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. DonI

    Hillary wins Florida by huge margin. Yes its does count because the voters have spoken. Great Job Hillary. Looks like Floridians looked at the issue's, didn't have the media telling them who to vote for and Clinton comes out on top. Super Tuesday will close the deal.

    January 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. wendy

    It is so derogatory and chauvinistic comment by the Obama team to say that Hilary's win in Florida is a beauty content and shame on you CNN for your reporters repeating it over and over again.

    January 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. CHERYL

    LIAR!!!!!!!!!! HILLARY IS LEADING IN THE FLORIDA PRIMARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YEAH! YOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Fem4Hillary

    Statement from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
    "I respect Caroline and Teddy's decision but I have made a different choice. While I admire Senator Obama greatly, I have known Hillary Clinton for over 25 years and have seen first hand how she gets results. As a woman, leader, and person of deep convictions, I believe Hillary Clinton would make the best possible choice for president. She shares so many of the concerns of my father. Hillary has spent a lifetime speaking out on behalf of the powerless and working to alleviate poverty, in our country and around the world. I have seen her work up close and know she will be a great President. At this moment when so much is at stake at home and overseas, I urge our fellow Americans to support Hillary Clinton. That is why my brother Bobby, my sister Kerry, and I are supporting Hillary Clinton."

    Looks like she got the better half of the family.....Go Hillary!!

    January 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Casey

    After seven years of suppression, we all deserve to "find our voices"! You can tell those on here who want the (truth) silenced and this is what has been wrong with the United States for sometime now!

    All of The Clintons' dirty laundry is out in the open and they are grossly and despicably maligned for that long-gone past even though our nation enjoyed a booming economy, monetary surplus without war, and were respected throughout the world and, yet, to question or reveal (truth) about Obama during this campaign is considered unacceptable behavior by some of you here. He has been fawned over by the press in this campaign and everyone is walking on eggshells because he happens to be one black candidate who arrogantly perceives this election should be handed to him on a silver platter, adulated due to charismatic speeches, and worshipped as a hero. He was sworn in as a Jr. Senator in late January 2005 (with it now being January 2007) and he has spent the greater percentage of that two-year period egotistically working behind closed doors to establish himself as a Presidential Candidate. What serious WORK effort did he give his Illinois constituency during that period of time?

    Many of us who are not swayed by the manipulative news talking heads nor others, saw what occurred last night with our own eyes. Today, Obama has proven that he is a manipulative lying politician. Anyone who sits in the Oval Office cannot selectively choose the hand he/she shakes. As much as I have disliked Bush over the past seven years, he would never snub a Democrat the way this immature man did someone (let alone a woman) of his same party!

    January 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. Phyllis, Burlington, VT

    If I was Obama, I'd be mad at Clinton for the recent Billary hijinks in S.C. Why doesn't he just admit it?

    I also thought the Obama advisor's explanation this morning made sense: that he was turning away to let Clinton and Kennedy talk without his presence. That would have been polite, given yesterday's endorsement. Obama came up with another explanation himself, though, and it seems lame to me.

    Ron Paul for president!

    January 29, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  7. Stephan

    I agree that this is a non-issue.

    But it's definitely Senator Obama being childish. Pretending he didn't see Senator Clinton in her bright red suit in a sea of black is ridiculous.

    January 29, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. VA in MI

    I was upset at the obvious snub by Obama. My thoughts went to the current president's attitude: My way of the highway. Does this mean he would not handle any issue that he does not agree with?

    I was switching between CNN and MSNBC. I was appalled at the “good-old-boy" remarks made by the anchors on MSNBC after showing the clip of this incident. They did not acknowledge Obama’s display of bad behavior but did go on to use the word “anoint” constantly before they introduced Obama. I ask you, what is the media’s agenda and payoff?

    All I have to say is 'GO HILLARY!"

