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. jj

    In all due respect, who does Senator Obama thinks that he is fooling?! The Senator from Missouri ought to be careful because a picture is worth a thousand words. It's fairly obvious that she was looking at Hillary and not looking at Senator Obama. Perhaps, the American people will realize that Senator Obama is in training. And we know all about G. W. Bush in training. It's not the time for Senator Obama. It's time for experience – It's time for President Hillary Clinton!

    January 29, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  2. Sylvianc

    Grow up Obama, otherwise you won't be ready even in another 8 years.

    January 29, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. Tyrone

    wow you hillary people are reallllllly stretching, she is the most fake out of any of the candidates in any party

    January 29, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  4. Kate in Kansas

    Who really want Obama to win the Democratic race? Who is supporting him all the primaries? So called independants and Republicans. why? They want a candidate, whom they can beat in the general election hands down. This is another of Karl-Rove tactic. They know that, there is no substance in Mr. Obama's speech. His hope is hope of Republicans. I am not a firm supporter of Hillary, but she will fight these right-wingers, and they know that. They got a pawn tp play the game, and Mr. Obama is the one that bring the race for his own sake. His supporter Claire, destroyed the democratic party in Missouri. She is another career politician, looking to run for presidency in 4 years. Mr. Obama will not have a chance against the republican candidates, and the Democrats will lose the Congress and Senate as most of the hard-core democrats will stay home, if Obama is the nominee.
    It is time for Democrats to wake up, and clean up the act.

    January 29, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  5. judy brown

    Obama do something bad? Just ask him he never does anything wrong. He is such a phony. Have we not just come through 7 years with another person who never claims responsibility for any bad thing. That is why our country is in such a mess. Why would anyone want someone else in office that thinks that way.

    January 29, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  6. John ny, ny

    YES YOU DID!!!!
    YES YOU DID!!!
    YES YOU DID!!!

    January 29, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |

    Every time Obummer screws something up, his supporters (and the media) find a way to spin it in his favor.


    He's an arrogant jerk and NOT the person we need in the white house!


    January 29, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. scaulk

    The press lately does this ALL the time! They try to invent the WOW story even if it is not there! I was also SHOCKED today to read that CNN has dumped Robert Begala and James Carville because they are both big Hillary supporters, SHAME ON YOU, CNN! Yes, I am wagging my finger at you just like President Clinton did to the press recently when they were saying terrible things about Hillary. He is not injecting race into thiseither, YOU, THE PRESS ARE! AGAIN, for your WOW story!!! CNN has stooped to the FOX level, INVENTING NEWS THEIR WAY, NOT REALLY WHAT HAPPENED!

    January 30, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  9. Andrew

    I don't know if Obama deliberately snubbed Hillary or not. However, after the dirty tricks the Clinton's pulled in South Carolina, he is certainly within his rights too. For Bill Clinton to compare him to Jesse Jackson and for both of them to deliberately mischaracterize Obama's remarks about Reagan and the Republicans just shows that the Clintons will stoop to a lower level than any of the other Democrats. Their remarks are worse than any perceived snub.

    January 30, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  10. Carolinian

    Liar, Liar, pants of fire... You knew what you were doing Obama.. This is an example of what you would do as commander and chief. We can't have a president that hold anger in their hearts... Obama is a SOUR GRAPE!!!!!!

    Breaking New: Hillary Clinton just won the presidency.....2008

    January 30, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  11. WW - New York

    OH please! Are you kidding me? The only thing "anti-Obama" can think of against him is
    1) He speaks well
    2) He provides to "much" hope
    3) He didn't want to engage with Hillary who "lied about him"
    4) Rezcko
    If that's all you have you need to really evaluate you level of "hate". I think you need to look deeper than that.
    I know Hillary is running for president however, she base her "entire" record on Bill.

    January 30, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  12. GuguGaga CA

    We need the one is doing things in white house and not trying and learnning in white house.

    Vote for Hillary and we get two (Hillary and Bill). It is a great thing for The United Stated!!!!

    Go Hillary 2008!
    Go Obama! Time for you study more! See you next time!

    January 30, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  13. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    My God. This country will be a disaster if clinton or obama are elected. What a nightmare. These infants couldn't lead their way out of a paper bag.

    January 30, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  14. Fem4Hillary

    I don't know if anyone would agree but in one of the pictures Obama looks pretty upset (enraged w/b appropiate) with T. K.?? Maybe he did not get the Memo about "only able to unify with those who I approve" Teddy careful.. I would make sure it's okay with Mr. Unifier before shaking someone hands....LOL!!

    Thank you Hillary for caring about and listening to what the PEOPLE think in Florida & Michigan! Even though the delegates were taken from them.....

    January 30, 2008 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  15. Jeff Kellogg

    Obama can beat McCain, but Clinton cannot.

    It is not a coincidence that Obama wins big in states with open primaries like Iowa, where Independents can participate in the Democratic event.

    Democrats must remember independents- for they are the ones who decide elections.

    The Democratic base will vote for either Hillary or Barack come November, but the same cannot be said for the independents.

    The fact that Clinton wins in closed-primary states where Independents cannot participate has no bearing on the outcome of the presidential election.

    Democrats: Do not put Clinton up against McCain. That would be a dream come true for the Republicans. Do not do it. Please, please, please, do not do this again.

    January 30, 2008 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  16. GuguGaga CA

    To united for truth January 29, 2008 10:00 pm ET

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

    I teach you the truth now. Many people meet problem (like Hillary met) and take action to run a way. This woman standed there and faced her problem. She thinks and she feels and did not run. SHE FIXED THE PROBLEM! She loved the man from day one. Dose not matter he was up or down. She is great woman. mother and wife! This is family volume. She wined my heart as a woman. mother and wife. She is the one we need now!


    January 30, 2008 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  17. Margarita


    January 30, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  18. sam madino

    Clintons News Network as usual trying everything it can to push her. They give more coverage to bill and her...they made a big deal about the Florida performance that she won on name and now they are going along with the story that was leaked by the clintons. Give me a break! How petty can we get!

    January 30, 2008 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  19. anthonydazet

    The above contents are very useful! Thanks for the Wonderful Information

    January 30, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  20. vik

    im glad that this is what were concentrating on, great journalism CNN!

    January 30, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  21. joe, oregon

    Obama, we know you are human too. We all understand. But what is with all those excuses? The natural quality that makes Obama stand out. But each interview, he sounds more and more like a calculated politicians.

    January 30, 2008 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  22. 08

    I really have a hard time with his response.

    If don't believe him on this small issue. I will have an awful hard time knowing if he telling the truth in on issues of great concern to our country.

    I was Glad I saw this side of him before I vote.

    January 30, 2008 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  23. joe, oregon

    This is not the first time, Mr. Obama talked like a lawyer. Senator McCaskill listened and smiled...thinking to herself. Oh boy, this guy is good. This one is gonna be in my memoir for sure.

    January 30, 2008 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  24. Gavin


    He is such a disappointing divisive candidate....


    Obama as usual is putting that halo on his head and that slogan banner in front of him to hide his phoniness....


    January 30, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  25. Benjamin

    Is this what you people really care about? I thought the issues mattered, not this crap.

    January 30, 2008 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
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