it happens all the time (my dog was rescued as a puppy and loves everybody) but its getting a lot worse.

    Makes me sick and the ECONOMY is what needs fixing. Get off this whole shameful snub rant. Everyone ask yourself what is more important: whether or not someone avoided shaking a hand or whether or not people are leaving their trusting family pets behind to die?

    January 29, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. debra

    he definitely did snub her. Those of you saying who cares..you have that attitude because it is your precious Obama. I am voting for John McCain.

    January 29, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. tracey

    ATTENTION – OBAMA Supporters...are YOU not concerned that candidate you are voting for shows Disrespect and Poor Judgement towards a fellow American?

    ...or do you just like the rhetoric and motivation speeches?

    January 29, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. Joyce

    If Obama wants to snub Hillery surely he should have the guts to admit it. Any viewer can see what happened.

    January 29, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Lisa Lee, Dallas, TX

    So is this how Obama will treat heads of state from other countries if they have a disagreement? It shows his immaturity and inability to handle such things.

    If Obama is the party's nominee, we might as well count on having a Republican win the election in November because I think he just is NOT electable nationwide at this point. He just isn't ready for prime time yet, so to speak.

    Just my two cents worth.... your mileage may vary.

    January 29, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Hispanic Texan

    Jamie Hernandez:

    oops–I deleted my part of my comment.

    The United Farm Workers have also endorsed her. Sen.Clinton and Congresswoman Solis have introduced legislation to address 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 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  14. Ginness2050

    Obama has an attitude problem.

    January 29, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. tracey



    January 29, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. kk

    i think so too that Obama played race card in SC , but they blame Bill what a shame.

    I DO NOT vote and i am not Clinton suporter either but i do watch TV News getting sort of nasty

    January 29, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. James

    Give me a break people. Why is this even news? Why won’t we all just accept that we have one candidate that will do and say anything to get elected and we have another candidate that has an honesty and integrity that we haven’t seen in politics in a long time? Are we saying that a few years of experience is better than moral fiber and wisdom? I love my country but sometimes I don’t understand us.

    January 29, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. Aaron

    Are you people 12 or what?? This is the most ridiculous thing yet. Grow up people. This isn't a reality show. This isn't President IDOL. The media is playing you like a fiddle. Anyone who has EVER used a camera can tell you that a moment frozen in time can be interpreted in a plethora of ways depending on the angle of the shot. When I first saw the original photo I said that someone else got his attention from the other direction. Come on you guys. Get serious and stop injecting gossip and things that have nothing to do with the ISSUES into the campaign. We're talking about presidential campaigns not the next Britney Spears breakdown. Separate your tabloid fix from electing our next president please. Don't take something idiotic and use that as your excuse for voting for or against someone because you're too lazy to really give your time and energy to studying the issues. You're acting like high schoolers who really want to not like the new girl but don't have a reason so they use something insignificant. "Did you see what she was wearing today!?!? I knew there was a reason why I didn't like her!!" You're just using this to exercise your personal prejudices whatever the true nature of that is. There are people paid to inject this type of stupidity into the process because basically they think that public is one step above retarded. There are people on this site right now leaving comments that they don't even believe because they're trying to use this as a way of swaying your opinion one way or another. If you allow THIS to influence your vote you are pathetically gullible and displaying the same intelligence as a dog being tossed a bone in order to keep him from barking at you.

    January 29, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. longbench

    That anyone would look at a picture and draw conclusions like this is ridiculous. Reduced all of you to gossipy, rumor-mongering, snivelling fools. This is not our story; its CNN's story. move on to things that are far more important. jeeeezzzz.

    January 29, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. cynthia

    Pretty obvious CNN does not report the real news anymore, take a look at some of the poll questions they ask, how stupid!!! So what if he did snubb her???, only truth to this is Crooked olde Bush is thankgod on his way out , too bad it will take over a year. CNN is only hollywood's fluff version of the news, So hey where are the bona fide news site i would find it refreshing to hear.

    January 29, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. Gobama

    "Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR January 29, 2008 4:56 pm ET
    This blog is making me dumber by the minute."

    Ha ha ha!
    Good one!

    If Americans are foolish enough to take the media seriously, they will indeed become dumbed down. lol

    January 29, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Theresa

    How rude! I don't believe him, his strategy is lie, cheat, make himself the victim and turn every story into one on your opponent. He tried to do it with his Chicago slumlord friend and also with the race card. It's not working!

    January 29, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. Alex

    Looks like CNN ("The Clinton News Network") need to focus on real news. This story will lose steam as soon as Hillary wins an uncontested, meaningless race in Florida. They'll have to talk that one up to make her seem like she's still competative. This isn't news.

    January 29, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. tracey

    Too bad AmericanS don't have more time to witness the true OBAMA!

    Go for a sure thing!

    Vote for Hillary!

    January 29, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. Jeepman

    Don't you people in the media have any sense of shame or proportion or of what's important? Of course you don't. Aren't you ashamed of yourselves for blowing up something that is totally non-sensical like this and ignoring the issues. Of course you're not. Because you're idiots. The only group in the United States that has less credibility than the Senate of the United States is the media. Why oh why can't you leave this stupid stuff alone and cover the issues in this vital race? Because you're idiots.

    VERY very sincerely,


    January 29, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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