    January 29, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Dolores

    He did not know what he was doing when he pulled those levers, he denies his relationship with now arrested on federal charges corrupt developer Rezcko, he voted present because he did not want to take a stand, he panders to every group and he snubs his leading opponent then says he did not see her there. Not only is Sen. Obama an obvious fake he is also not a very good sportsman. Didn't we just have eight years of the same old, same old? OK, so he gets an endorsement from America's daughter, albeit about 40 years ago, my generation totally missed that, and her lion of the Senate uncle. Call me crazy but I would not be running around bragging about the endorsement of a man that in spite of any good and great work he might have done, will at the end of the day, be remembered by one act of cowardice. Definitely not his brother, and the truth is we do not know which way his endorsement would have gone. Talk about a true flip-flopper he offers change and marries the establishment. Thank you media for your one-sided and unfair coverage of this candidate those of us that can see through the glitter get it. Can anyone say poser?

    January 29, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Garry

    It was clearly a snub! so add LIAR to Obama's talents. Oh wait , you people call it spin.

    January 29, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  11. Kate

    HERE ARE THE ABSOLUTE FACTS... I WAS THERE ON THE FLOOR LAST EVENING AND I SAW WITH MY OWN EYES AS OBAMA DELIBERATELY TURNED AWAY FROM SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON WHEN SHE POLITELY GREETED SENATOR KENNEDY AND WAS ABOUT TO OFFER HER GREETINGS TO SENATOR OBAMA.

    I DISCUSSED THIS WITH MY COLLEAGUES WHO ALSO NOTICED IT AS WE WERE PURPOSELY WATCHING SENATOR CLINTON'S MOVEMENTS AS SHE ENTERED THE ROOM TO SEE IF WHETHER OR NOT SHE WOULD SIT CLOSELY TO SENATOR OBAMA.

    LATER, ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO SAW THE OBAMA SNUB AGAINST CLINTON PHONED ONE OF THE MAJOR NEWS CABLE NETWORKS AND REPORTED WHAT HE SAW, AFTER WHICH TIME THE INCIDENT WAS REPORTED ON THE AIR AND WHICH WAS FOLLOWED BY AT LEAST ONE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE INCIDENT.

    DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS, BUT I SAW THE SNUB PERSONALLY, AS DID MANY OTHERS. THE FACT THAT OBAMA HAS REPEATEDLY DENIED THIS INCIDENT, AND WENT SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT HE WAS DISTRACTED BY A QUESTION FROM ANOTHER SENATOR STANDING BESIDE HIM, IS A COMPLETE FALSEHOOD.

    January 29, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. john wayne

    Sen.Obama was right to avoid her,for she's not his wife or concubine,Mitchelle is his wife!!! Obama '08 all the way!!!

    January 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. RedSea Foreign National

    Bryant, obviously you did not see my post which is 2 before yours, where I stated facts about issues and referenced the sources of my facts!

    It is not about a vote based on this article or picture! It is about the thousand words that a picture tells! So funny how Obama has brainwashed some peple and they thinnk the general public is so naive and shallow in casting their vote!

    You want more info, I have more, but this is not the place to post so much information!

    So tell us what are the issues and what references can you provide to to support your view on the issues?

    January 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. charlotte

    Way to go Obama... Show'm what your really made of...

    January 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Person without healthcare

    This is the biggest non-issue of the campaign season. For crying out loud.

    January 29, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. Joseph

    As I read all this , it makes me wonder if Bill Clinton is sitting in some hotel room with a cigar writting all these responses....just wondering out loud – Bill get a life!

    January 29, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Kelly

    Come on....
    Is this really what you're deciding to do with your journalism degree CNN?

    I really wish everyone could come together more instead of fighting about crazy things like this. Can you imagine what both Hillary and Obama must have been thinking about during the State of the Union address? I think both of them should have a little space. This election in November is going to be huge and I wish all Democrats could be a little nicer to one another and stay focused on issues. We all have our very strong opinions, but after super Tuesday, we better all be able to work together if we want to win the big one.

