January 29th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
15 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. Newburgh, IN Man

    ………………………………………………………………..

    EOUGH! ENOUGH!! ENOUGH!!!

    THIS IS ANOTHER LIE…

    INTENTION is CLEARER than Action…!

    If you had no intention to shake her hands for whatever reason “JUST SAY THAT” and own up to it.

    NO MORE EXCUSES, NO MORE!!!

    As common etiquette, even if your attention was distracted, I will like to see subsequent pictures or videos of where you showed Senator Clinton the respect she showed you and Senator Kennedy after your so important conversation?

    If this is “Tea Leaf Reading”, where in your comment to CNN did you make any effort to reach out for her as she reached out to you and Senator Kennedy after your conversation?

    If you had done that you would have vindicated yourself. YOU DID NOT… OWN UP TO IT!

    I DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR COMMENT

    You want to be President, You must be a GENTLEMAN.

    You were NOT Last Night, Own up to it and admit it

    NO MORE EXCESES!!!

    This is NO “Tea Leaf Reading”. This is ETIQUETTE 101

    January 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Jim

    This is not an issue. I don't understand why anyone would support Hillary. We've had too much of the Clintons already. Go Obama!!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Tickled To Death

    "Even Sen McKaskill says that she struck up a conversation AFTER you stood there with your back turned to Hillary."

    The article is right up above and yet people (Nik) STILL try to twist words....

    The REPORTER said that Obama turned his back afterwards, NOT Sen. McKaskill... "It was only after Obama turned away, Yellin reports, that McCaskill struck up a conversation with Obama."

    McCASKILL said this: "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.""

    ...stop trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is a non-issue!! The man wasn't trying to turn his back on anyone. If that were the case..one of the Clintons would have been all over that....sheesh...get a clue.

    January 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Marcus Thomas

    Yes We Can. Obama and his supporters love Hillary and their supporters too. Please join the movement. We can do it together.

    January 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Paul in Kissimmee

    I love it!

    January 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    WOW. THIS IS INSANE.

    Did you Hillary supporters see that he waved to her before coming into the Senate chambers? So because he didn't put on a big, fake show in front of the cameras, you're saying he's rude?

    They already said hi to each other. You're really grasping at straws here to try and make Obama look bad. Find something substantive, for crying out loud.

    January 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. T

    Focus on the issues, people– FOCUS!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. David from Texas

    This is just another moment that Obama got caught acting like the typical politician. The other time was in the debates when he told Hillary "you're likeable enough-Hillary". Neither of these two times was he acting like a great uniter-but a typical politician-nothing new and refreshing as he would like people to think. He is trying to spin this as usual. Give it time, he will blame it on Hillary or Bill. Instead of being the great uniter-he is the great spinner.

    January 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Chris

    That's it! I'm not voting for Hillary or Obama.

    I am voting for McCain.

    Battle tested. Above politics. Ready to lead.

    January 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. CJ

    Who cares? If he did...SO WHAT? This is a non issue...I have not made up my mind who I will support in the Alabama primary on Feb 5 but I certainly will not make my decision on weather Obama snubbed Clinton at the State of the Union...Please people GROW UP and stick with the issues

    January 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Patty

    OH OK..you studder and stammer everytime you get near her. I hate this is happening. I talk with many people and they are either voting Republican or not at all if win the Nom. You envelope yourself in old Washington yet to say your the new Washington. Now that the Bear Teddy is fighting fights for you it is equal with Bill Clinton. Stateing the facts is not racist.

    January 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Al in Wpg

    Wow, american politics really have gone down the drain, (i can't even think of a word to represent the disgust I feel for all of you that jump on the -this picture shows- bandwagon). I am absolutely sad, and distraught, that the responsibility to pick the most powerful leader in the world lies in the hands of all you absolute idiots. You should be ashamed. Accept your responsibility or get out of the way.

    January 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Tracey

    Keep Hillary from Stealing "off limits" delegates. Sign my petition to the DNC at care2petition.com. Search "Part 2: Stop". Thanks

    January 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Vince, Arizona

    THANK YOU, NICK DENHAM...... THANK YOU........

    if this is the best they got, then, AWESOME!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Hillably

    ok, Obama snubbed her, so what?!
    Who cares?!

    January 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Stephina

    Mr. Obama definitely snubbed Hillary. There is no denying that fact. This man is not a uniter!!!

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Joyce

    Excuses are like buttholes!!! We all have one and they all stink!!! I saw it last night and Obama saw Hillary approaching his section. Who didn't? She had on the loudest red suit in the room. Secondly, his back was turned for a while BEFORE Sen. McCaskill started talking to him. If the tables were turned the media, Obama, and his endorsers/supporters would have made the BIGGEST deal from this. Well it looks like your little "golden boy" is guilded.
    Hillary '08

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Democrat

    Come on folks, Truly this senero is too silly to even comment about.

    Many of you are buying into yet another attempt by the media to stir up negative thoughts and to perpetuate bad-blood between these two candidates.
    Those of you who thrive upon this kind of media "garbage" will have a good time in the coming months.

    Let's stop micro-analyzing every move and each comment made by these two candidates, and start focusing on the important issues facing our nation.

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Bob

    Yeah Bob, I agree Obama has an answer for everything. It was on the "view" this morning. Whoopie Goldberg I think saw it on camera where Hillary held her hand out to Obama (supposedly) and he turned away. Obama is a Big Jerk. and of course now he's trying to weasle his way out of it. And for whoever said, "it is not an issue", if it were Hillary snubbing, you bet it would be "an issue". Tit for Tat. Screw Obama.

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Bumbama

    Media is making Obama bigger than he is or ever will be. He is one big LIAR and he has shown that time and again in the last couple of weeks. He LIED about his dealings with REZKO, he LIED about voting in the senate and now he is LYING again while he is caught on tape. LIAR LIAR pants on fire...

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. seth, minneapolis

    oh come on CNN! Get out of junior high already. This stuff is so stupid. Is this more important than reporting on Kenya or Iraq? Give me a break.

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. John

    Of far more significance is that Hillary refused to e interviewed by TV after the State of the Union. is Hillary going to leave it to Bill yet again does she not have an opinion herself. I though she was the candidate not her husband.

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Nadira, Toronto

    I wonder if the Kennedy's will be making a statement to withdrew the support?
    Obama the Flip Flopper or 08

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Anna, IL

    This is so stupid. This is like Huckabee criticizing Romney for not eating the fried chicken skin. Business as usual for the Billaries, always trying to get voters to talk about things other than issues. Pathetic.

    January 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. OBAMA 08

    Why don't you post Clinton's response...she said she didn't feel snubbed....report ALL the news rather than selective reports meant to keep people watching your increasingly tabloid journalism...what about bpoth of the amazing endorsements both candidates got today.

    Democracy depends on the press..Ypou are letting us down!

    January 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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