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. Frank

    Truth is Obama is a nice person; gives a heck of a speech. Most riveting speaker; is the best at delivering an uplifting eloquent speech but I have to ask in the terms of an old TV ad "Where is the beef"" He is all fluff and no substance' tell me something he stands for.

    January 29, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. Frank

    Truth is Obama is a nice person; gives a heck of a speech. Most riveting speaker; is the best at delivering an uplifting eloquent speech but I have to ask in the terms of an old TV ad "Where is the beef"" He is all fluff and no substance' tell me something he stands for. This country and our future does not stand or fall on speeches we stand on whether a person can deliver.

    January 29, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  3. CHERYL

    YOU LOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  4. Stephen,Wilmington,NC

    YES YOU DID !!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. hmg

    anything to try and smear barrack obama....he is going to be a target....because he is gaining momentum.......plain and simple.......dirty politics.....period

    January 29, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Alice in Florida

    Obamalamas – your liar crybaby candidate can't "spin" his connection to slumlord Rezka

    Oh, gee, I guess Obama was taken advantage of due to his race – no doubt, the slumlord wasn't taking advantage of race.......hmmmmm......

    LOL! Where is the comic relief (Al Sharpton) when he's really needed?

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!

    Please, Al, we are all DYING to hear your racist spin on how unfairly the crybaby is being treated due to his race

    Just like OJ and Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods were

    Now, Tiger Woods is a whole different story altogether – HE is a gentleman

    P.S, – Al, where is your apology to the Duke students you so unfairly maligned?

    America is waiting

    Oh, guess we'll continue to wait – just like we will for crybaby's apology for the snub – LOLOL – he's not man enough to apologize when he's acting like a boy, but we can't call him a boy

    That would be racist!

    January 29, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. dee

    As a african american woman, who is a proud independent voter. I think that everyone is misssing the main point here.

    The media is playing both hillary and obama. Every dem should ask what is the media's steak in this one. The media is not putting obama on the high for nothing. The payment for this service may be more than the dem can afford to pay.

    I would love to see a african american man as president, a woman as president, and/or a non african american man as president as long as he/she can tell me what his/her game plan is. And yes experience should count. We do need to get above of all that including dem and repub.

    Last the dem do not let obama fight his own battles in the primaries – he will be crushed in a national election for the repub play "hardball" - will he be ready?

    Something to think about

    January 29, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. united for truth

    Honorable wife of a cheater. We need morals and values in the white house.

    January 29, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. Mike W

    The fact that this story has recieved any air time at all is an affront to real journalism. Every single person working for this network should be ashamed of themselves for pushing this story, instead of covering actual news. The hours of time you idiots have spent yammering about "well it might have been a slight or it might not he said it isn't but oh gosh I just don't know" is a slap in the face to viewers who are concerned with the actual -issues- surrounding the primary. Whoever suggested that this would be a good "issue' to hammer voters with should be publically humiliated.

    January 29, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  10. Brian

    Obama's true colors are starting to show more and more.. All you Obama supporters who HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD of Barack Obama 4 months ago will slowly learn that he is as much a politician as anyone else, including the Clintons. This man wants the White House and will also do anything to get there. Note for instance his "present" votes in the IL legislature, he low-down digs at Clinton for innocuous comments on Martin Luther King Jr, etc. I imagine we will all learn many more negative things about Obama in the coming months. I am just shocked at all these people jumping on Obama when they didn't know jack about him and still don't. Take a closer look and you might be surprised in a variety of ways.

    January 29, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. henri

    Obama's advisers need to tell him that they are all democrats and one of them will be the nomminee and if it is Clinton? And she wins the WH? is Obama going to qork with like senator?

    January 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. Jose Card - Independent

    If Obama did not wave to Hillary earlier, she would have jumped all over the news media by now. But she isn't gracious like Obama is to Joe Biden.

    Hillary happily stayed silent and let the voters believe what CNN's Jessica Yellin had spun for her. I think she will come clean tomorrow after she has reaped the FL victory, which still impresses the uninformed voters.

    January 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. Alice in Florida

    Bear – we are all dying to hear exactly what Crybaby means when he calls for change

    Is it merely a change in skin color ? Seems to me that's all Obama is about

    It's not enough – not yet

    Maybe eight years from now, when it's safe, skin color will matter

    By the time Hillary's done, and our economy is back where it belongs, and we've regained the respect of the planet

    Maybe then, the color of skin will matter

    Maybe by then, Obama will be worthy of everyone's vote

    I really do sincerely hope so because I really do hate Republicans and all that they stand for

    In the meantime, your candidate has a lot of growing up to do.....