    January 29, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Patye

    I, too , have noticed how the only News Media about Obama pushing for licenses for illegal aliens was Fox News....I thought that Lou Dobbs would be speaking on this since this is one of his favorite subjects....it seems only a few news networks have the guts to run something negative about Obama

    January 29, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Julie

    If she's reaching a hand to Ted, that has nothing to do with Barack. To say otherwise is moronic.

    You Clintonistas need therapy. Lots and lots of therapy.

    His very existence irks you, a mixed-race man who carries himself well, because he's not fawning all over Hillary like you would.

    Get – some – therapy – now.

    January 29, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. Michelle

    I simply cannot believe all this nonsense. More than a thousand comments here. If this is what is important to us as voters, then we deserve what we get. Indeed, we deserve what we have had for the past 8 years.

    January 29, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Alice

    I personally think this blog is the biggest issue, and it's obvious that everyone else agrees, since it's getting the most responses

    Obama is a crybaby who cries "racist" at every opportunity, even though it's never been warranted –

    Worse than that, Obama is a liar EVEN WHEN he was actually caught on video

    What do the Obama Loons need? DNA??????? Maybe not – can we ever forget that even DNA couldn't convict a double-murderer once the race card was played?

    Look, he's un-Presidential, has no manners, behaves like a spoiled child on a good day, can't debate, speaks an awfully nice speech as long as it's written beforehand, and he doesn't actually have to think on his feet – God forbid

    Constantly preaches "change," though no one, even his supporters, seems to know exactly what he means by it – he could be talking about his diaper, for all we know......

    Is the "unifier" – oh, please, dear – all he has unified is the African-American vote

    The saddest thing about this is that I would have gladly voted for him before he pulled the race card

    I actually thought that Clinton-Obama would be a unbeatable ticket and would rid the entire planet of the evil that has befallen it in the last seven years

    I actually thought that after he got enough experience as Hillary's VP, he would have my vote for the next eight years

    By then, I'd be guaranteed a comfortable retirement......

    He blew it – by one picture and one video

    It will take WAY MORE than eight years for this foolish child to grow up!!!!!!!!!!

    Unfortunately, I may be dead by the time he finally does manage to grow up

    January 29, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  22. Mike

    Seriously? Did I seriously understimate the intelligence of American people here? It's a picutre for goodness sake! First off, if he did snub her who cares? He had ample good reason to. Her camp made some seriously personal and damaging remarks that were complete fabrications all so she could win an election...I'd have done more than snub her, I would have told her what I think about her tactics. Secondly, she went to speak to Kennedy who totally blasted her on national television with her very own words. If I was a third party to that, I'd have moved away too rather than feeling like a third wheel in the situation...It had to seem uncomfortable. Lastly, he said he went to talk to McCaskill so let it lie. It doesn't matter if it was a combination of a few of these, the point is it was a legitimate response and nothing that people should be blowing out of proportion just to further spread the hate of a man who is trying to let the American people know that there is a better way. Then again, we had the same attitude toward Jesus so no one should be surprised.

    January 29, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. anitayb

    Okay, now will American's finally see Obama for what he really is? Fine speaches does not make the man! He's rude and a cry baby! Everytime President Clinton, or Hillary says anything he stands for that he shouldn't stand for, he makes them out to be terrible people. But as soon as he does something like this, it's an accident! OH PLEASE!!!!!

    I notice all the journalist seem to praise Obama all the time on the news talk shows, etc. I think they all have it out for the Clintons, and I for one, don't like it. You are supposed to be impartial. So why don't you all start acting like it!

    January 29, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Karen Smith

    Go Hilary!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. OUtraged...

    This is the most ridiculous exchange that I have ever read!!. What about the issues?
    DO you people ever read the paper??? This MTV society only focuses on the very superficial. NO one pays attention to all of the attacks of Billary on Obama but one moment is blown up to define a person..
    What ridiculous people you are.
    Go read a book!

    January 29, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83