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. Ray

    who cares

    January 30, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  2. Jerry

    Who cares??? Why don't we talk about a real issue for God's sake!

    January 30, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  3. omar

    You know one can find anything to comment on if one is looking for it. Obama snubbing Hilary Clinton? Give us a break. If he chose to ignore her, then she had it comming for the rubbish she & former president Clinton tried spreading about him. Om

    January 30, 2008 06:42 am at 6:42 am |

    Obama is an arrogant, childish person. Hillary made the gesture nd he was plain rude, he obviously has norespect for anyone.

    Well Iit dosn't matter she got more votes (over 850,000) in florida more than all the votes in South Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada combined.......funny how the media is treating the voters of Flordia like they are worthless they still are voters.....

    I would be careful CNN, you obviously have a lot of woman-haters on your staff....your coverage is all one sided...

    January 30, 2008 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  5. Mike Wrathell

    Obviously, there was a distinct, clear, and cold snub of the first order. Then, he tries to cloud the fact with some weird comment about reading tea leaves. What kind of tea leaves? Orange pekoe? Jasmine?

    January 30, 2008 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  6. Jan

    I belive that he snubbed her, come on, he was right next to her and didn't even awknowledge her. He knows that she is going to whip his butt in the primary, and be the winner. What experience does he have to be president, Hillary was already in the White House and a big part of her husband's presidency. Obama traveled to a few countries when he was in third grade, living in one for a couple of years. That really makes him qualified to be president, NOT. While I like Obama, his comments about Reagan turned my stomach. Reagan did almost as much damage to the working person as GW Bush, the worst president EVER. Borak's time is not now, it is Hillary's time. Go Hillary! We need you, you are the best qualified and our country was in much better shape and was well respected abroad, with you and Bill.

    January 30, 2008 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  7. Honor

    Get a life Eric, I can't believe you actually spent time to write that out. What kind of man are you?

    January 30, 2008 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  8. Honor

    Get a life Eric, what a dumb comment. This really isn't even an issue.

    January 30, 2008 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  9. Josh

    The Clinton Campaign.. turning mountains into molehills since '92.

    January 30, 2008 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  10. james

    Hey Sheeple, yes I called you sheep because you are followers of these people.

    They have sworn an oath of Secrecy, not to tell you or the public what is discussed or planned.

    GOOGLE THE BUILDERBERG, it will frighten you.................................................

    January 30, 2008 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  11. Louis

    I like the comment from the fellow in Illinois "The last time he beleived Obama was when Obamas said he was running for State Senator".

    Like Rudy, the truth will eventually rise to the top.

    The last thing this country needs is another POTUS in training.

    January 30, 2008 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  12. Doreen Augusta Maine

    My goodness, some of you people are hostile - must be Clinton supports (same personalities and ugliness).

    January 30, 2008 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  13. Caroline

    How is this going to get healthcare to the children or our economy back up and running? How is this discussion going to help the Iraqis put their nation back together again?

    I'm sorry CNN but I need discussions based on the reality of our nation's problems, not this useless fodder.

    January 30, 2008 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  14. deb

    what is this ... the fifth grade?? He said, she said ... next we know, someone's going to threated to tell their dad ... oh, wait ... maybe that already happened!

    Seriously, though. Even if Sen. Obama did "snub" Sen. Clinton, I'm not so sure why it's making all this news. The campaigning that all the candidates are doing must be exhausting. Being under the constant public microscope certain can't help matters, either. They ARE still human, remember.

    Does this mean that Clinton will make a better President than Obama (or vice versa)? Don't we have any other lenses we can look thru? I think this one is a bit cracked.

    January 30, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. Rod

    This sort of pettiness by Obama shows the nature of his character. Or maybe it shows proof of a guilty conscience.

    Maybe he couldn't stand to face her so soon after lying to paint her and her husband as some sort of closet racists.

    Petty or guilty....

    Don't be fooled again folks.

    January 30, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  16. Mark Fuller

    Don't forget CNN's old nickname, the Clinton News Network.

    January 30, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  17. greg,new york

    who cares
    is this really the issue of the day?

    January 30, 2008 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  18. Obama 4 President

    Both candidates snubbed each other, and it all started with Hillary first. If you read the first report on the incident, she spoke to everyone around Obama and not him. If he waved at her when he came in, there must have not been a good return. I don't blame him, don't kiss anyones butt.

    January 30, 2008 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  19. outsider

    If your brother do not want to talk with you when you are talking with someone else, he just leaves the room. Later when he is asked about it. He says I need to use both room. Will you call your bother diplomatic or liar?

    For the journalist, please stop these nonsense report. If you reported the truth related to matters that affect our life, we would have this iraqi war. Do something meaningful for your country.

    January 30, 2008 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  20. marx

    Give us a break the media and stop stirring up trouble!

    January 30, 2008 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  21. Matthew D

    seriously folks, who cares? What does it matter if the two aren't fans of one another? They're in competition right now, and any interaction they have will be awkward and uncomfortable, and it will thus be scrutinized to the milliionth degree. This kind of coverage is on par with following some "celebrity" around and snapping pics. Garbage.

    January 30, 2008 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  22. Trang, Fremont CA

    Wow, another media created story to cause divisiveness in the country.

    Obama said he didn't 'snubbed' her, whatever that means.

    Hillary said she didn't feel snubbed.

    But the media perpetuate this.

    And for those who get all upset over this, take a deep breath. You are getting angry over nothing. And anger can cloud your judgement and adversely affect your health. Take care.

    January 30, 2008 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  23. Emmanuel Winner

    Once again the media shows its patent contempt for the intelligence of the American voter, and once again a handful of voters dash in to validate this contempt. The media just wants a "she said/he said" campaign; politics must be reduced to high-school gossip so that simple-minded "journalists" and the simple-minded among their audience, can feel some cheap voyueristic thrill – "oh look, they dis each other – com'on fight fight!"

    Oh, please.

    Ignore it and move on. And Clintonians and Bushies, if this is what you think it's all about, go back to watching Jerry Springer, and let adults run the country again.

    January 30, 2008 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  24. Vina

    new George W. Bush in the making!

    January 30, 2008 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  25. Jessy

    Obama not only snubbed Hillary but also snubbed Michigan and Florida Democrats because they were stripped off delegates. Hillary's campaign in Michigan and Florida proved that she listens to people and respects people even though they are in disadvantaged situation.

    If Obama wins Democrats' nomination, he will for sure snub everyone including you, just like what shown in the picture and just like he snubbed those who stripped off delegates in Michigan and in Florida unless you donating him money.

    Please wake up, do not make mistake again in your voting. If people had not voted Bush in 2000 and 2004, the eight years of worst disaster to the nation would not have happened.

    January 30, 2008 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
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