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. Militant One, Paris

    Wow, looks like the Hillary supporters are flooding this blog. Glad to see they have something new to whine about. Would this issue matter if Hillary was a man? Who cares...let the issues decide the candidate.

    January 30, 2008 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  2. Matt Garden

    One wonders who a guy who cannot even take the heat of colleagues from the same party during the primary season can stand up to the heavy ammunition that will be coming from the Republicans once the presidential election campaign gets real. Let alone if the guy would become president and be under constant scrutiny, critique and pressure. Is that the way he would handle America, just turn away when something he dislikes comes along? That much for being a gentleman, it was a disgrace turning away. Hillary gets all the blame for everything bad, just because she’s a strong woman with her own will and her solid conviction. Just as Britain’s greatest Prime Minister ever, the Conservative Mrs Thatcher did when she was in office, being called all the bad names in the book. Years later even the Labour Party Premiers Blair and Brown admit she was right all along. You go Hillary, simply the best one for the job!

    January 30, 2008 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  3. Kelley

    God help us if Obama becomes President and he gets mad at a Country. Will he "snub" them too?

    January 30, 2008 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  4. Wilbur

    Obama, how could you miss the only elephant in the room?

    January 30, 2008 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  5. Gelowims

    I suppose that everyone crying foul here are people of clean hands and hearts. This thing of a snapshot is not news. I am not voting for one or the other because they did not speak to each other, but rather I will vote for the person who seems to have the best resolution of the problems we face as a country. All respecting grown-ups would be past this already. I am.

    January 30, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  6. Cruz in Kansas

    much ado about nothing.... besides who gives a rats rearend!!!??? What does this have to do with the direction our country is going in? I am sick of hearing pointless mumble about stupid stuff that doesn't have any impact. How do voters filter out the BS from the reality? So what if he snubed her! So what if he didn't! I could care less.

    January 30, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  7. EH


    January 30, 2008 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  8. Bamboozle

    I supported Obama initially but after watching and listening to him in the debates and such..I feel like a fool.. In the process of so called "uniting" the country.. he has bit by bit only managed to "Divide" not only the Dems but the country.. and all this in less than just a few short months..

    Hillary 08

    If its not her – I'm going GOP..

    January 30, 2008 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  9. David (Independent)

    Can you please fire CNN's Jessica Yellin for 'reporting' such garbage.

    A snub?
    What? Are we in high school again?

    The only snub that I saw occurred was Saturday when Hillary abandoned South Carolina as soon as she realized she was going to be beaten badly.

    She could't even give a concession speech.

    Now THAT'S a snub.

    January 30, 2008 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  10. C Spurgeon

    Its the media folks. Both are good candidates and as I have said from the start don't need to be fighting with each other but instead should be concentrating on Bush and republican administration. Both need to aid more movement in congress to Democratic side so either can get some things done.

    If it was a snub shame and learn from it.

    January 30, 2008 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  11. Paul Miller- Kissimmee, Fl

    What strikes me strange is the strong biased CNN politics position!!! There is no unbiased remark coming from the top Journalist to the bottom. I can't stand for this absurd anymore. In all due respect for the CNN unbiased position, it's not Hillary's fault if the Floridians votes for her. She did, as far as I know produce the ballots, right? If there is no delegates is not her problem. However, CNN can accept any Obama shadow, that's the real deal. I'm turning channels and I don't see the same with Fox News!

    January 30, 2008 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  12. Vince

    When people, who have no deep thought process, make an event out of a non-event, then you have to question the sincerity of those people. People will try to find anything wrong with someone of whom they are trying to degrade, if they look hard and long enough.

    Accountability is the issue here. People are losing their homes. Gas prices are phenomenal. Schools systems are failing. A huge number of people have no health insurance, while their health is failing. The deficit of this country is laughable. We are wading in the waters of a recession/depression. ... and people have the audacity, and nerve to make the turning of a head, at this event, national news. Come on. Are you really that shallow in the brain and soul?

    I wonder if people were color blind, would many of the things that we see, be invisible. And, about experience; not one of these candidates has experience being President of the United States of America. Bush has experience, um, do we want him in the oval office longer than we have to have him there? Are we wanting same ol' politics and corrupt chaos? Or do we want a change. Put all candidates aside, what do you want? Who will offer a change? Who can we trust, to strive to make a better change for the country, as a whole?

    January 30, 2008 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  13. Bobby, Baghdad,Iraq

    This news is getting to be too much... I just cant get over how these news organization pounces on every single jesture... every wink of an eye... every breath that these candidates take.... this is becoming a bit much to take. I truely wish these news organizations would "Report the news, instead of insisting on "Making" the news. I dont vote... and I directly blame the CNN's and FOXNews's of the world in how the news is portrayed for that....

    January 30, 2008 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  14. Jeff from Texas

    The real problem is not with the candidates but with the media. They are insistant on stirring the pot and trying to create dissention and strife where none exist for the sake of ratings. What we need are a few honorable Journalist who deal in facts and stay on topic. It's a shame that we have to watch a mock news show on the comedy channel to get closer to the truth. Most of the news reporting headliners are little more than malignant pollups on Americas' colon. What does it matter if Obama and/or Clinton chose not to engage in conversation at that moment. Can a case be made for or against their relationship based on that one split second? Talk about the dumbing down of America.

    January 30, 2008 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  15. jsaofusa

    I live in the St. Louis, MO area and Missouri's junior senator, Claire McCaskill, formally endorsed Obama a few weeks ago. It's not a coincidence that she was seated near him during the SOTU. Several times a day a commercial airs on the local tv stations in which she endorses Obama. EVERY time it comes on, I immediately change the channel.

