January 29th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: I didn't snub Clinton

ALT TEXT

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. Sharon

    The Kennedy's BLAH BLAH! I am sure Hillary's intention was to show the solidarity between the dems and to show she was not humilated nor upset that she did not get their endoresment. The problem with both Kerry and Kennedy is that they could not support a woman or else they would be tripping over their ego if when she wins presidency. Why? Because they didn't, PLAIN and SIMPLE.

    January 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  2. Chris-Seattle

    db you're lacking in education to put it nicely!

    January 29, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Jennifer

    What I find interesting is how nobody picked up on the fact that Michelle Obama wanted President Bush's autograph after the State of the Union. Obama has done everything he could to slam the Bush administration (rightfully so) and try to cover the fact that he liked some of the Republicans' policies. If you watched the part *after* the State of the Union address, Prez Bush was signing autographs. At one point, a Caucasian man hands Bush something to sign and says, "This is for Michelle Obama." Why hasn't any of the supposed news media reported the fact that Obama's wife admires President Bush enough to want his autograph?

    If Hillary Clinton had done that (or Bill) the news media would be all over it.

    January 29, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. mona

    Reading all the comments about Obama being a” kid” and to “grow up” – first, read your own emails before you make a statement like that. Second, is this all that can be reported on, does the media have that much influence on our thinking to even have this stupid and irrelevant discussion?

    January 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Steve

    I cannot believe obama-supporters think that snubbing a fellow canidate is nothing. Some of them are even proud of it!!
    I think it is a very serious issue. It proves again that obama is too immature to be the president. This time he snubbed his fellow. Next time should I expect that he turned his back to leaders of foreign countries who criticize him?
    Whenever Obama said or did something wrong, it is "misinterpretation". And if people don't agree with his poor excuses, they are "racist". What a candidate!

    January 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. Margie Miller

    I think the media, you folks included, goes out of their way to create news from such occasions. I believe Obama and I am sure Hillary would agree he did not snub her.

    if I believed half of what the media comes up with, I would dislike all the candidates and vote for none of them. Coming up with this sort of news to just create news does not help anyone.

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

    based on comments posted, it seems to me people are not as open minded as i imagined! this is such a trivial issue... not even worthy of discussing!

    January 29, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. Nap time... Cookies later.

    Diana,

    Clinton wasn't upset... her camp didn't even complain about this. This is pure Media interpretation.

    January 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Jeff, Miami, Fl

    Diana,
    Hillary did not say a word. It's the lies that Obama used trying to cover up.
    Who cares if he did it, he just should not claim that the rest of the country is wrong!
    You Obamanites spewed so much hate lately that the party is completely broken. You'll regret it when November comes. I would never wanna me in the same niche as you. I will never vote for him! I'll stay home!

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

    Judging by the amount of responses for a piece of so-called news like this, it is clear that Americans lap this stuff up like dogs.
    Now I know why this country is in perpetual decline.

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

    Beth January 29, 2008 6:23 pm ET

    I think the biggest point of all this it shows Hillarys true character going to shake Tedd Kennedys hand

    We agree. Hillary is awesome

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

    As the great Bard said....this is "much ado about nothing!"

    January 29, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Mel

    The way I saw it is....Hillary had no intention of even looking in their direction...and Ted Kennedy had to almost break his neck reaching across Obama to make her shake his hand!!! So, it seems to me that Hillary was the snubber and not the other way around. I'm sure that Obama might have felt just a tad uncomfortable since the Kennedy's and Clinton's are "friends" and he got the Kennedy endorsement. Hillary is a blood-thirsty, break any rule, out to get your delegate woman...and she came down here to South Carolina and spewed her hate. Then, she jumped on a plane and left her crazy husband Bill here to spew more hate. She didn't care enough to stay and stump, because she had to run off and get more backing...and South Carolina showed her how that made them feel. She is disgusting, and I wouldn't vote for her if she were the only person on the ballot. The very last option....still wouldn't do it!! Period.

    January 29, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. Chris-Seattle

    Heck I wouldn't look at her either, unfortunately he has to be somewhat "plastic" about it. I bet you any amount of money he was probably thinking exactly what I would have and that is, "you divisive little brat, I didn't throw Norman Hsu in your face", "I didn't bring the past cases and issues you've faced to the forum", "all I wanted to do was speak on the issues"! Especially for these folks that need to be hand fed their information like it's not out there for them to find and read.

    Beam me up Scottie, there's no intelligent life here!

    January 29, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. auntie p

    Trust me folks, this new wrinkle is the least of our problems.
    "Bill-hary " is becoming really scary. I was planning to vote for
    Hillary, but now that I see how the 'former President'
    is behaving during the campaign, I find it scary.
    If Hillary is the strong, independent woman I thought she
    was, I'd think she'd tell Bill to 'zip-it-up'. (His mouth,
    no pun intended.)

    January 29, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. Claudia Miller

    Sure looks like to me, that he snub Hillay Clinton. But the big question is, if he did
    that he just lied about it. Do we want another liar in Office?

    Uniter not a Divider??????

    January 29, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. brad

    Please....this is not an issue. Stop reporting on this non-sense.

    One a side note, if you want to talk about character, what is Hillary Clinton doing going back on her word with regards to Florida? They agreed to not campaign in Michigan and Florida, and here's Hillary trying to steel the spotlight in Florida.

    Total BS!

    A Hillary win in the primary equals a Republican win in the general. Get it through your thick skulls. They hate her.

    January 29, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. SCOTT

    Democrats and Republicans, they're all alike. Blame this on that party and that on this party. What we need is a real American to run for the White House. But alas Chuck Norris makes to much money to run for office........

    January 29, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. stan pitts pa

    Desperate HRC SUPPORTERS, her campaign is over!

    January 29, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. kathleen

    Obama snubbed Hillary no doubt in my mind about that ,but if the situation were reversed we would never hear the end of it ,as for Hillary making a comment on it I've ye t to hear that ,Obama if your runing to be the leader of the free world your going to have to learn ,and my thinking is we dont need someone who needs on the job training ,no you wont be ready on day one ,regardless of who throws his weight behind you

    January 29, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Bill

    This is the most ridiculous string of public comments I have seen. Way much to do about NOTHING!!

    January 29, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. Daniel

    To the folks that say this snubbing issue was no big deal . . .

    What you don't understand is that this shows the character of obama. Just like the "you're likeable enough hillary" comment. both actions were rude and disrespectful. but if you pay any attention to the debates, you will notice that obama is very condescending to hillary, but not to john. this just very sexist.

    January 29, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  23. Obama vs Kennedy

    I wasn't born when JFK died but have heard and read about him being so great and I believed until Obama was compared with him. I don't see anything great about Obama, as a matter of fact I find his speeches more like church preachers and irritating to be precise. Either media is insulting JFK's legacy or he may have not been so great after all.

    January 29, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. Tax man

    to diana
    What page are you on.? Obama is a crybaby here. not hillary

    And to everybody who said " WHO CARES??"

    Obama CARES because he RESPONDED!!!People care because its all over the news.
    This blog alone has over a 1000 posts. People care. Its an important issue

    January 29, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. RW

    Obama can deny it all he wants. He can even get McCaskill to help him lie about how it happened. But I've got eyes and I saw what happened. Folks, THAT'S a snub... period.

    So much for a change in politics. Obama is really starting to remind me of ole Dick Cheney. He gets caught in contradictions and he just lies his way out of it. Dick always amazed me how he got away with such lying. Now Obama is following in those footsetps.

    January 29, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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