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. Bryce K. Dixon

    Sure you did not Mr. Obama, and we all beleive you and in the tooth fairy too

    January 29, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Michelle

    I was horrified when I read his book (Obama). He said he had a problem growing up with his mom's race, and that is loosely quoting. His mom was white. IF he does not have race issues, then why did he have such a problem that his mom was white, because he was picked on and insulted, or so he says.

    WOW, now he is insulting others, but claims that he is not. This man does not know anything but blame, lies, and trust me, according to his church decree, racism.

    I hope eventually the world wakes up and sees him for his true colors. This is just one picture, but it was so worth more than a 1000 words. Of which Obama uses to snow the world. Hitler was a great speaker, but look what he turned out to be.

    I am also tired of OBAMA worshipers calling the Hillary supporters hateful, spiteful, or any other choice words. We defend our cadidate of choice, because it is for sure the media is not doing a dag nab thing to help. This is the first article that has shed a positive light on Hillary that I have read on CNN, and it is about darned time. Stop catering to the Obama campaign, as you can see, you have their feathers ruffled now, and crying that ths is foul, and not news worthy. Neither was some of the other stuff, but when you were picking on Hillary, it was ok.

    January 29, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Anonymous Dallas, Texas

    This is not an issue...

    So during the campaign,let's please focus on actual ones that matter.. like the economy, healthcare, and Iraq!

    January 29, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. Alexander Chenault

    Who really cares? Is she the preseident? He doesn't have to shake her hand. Frankly, If I had the choice, I would rather shake McCain's hand who is at least upfront about his views, rather than let my skin touch that snake, Hilary.

    January 29, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. jay mo

    wow, i am overly surprised at the spin that has been put on such an issue that doesn't really matter. Don't we have real issues to debate and respectfully disagree on? i think that we could afford to divert our attention towards something other than who supposedly didn't talk to who, and why…. sounds like something that my children would come home with from the local highschool…



    January 29, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Charles

    This is not an issue. This is stupid. Why is this even news?

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

    Wow, I would have never expected CNN would allow white hatred to harvest on this topic.

    January 29, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. Antonio, San Antonio TX

    Signed, sealed, and delivered. Obama supporters, pictures says 1000 words. Your about to vote for a liar.

    January 29, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Ray

    ABC just put up 4 photos back to back that show that he DID snub her. ABC seems to be the only one to be going after Obama and calling him for his crap!!!

    January 29, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Michelle

    Dos CNN report real news and issues or has it become a shallow gossip site like TMZ. Who cares about this stuff. Instead of trying to create your own news and playing into tabloid fodder, try reporting on the real issues like our troops dying, problems in our education system, health care and the list goes on. None of this is important and you folks have played on it all day non stop. Shame on you CNN.

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

    Seriously, all the folks who think much of this need to get a life. What is wrong with you people. Don't you have anything else to talk about? So what if Obama snubbed her. So what?

    January 29, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Grace

    Only racist white people can say things like what I am reading, what ashame America.



    White AMERICA

    January 29, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. DonI

    " the HRC people" are not concerned about this, if your referring to the campaign. However, people here are. Clinton has not made an issue of this, so stop putting words in her mouth.

    January 29, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. Judy Bruce

    He snubbed her and then did not take responsibility for it. During a debate he said she was "likeable enough." How can someone that refuses to shake his rival's hand be a uniter? Obama needs to grow up because if he wins the nomination the Republicans are just licking their chops at all the dirty ads they can run against him. He will be swift-boated and will loose the election. The only one that can win is Hillary and the Republican owned media knows that. That is why they are giving Obama a free ride and constantly blaming Hillary for everything. We need a President who is mature and not a kid.

    Go Hillary!

    January 29, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. Objective View

    Obama already waved earlier...! They already had a friendly moment. Why would Obama sit there idle and wait for Clinton to finish her conv with Kennedy?? He was looking around to say hello to someone. It's obvious Clinton came over there to say hello to Kennedy and not Obama. Obama's intent was not to snub anyone, just look for someone to talk to. This was an insignificant moment in his mind and you nor I remember every little action taken and remember exactly what thoughts were running through your mind.

    As an American, I hope Obama does well. But as a Conservative, I hope Hillary wins so McCain, Romney or Huckabee has a chance at a win! hahaha

    January 29, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. tracey

    How can Obama be President of the Free World when he can't even show respect to Hillary Clinton?

    Shame, Shame, Shame.

    January 29, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. Julia, California

    Obama behaves like a baby and talks like a baby. He needs guidance. So comes Ted Kennedy. Are we electing president or what? I guess deep inside, Ted Kennedy would like McCain to win.

    January 29, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Trev

    It is funny how CNN could do no wrong when they were praising Obama. Now Obama supporters are getting some of their own medicine and need a little cheese with their whine. Maybe this is what Obama would do in one of those unconditional meetings with Iran.

    January 29, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. Cliff Baker, Arlington, TX

    To Zaac,

    You stated: "Now I'm an independent and have no inclination to vote for anyone who is pro-choice so that kinda throws out the Democratic candidates."

    I understand your "pro-choice" position. Bush is pro-choice too, and many people voted for Bush just because of his pro-choice position. Guess what, he is destroying America.

    Please reconsider your position and think who is the best America instead of narrowly looking at a single pro-choice issue. Hillary Clinton is the best for America. She is READY to lead, WILLING to change, and ABLE to unite America.

    January 29, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Frank

    Oh how we forget so easily. Open your eyes. Remember your former president?
    He has also snubbed in the past. His last name is clinton. Snubbing high
    ranking officals he has.

    January 29, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Shame on cnn for being so critical of Bill Clinton. Where is the fairness? If this was George W I could understand

    January 29, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Eve

    Obama needs to be questioned on his character and judgment. The media needs to question him on why his grandmother still lives in poverty in Kenya. If he wants to bring prosperity back to the USA, how can leave his grandmother living in dire situations in Kenya.

    January 29, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. Jakob

    Obama 08 – Next time give Hillary a big hug and give the tabloids some real work to do. I can't believe media is making $$$$$ over such flumsy issues.

    January 29, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. t

    I saw the other picture when him and Ted was looking at her with those evil looks . He remind me of the mean girls who talk bad about you in school it brought chills to my body. He suppose to be the man about change.What would Martin Luther King say or JFK would say because I would say thats not unify.

    January 29, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Patye

    I say let illegals keep paying into the Social Security system but if the want their Social Security Check when they reach retirement age they will be required by law to become US citizens....

    January 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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