    My complaints against Obama include: his "promise" to Oprah on her show that when he decided to announce his run for the presidency that he would do so on her show. He didn't. (He announced in Springfield, IL a few months later.) Right before he announced, he paid $470 in outstanding parking tickets dating back to his college days. As the junior Senator from Illinois he has voted "present" 130 times in two years. (Make a decision, Senator, and be put on the record so we know what you stand for.) His "sudden" southern and ebonic accent when campaigning in SC was the final straw for me. A prayer revival might work for drumming up support, but what we need is a leader who is true to himself. He and his wife purchased a home in Chicago. The adjacent particle of land was included in the contract. He couldn't afford to purchase it and the house, so Mrs. Rezko purchased the adjacent land. It was all legal, but my point is: if you can't afford the property as drawn up in the contract, then don't buy it. I fear he's doing the same thing with the presidency. He wants it, but can he "afford" it?

    Charisma, intellect, and the ability to make wonderful speeches are admirable qualities. They are NOT everything a President of the U.S. needs to do the job we're asking of them. We need more than rhetoric. We need someone who can make the tough decisions and take responsibility for them. We need someone who can unite this country. We need someone who has a plan to begin to solve the problems this country faces and who possesses the ability to get people to compromise so that the plans can come to fruition. We need someone who has a strong fiscal and economic background and who has experience with international matters. We need someone who has a strong inner circle upon whom they can call for advice. We need someone who has experience in Washington, D.C. Afterall, that IS where our nation's business is conducted.

    Please don't let all this "spin" deter us from finding out the facts, views, and plans of the presidential candidates. Go to their websites and read about them. Get informed. Don't let the pundits and talking heads tell us how to vote. Arm yourselves with the facts and make an informed decision. Mine is Hillary Clinton.

    January 30, 2008 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  16. B Atlanta, GA

    Wake up everyone- once again the media is manipulating us!! This is not a story, it is the creation of the news station trying their best to stir up controversy and fill air time. I am not a Obama supporter- and we can discuss "is it a snub or not" until the cows come home- but lets not let the media continue to control our thoughts. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH ON EACH CANDIDATE- DO NOT LET THE MEDIA MAKE UP YOUR MIND FOR YOU. USE YOUR OWN REASONING ABILITES AND PICK THE CANDIDATE THAT HAS PERFORMED AND CLOSELY ALIGNS TO YOUR OWN BELIEFS.

    January 30, 2008 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  17. Jason

    It definately was a snub. What baffles me is the fact that this would've been Obama's prime moment to gloat by prentending to be overjoyed to see her...Hillary attended the State of the Union address the definate underdog, and she was still gracious to be cordial with the Senator. Being in politics is all about being politically correct!! From his temper-tantrums @ the SC debates to this, Obama continues to show us his catty side!

    January 30, 2008 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  18. david

    Obama is lying AND acted in an immature and unseasoned manner. Uh oh...got caught.

    Hillary will blow him away Feb. 5th and really deflate that pseudoballoon that's been pumping up his chest.

    It takes some character and guts to go shake Kennedy's hand! Woohoo Hillary!

    January 30, 2008 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  19. Vinny, Conroe,TX


    January 30, 2008 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  20. Rob

    Would the campaign supporters of Obama and Hillary please grow up? Put yourself and a person you don't like in that same photo instead of O & H. Are you snubbing your foe? Are you being misunderstood? Last time I checked, politicians are people as well and subject to the same foibles and follies that the rest of the 6 billion folks on this planet are.

    This is a non-issue, caught on film so that the media can start a sideshow watching both sides start a fingerpointing war. It doesn't matter what candidate you support, so long as it's done with dignity and on actual issues. I don't see much of that here.

    January 30, 2008 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  21. Christoph

    Shame on you!!!!!!!!!

    Obama 08

    January 30, 2008 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  22. GH

    Great! Clinton, race card, Obama snubbing the ole girl.

    Clinton accused Obama of working for a slumlord. Clinton takes money and picture with same slumlord.

    True, Clinton may get the nomination when it’s all said and done with the white and Hispanic votes. But since it appears that she don’t need the black vote. Good luck becoming president without their vote.

    January 30, 2008 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  23. Andrew

    Have to agree with vince. Health care, war in Iraq, terrorism ARE issues. This is certainly not one.

    January 30, 2008 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  24. rj

    "Anna January 29, 2008 2:34 pm ET

    Obama, you're really as a talker. It's just all the talk that you can deliver. You're misleadind people that you can deliver change, but in reality, you have only the DNC keynote speech in 2004. You will not get the nomination, because the American people are intelligent to not choose you. You can go home and live the house that you bought from your indicted friend!"

    OK, so here in a nutshell is why this country is in such bad shape and headed for worse. If this is a sample of the intelligent people who will not choose Obama....then i'm thinking becoming a citizen of Canada might be the best course of action. Please someone tell me they understood one sentence of Anna's intelligent comment. Perhaps people should have to take an IQ test in order to be eligible to vote...then maybe they will pull the lever or push the button based on an opinion they intelligently formulated vis a vis picking a candidate because they heard someone they like endorse that person.

    January 30, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  25. Carol

    Who does Obama think he's fooling!! It's as plain as can be, just look at the film, at one point he was glaring at her!! Obama is lying as he always does, he has been caught in quite a few LIES!
    Sore Loser Obama, should be his NAME!

    January 30, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
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