    January 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. mike

    Okay. So Obama will shake hands with Castro but not a former first lady, senator, and presidential candidate.

    And Obama is a LIAR. He said he was being asked a question, that's why he turned away.

    So this is the new politics???

    January 29, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. momof3inGA

    Wow. CNN, ABC News, NYT, etc. did not post any information about the ONE THOUSAND, SIX HUNDRED COMPLAINTS filed in NEVADA from people (supporters of both Obama and Edwards) that were LOCKED OUT of caucuses or told they COULD NOT VOTE unless they were voting for HILLARY CLINTON. Caucus workers that weren't even from the state of Nevada said they'd never seen anything so overt, so blatant in all of their years working the polls. Yet.....there is a prominent article about a cropped photo about a "snub"? Then over 1,300 people post infantile, insulting, negative comments about this manufactured photo? Where are the REAL STORIES???? Give me a break.

    January 29, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  16. jeff

    it is not the tea leaves people are reading. the question is if what we are reading, this stiffness verging on disrespectfulness is an ingrained tendency. carelessly dismissing the widespread concern doesn't help obama either.

    January 29, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  17. Alice in Florida

    Yo, the Bear – what EXACTLY does your candidate stand for? NOBODY can figure this out !

    "Change?" Like – change what? Skin color? Diaper? Politics?

    Change WHAT??????????????? Make a "present" vote count?

    Change manners?

    Change WHAT????? What exactly is the crybaby going to change when he embraces an old-timer like Ted (for God's sakes, another OJ) Kennedy????????

    PUBLICLY kisses the old drunk's butt on national TV for God's sakes

    THIS is how you define "CHANGE????????"

    God, help us from that kind of change

    January 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  18. Norbert

    Obama is a fake. It sickens me when I see him speaking like he is the politics most holy. It is so clear that he snubbed Hillary. This is the person that is preaching unity, changes, etc. "Changes" he did, the first to snub a US senator from the same party on TV. Now he hides behind another senator and does one more of is white lies. If he cannot take the heat without loosing his professionalism and courtesy how can he lead this country?

    His mask is melting under pressure and the real Obama is coming out:

    1. Naive
    2. Inability to take responsibility and stand up for his actions
    3. Inability to compromise
    4. Lier even when caught on TV.
    5. Skin deep

    Obama, does not know he is a fake and this is scary.

    January 29, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Alice in Florida

    Carol J – it's on video

    Your candidate IS really that stupid – grow up

    Maybe you also need a diaper change

    January 29, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  20. Fernando in ATL

    It was clear that Obama didn'T want to say hey to Clinton. He was not smart enough to realize all cameras were on them....

    January 29, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  21. Your Mama

    "If Obama did not wave to Hillary earlier, she would have jumped all over the news media by now. But she isn't gracious like Obama is to Joe Biden.

    Hillary happily stayed silent and let the voters believe what CNN's Jessica Yellin had spun for her. I think she will come clean tomorrow after she has reaped the FL victory, which still impresses the uninformed voters."

    Are you that stupid? Nobody spun anything. My God, it was as obvious as anything to anyone who watched it. And YES, I saw it. Why is it that Obama supporters think everything negative about Hillary is truth but anything negative about Obama is false? In case nobody has noticed, CNN is completely biased against Hillary. They wouldn't make something up to BENEFIT Hillary. Get a grip.

    January 29, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. pj (non-partisan independent)

    CNN – please remove this childish story. a moment in time none of us were there for. i dont know who is the best candidate, but this picture shouldn't help solve anything.

    and for the people who think writing in caps only helps draw attention, it doesn't, it only shows your ignorance.

    January 29, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  23. LOL

    Alice in Florida January 29, 2008 10:18 pm ET
    YOU are an idiot- please get your facts straight.

    January 29, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. dynisay

    This is totally the most unreasonable debate I've seen so far in this election.

    Let's grade the candidates on the REAL ISSUES!

    People,we are in danger of a recession, there's health care to worry about and we are going to debate about a nonsensical photo..are you kidding me??

    This is one of the biggest decisions we have to make in our lives, lets help each other out by highlighting the problems and the right people that can at the very least attempt to solve them.

    Obama has my vote. So, please tell me why I shouldn't vote for him in relation to the REAL ISSUES?

    Then we can have some dialogue, but this SNUB stuff is not worth any dialogue at all.

    January 29, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. My rights

    pj, don't like the thread . . then leave it. it's not that difficult.

    January 29, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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