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. Phil

    This is all just silly. We're ignoring the issues at the expense of this media frenzy. Media: Get back to the issues and people: start paying attention to this issues!
    Clinton has never spoken to an issue. She has continually pandered to whatever audience she's in front of that day. Why don't people understand that she can't win the general election? She's as devisive as Bush, just on the opposite side. She can't win the November election, and if she's the nominee we'll surely be stuck with another Republican. It's time to start thinking about who will motivate the independents and the young people to vote; it's not her.

    January 30, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  2. lou dallas,tx

    ...ahhhhhhh....infighting within the media and the lib demowacos....gotta love it...gotta love it......!!!!

    January 30, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. Lynn in NM

    Who cares whether he did or did not snub her? Looks like the Clinton News Network has joined Hillary in kindergarten.

    January 30, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  4. walter

    obama snubs hillary ,clearly just a few meter away he cannot see her from top to down and even not to say hellooo i won in SC. thats rude obby (obama)

    January 30, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. Tom

    PLEASE......................... We don't need another Clinton in the Whitehouse, We NEVER need another Clinton with Politics as Usual !

    January 30, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  6. Bryan

    Who cares if he did snub her and who cares if he meant that she isn't that likeable. She isn't likeable and he does dislike her like most of the rest of us.


    January 30, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  7. Bob

    Media are big variables in the base political culture that Mr. Obama and others discuss. Why is this an issue? Should he have french kissed her? Given her a slap on the backside and say, "Way to go kiddo!" Enough with this crap. This is not news but instigation. Discuss the issues!

    January 30, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. Michael

    oh c'mon people.

    Let's see....what's more important......... whether Obama "snubbed" Clinton or the war? hmmmmm........ snubbing Clinton or the war..................... this is a hard one................... dont know...............


    January 30, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  9. luvless

    I think you people who are making a BIG DEAL out of something so DUMB are ALL ignorant!!! Quit being CRYBABIES because he didn't shake her hand. It's his right...not your judgment that counts.

    Most of you will be on the paddywagon when he does win...forgetting all that you said....

    January 30, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  10. MarknDC

    Does it really matter? I wouldn't blame him if he snubbed her... and she was reaching out to Kennedy – not him. Ah who cares – it's just another example of the media trying to TMZ politics.

    January 30, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  11. Phil

    You know, I look at it this way. Who really cares? This is truelly one of those stupid stories the media brings up just to cause controversy. The press needs to stop reading into everything. This really is very stupid on the media's part.

    January 30, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  12. Laura

    You know something, some of you need to get a life. Why are you making so much out of things that are not important? Aren't you more concerned about who will be the next President and what their views are on the problems we are having in America today? To be honest, one of the reasons we are in such a bad state today is because of people like you making such a big deal out of something so trivial.

    January 30, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  13. Valerie

    They talked earlier! Who cares?

    January 30, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. Apple

    Instead of focusing on how Hillary may or may not be using the female card in response to Obama's snub, why not focus on the fact that his camp reported that it was "an awkward moment" for him and his decision was to turn away. Is Obama going to face awkward moments as president in a similar way? In the International Arena? During a crisis? It's easy to be poised and rehearsed when giving speeches doing imitations of MLK and JFK but when the cameras on and you think no one is watching your actions speak a lot louder. A picture tells a thousand words and in this case, it shows Hillary has the maturity and grace to be president of the United States of America while Obama looks like a snickering kindergartner choosing his playmates on the playground and snubbing the ones that might give him competition.


    January 30, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. MrFil

    Wow... I read these comments and the venom is unbelievable. I mean, WHO CARES? Its scary to see (presumably) Democrats such such hate and pettiness towards someone ON THEIR SIDE. Obama a 'baby' take a look at yourselves.

    January 30, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. truth

    I hate CNN... people rightly say it Clinton News nerowrk....Two of the main news are against Obama/Ted today... I spit on you, CNN

    January 30, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  17. gigi

    Too much love for Obama from the News corps...Hillary wins "beauty contest..?" that is an insult to the million and a half Floridians that went to vote on Tuesday's primary..Hope Hillary wins the nomination...Sick of the media telling me who is the right candidate for me...

    P.S. Hannity was so quiet last night..His boy just quit the race and Thompson left the race not too long a go...HA! HA!

    January 30, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  18. crawf

    We have better things to discuss, What's more important? The snub or who we want for our next President? Next Question!

    January 30, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  19. Jake

    Obama is very, very SLICK! He waited until South Carolina to pretend that the Clintons are racists. Race was not an issue in Iowa and NH. Why would the Clintons bring up race in SC. Obama wants blacks to think that after all these years of getting support from the Clintons they wouold turn against blacks in SC. Black voters are not stupid, we would like to support Obama, but I don't think the country will buy into his SLICK ways. We need a president that has more than HOPE for us black folks. Jesse and Al have been preaching HOPE to black folks while stuffing their pockets. We need more than HOPE, we need jobs, displine in our schools and affordable college cost for our children. Obama can keep his HOPE, I have had enough of HOPE, we need HELP!! GO HILLARY

    January 30, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |

    This is HILLARY"S time finally. Pictures show the facts of this snub christal clear. Obama can wait, learn more to be polite and speak the truth. Eight years from now, when he learned enough, he can "try" again. Hillary for '08, Hillary forever and Hill, give em HELL

    January 30, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  21. sunlight

    So what!!! Hillary aint no body special. Get OVER IT!

    i have never seen anyone win 4 STATES AND still is not in the lead with delegates. Edwards is going to catch up to her. Latinos are not everywhere and looking at the results over 6 states, it appears Hillary is in big trouble with the American people.

    lThe polls are wrong. LOOK AT THE RESULTS PEOPLE

    January 30, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  22. Larry B

    As Obama says, was "it" a snub – well it all depends on how you define "it". This was such a silly immature thing to do, and Obama's denial is pathetic. Does he really think we are all blind AND stupid. Talk about inexperience. The American people cannot afford to have this man-child handling our foreign policy or economy – he will be visiting and shaking hands with Chavez, Castro, Iran, and North Korea, while snubbing allies like Great Britain, Canada and the European Union. This guy is downright "dangerous" and is hoping to skate to the nomination on insider endorsements and flowery speeches that have no substance, definitive views, experience, or any clue whatsoever how to process change. If you thought Bush was divisive and polarizing to our nation, Obama will be known as the "Deep Freeze Man" and will throw this country and our economy back another 4 years.

    January 30, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  23. Paul

    Hypocrite Hillary! No way was her hanshake gesture to Ted sincere. Ted and Caroline snubbed her this past week by endorsing Obama. Great snub Obama – it was sincere!

    January 30, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. marci



    January 30, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  25. tony

    Enough with this nonsense, already. I'd rather read another "what has Brittany done today" story than this meaningless crap. Did he, didn't he, what does it mean, what does it say about him? The better question is what does it say about us? Imagine being on camera every time you step into public. How many of us would hold up under that kind of scrutiny? This is a non-issue.

    January 30, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
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