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. John

    Thats the way to go against the "MACHINE"
    Send the Braud home to go clean and cook!

    January 30, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  2. J. McKinney SW MO

    LL says: "As was stated previously, Hillary was leaning forward to say something to Sen Kennedy. She wasn't speaking to Barack. Regardless, does this really matter in the scheme of things? Let's look at their individual records or what they believe in. That's what is important to make sure we make the best choice for the next president."

    Yes, it DOES matter in the scheme of things - let's do look at their records. And when we do, we already know that Clinton has more experience, and that she actually has posted her plan to pay for everything She has suggested. Obama just talks the talk–he doesn't walk the walk. He can't tell you how he will accomplish any of his "hopes and dreams and choices". Add to that the fact that he is ON VIDEO where it is obvious he is snubbing Clinton, and we see that in addition to being too inexperienced, he is also sullen and pouty. Something we sure don't need in a president. He needs to be capable of handling himself in awkward situations with other world leaders whom he also may not like. We need Clinton!

    January 30, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  3. Terry

    I wouldn't acknowledge hillary clinton either. shes a virus, who would want to touch her?

    January 30, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. Sus

    He's an immature politician and he's already learning to be a jerk! No thank you.

    January 30, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. keion

    If he did or didn't. I don't care. Obama has a plan to use corn for fuel. Let's get off over seas oil.

    January 30, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  6. Austin

    Who cares? I mean, seriously, is it so bad even if he DID?

    "We dont want an impolite president"-That was one of the dumbest things Ive ever read.
    Let's say you were a boxer, and you have a rivalry with them, would you shake their hand? Probably not.

    Like said above this is in no way important and should have no impact on the democratic, or even presidential race.

    A non exsisting handshake is not the end of the world.

    January 30, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  7. Florida

    This is a very silly topic. However, its ok for someone running to be the leader of the free world, to crack up pressure and cry before a nation audience. I was on the fence between the two until this, I don't won't my president cracking under pressure in front of other leaders, during a war, or a national disaster.

    January 30, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  8. ADP

    How is this possibly even an issue? Those of you who care about this clearly have your priorities screwed up. You are what's wrong with America.

    January 30, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  9. PAGuy

    Hillary makes a living out of being nasty, and THIS is somehow an issue? What a joke.

    January 30, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Big D

    Aren't there better things to worry about?

    Go McCain in '08!!

    January 30, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  11. doug

    I plan to snub Hillary at the Ballot box, Go Obama

    January 30, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  12. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    He absolutely snubbed her!

    And, Senator McCaskill should be ashamed for trying to give him an out after it occurred. This is not the first time he has been guilty of boorish behavior.

    As is so obvious to anyone that will pay attention, if it isn't about him he isn't interested.

    He doesn't care about America or Americans, he cares about himself!

    January 30, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. Morgan

    Wow... This is the most pathetic thing I've ever seen make news. These candidates are tearing each other apart, politically, and people are shocked that one snubbed the other?


    No one frigging cares! I sure as hell hope that our country is not so petty as to elect someone based on how POLITE they are.

    January 30, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  14. Antonio, Tempe AZ

    Dear CNN,

    Please start reporting news.


    January 30, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  15. dave L

    CNN posts really lame stories in their headlines. The world is full of news more important than this.

    January 30, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  16. Independent

    I can understand how Obama might feel uncomfortable in this situation, and why his instinct was to turn away from Hillary given the rancor in the campaign. But why must he insult our intelligence by lying about his actions? I'd respect him more if he were honest about what he did and why he did it. He didn't snub her, he just reacted normally to an uncomfortable situation, the likes of which we have all experienced. If he needs to lie about this, what issues of greater importance has he been lying to voters about? That's why this incident is not just a media blowup, but an indication of character.

    January 30, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  17. Fred Pascarelli

    Why even be concerned. Neither one of them can beat McCain.

    January 30, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  18. Mystified

    A M G – with all of the problems facing the US today (and there are a ton of them), this is what you waste time on reporting about?

    I thought news was about real issues!

    January 30, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  19. Ande

    WOW – I can't believe how Hateful Clinton supporters are. No wonder I like Obama.

    January 30, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  20. true colors

    you're right, this isn't an issue. the real issue is how the press would have reported it if the roles were reversed

    January 30, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  21. Yadayada

    Yada, yada, yada!

    January 30, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  22. oklahoma

    Here we go again! Who cares if Obama snubed Hillary Clinton ( 1 time Senator for Ill) Where is Jessie and Sharpton in this mess????. Everybody knows she is running off the coat tail of Bill. Americans need to see through this crap the Democrats are preaching as smell the coffie. The Democratic party want's an American that reallys on the Goverment for everything (WelFare State) Let the Democrats eat there own and Vote for a Republican if you enjoy being free!!! God Bless America

    January 30, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  23. justpaul

    This is beyond stupid. With all of the attacks that have been flying at Obama from the Clinton camp, he SHOULD have turned away from her. Why would it be a story that he did?

    January 30, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. Edie

    Hey Matt, I have been saying Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing, glad to know someone else can see it.

    January 30, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  25. Anonymous

    What chu' talkin bout willis?

    January 30, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
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