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. Bishwa Pant

    I really could not understand this guy Obama is saying Change, what change? I think he is making fool to us. I think he is making fool to young people who are not going depth of meaning of Change, what change???????????????

    January 30, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  2. SJ, Damascus, MD

    For a candidate that has been annointed to take the place of JFK and who in one of the debates said that he would meet his enemies and would not stick to protocol, he sure showed his true colours. Least he can do is 'man up' and say that he planned to do it this way. Please don't try to be like the current president - take responsibility for your actions.

    January 30, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. Odessa

    Cmon, lets go on to the next subject. I wish the media would not seek out negative things all the time. Lets move on to the issue at hand. The media needs to Stop trying to invoke a reft between Obama and Hillary. CNN and other news station, please stop it. I want to hear about the issues, not the petty stuff your cameras look to find between the candidates.

    January 30, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. Tom from New London

    Seriously?

    I'd snub her.

    January 30, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  5. lauren

    Who cares?!? Aren't there other things to worry about right now?

    January 30, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  6. Blckwmn4HilCltn

    Obama is a big baby! He wears his feelings (hurt ones) on his forehead. He has got to grow up and should have done so before deciding to run for President. Public Office is not an easy job and you cannot think you will be elected based on likeability. He snubbed her and then lied about it.

    January 30, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. buth

    i made me sick of obama he is not truth he did snubbed to her i rather i vote clinton i know she will win on feb 5 th

    January 30, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  8. Sarah

    Obama acts like a school boy he needs to grow up. I don't want a cry baby in the white house, his whining poor poor me their picking on me. give me a break

    January 30, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  9. Alice, VA

    Unbelieveable. The very people that are mesmerized by the Clintons and blind to their rather obvious character flaws, lambast those who support Obama for being blind and mesmerized by their candidate. I don't know what it is about the American electorate, but what can you say about a population that reelects someone like Marion Berry after a felony conviction? Is the intent to poke your opponents in the eye for spite's sake? Whatever skeleton Obama has in his closet, if any, pales to what we know of the Clintons.

    January 30, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  10. Jeff

    You have got to be kidding me. There are much more important things to talk about. This is not the Grammy's. This is the Presidential Race. Let's refocus here poeple.

    January 30, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  11. Sir Action Jacksib

    This is great are we serious that a Handshake is a symbol of someone's political platform. And I love how the media gets back to the issues. He didnt shake hands w. a political rival. Thats pretty serious. I'm sure thats going to go down in the history books. The handshake that didnt happen. LOL COME ON I WISH THE MEDIA WOULDN'T FEED INTO THIS. I mean if he was caught on tape giving her the finger behind her back.. ya i would still giggle.. but a handshake not that serious.

    January 30, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  12. Craig

    People care? Why on earth would people care? She's a crackpot, who could blame him if he did snub her. Where does it say they have to be buddies?

    It's kind of childish and stupid if the Clinton administration actually made an issue of this and even more so for the people that would base their election on such a trivial non issue.

    The Democratic party is becoming more and more like the Jerry Springer show of the political world.

    January 30, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  13. Tina

    Somebody tells me why CNN & MSNBC twist everything that Clintons do. I use to respect Christ on MSNBC but now I am not he is so bias. You are news man –always be neutral and say the truth. When you report somethings that two people did,. Report both sides not one side to cover the other.

    January 30, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  14. Elmer

    Obama YOU DID snub Hillary. You say you will work with both sides of the aisle. Those who agree with you and those that do not. Practice what you preach!
    I was impressed by you but the more I see, hear and read about you, I find you to be like our current President. Cocky and arrogant and not everything you say is the truth. You tell the American people what they want to hear NOT the truth.

    January 30, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  15. jn

    Dear major media,

    We get hundreds of news stories thrown at us every day. PLEASE stop polluting the internet with this garbage. I can't believe newspapers would actually pay writers to produce drivel like this. The reporters should be ashamed for wasting the candidates' time with these questions when they could be asking about things that actually matter. Unbelievable.

    January 30, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  16. Solomon2

    We all have personal issues. We let minor issues decide our future. We do at times misplace our judgements when we don't know the true facts. We have all done it and have been on the other side of the fence from other accusers.

    We will not find the perfect candidate and we don't need excuses not to vote for them either. If you don't like the candidate, don't vote for the candidate!

    I can see why some of our children are wayward. We aren't exactly great examples to emulate.

    January 30, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  17. holly

    Trang... I agree This is silly and if people are going to base the election on whether or not someone gets snubbed, says that they did not and still gets crucified, then we are in a world of trouble come election time.

    It's all media Hype...

    January 30, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  18. AM

    As much as this year's elections have been written about and described as "different," this is the same old nonsense. Smear campaigns over analyzing political pundits, who need to take a break and focus on something else. Also lets not try and create a double standard b/t Obama and Clinton, please.

    January 30, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. hmm

    People are reading waaay too much into this. This happens all the time in real life and in politics. As somebody walks towards you, you simply don't see them. You turn around to talk to someone else. Its pretty straightforward, in my opinon. Yes, they have had some hostile debates, but they are essentially from the same party. I agree with Obama...

    "I think that there's just a lot more tea leaf reading going on here than I think people are suggesting."

    OBAMA '08

    January 30, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  20. Gail Dolnick, Mahopac, NY

    Is anyone reading what Senator McCaskill herself said:

    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."

    Is SHE also lying when she claims that Senator Obama wasn't snubbing Hillary???

    January 30, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  21. E. C., Houston, Texas

    OLD and UNIMPORTANT NEWS.

    January 30, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  22. Kuse

    Folks...get a life!! For anyone to call this incident something of importance is really grasping for straws. We need to listen to the issues and how the candidates are going to address those issues. I'm sure that you Hillary-lovers would have loved to see Obama pay homage to "her majesty". He didn't snub her, nor does he have to run over and kiss her ring. Admit it, he is the real deal and we should judge the candidates on how they respond to our questions concerning the war in Iraq, health care, the economy, education, and other issues really important to Americans. The Clintons believe that this election is theirs and they fail to realize that there is an energizing force sweeping the country.

    January 30, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  23. dane

    This is the dumbest thing I've heard during the entire campaign. I am only responding to this thing because I really like both Hillary and Barack and I feel both sides have culpability in this perceived tit for tat BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPETING FOR THE NOMINATION. They're not doing anything that unusual. You know who is out of line? FOX news, CNN, etc. (Sorry, CNN, I still love you)
    It's the media that's blown this whole thing out of proportion. Why? Because there are people on this very message board pouring over images of a couple of seconds of the contenders in a crowded room at a rather hectic event and making a mountain out of a molehill. That's right, it's you, the people who are fighting about this issue that are thus pouring gasoline on the media flame that loves to inflate controversy and keep chucking the same garbage our way.
    I have an alternative: as voters, let's focus on the issues, and the media AND the candidates might fall into line. I already know which candidate I'm voting for, and if my pick loses the nomination, well guess what: if either win or lose you get John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, I say it's win-win-win. The Republicans only wish they had our enthusiasm or an equivalent candidate selection. Let's not squander the moment by letting this great moment we've been fighting and waiting for (almost eight years!) turn into a Lindsay Lohan "Mean Girls" parody of who snubbed who in the lunchroom. Let's not lose sight of the big picture and get baited by the people who want to play minutiae murder. We're not going to select the best candidate in that manner.

    January 30, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  24. Russell

    Who really cares if Hillary and Obama get along? There are more important issues like the economy, mortgage rates, welfare, health care, OIF, OAF, international relations, Chinese trade deficits....

    January 30, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  25. Nick

    Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But I would have.

    January 30, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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