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. Jessy

    This is a very important issue. Obama sticks his nose to the air while yelling and screaming, "Change, change, it's time to change!" Change what? Change the color of the next president?

    The focus of people's commants are: Does he listen? Does he respect to others? Is he really willing and able to put his hands on to resolve the ecnomic issues? The answer is no. The body language of him in the picture showed his negative answer. That's why so many people got on-line to express the opinion about the photo.

    Why he ignored MIchigan and Florida? Because it would not bring him delecates or cash. However, so many people in these two states are crying for attention, crying their voice to be heard.

    Do not ignore the body langauge shown in the picture. Today he ignores her, tomorrow he will snub you. Do you want to be listened or to be igranored? Do you want to be respected or snubbed? Be careful and think about.

    January 30, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. CS

    Can you all get over this? This is like high school crap. I thought most of the people commenting were supposed to be adults and not act like high school kids. It is time for us and CNN to get over this and report on the real issues and news.

    We need to stop giving this so much credence just like all the mudslinging. You either like a candidate or you don't. Get over it and vote for you candidate.

    January 30, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  3. Luc

    Wow, this really is pretty crazy. How could such an immediate thing evoke such outraged reaction from so many people. Unless those people were already against Obama to begin with. It is this kind of 'manufactured outrage' that turns me off to the Clinton camp to begin with. I was on the fence before, but this comment board (among other recent developements) is such an obvious attempt by supporters of Clinton to turn almost nothing into a major issue that I can't see voting for her.

    No more drama, please.

    January 30, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. Deborah

    Let's just make this short & sweet. I thought we were in the election process for the President of the United States. Instead it appears we're campaigning for president of the junior high school. Grow up and get on with it!

    January 30, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Paul

    Wolf Blitzer and it CNN are biased…don’t you see??? Just look the BIG hilarious comedy organized by this guy and it channel yesterday about a supposedly Clinton win in Florida yesterday…it’s very disgusting!!!!

    Democratic candidates had agreed months ago to boycott the contest after the Democratic National Committee stripped Florida of its delegates to punish the state for moving up its primary date!!!

    Patti Solis Doyle, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, committed Clinton to signing the Florida boycott pledge, saying, "We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process, and we believe the DNC's rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role."

    Listen to what Patti Solis Doyle is saying today….."There are more voters in Florida alone than there are in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined,"…..disgusting!!!!

    Hillary Clinton will do ANYTHING to be the democratic nominee….but can she deliver on November??? Absolutely NOT!!!!

    Another 4more year for the Republican!!!

    January 30, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. Donna

    Hillary's a cry baby. So what if he did turn from her, maybe it's her demeanor he doesn't like and the lies Bill and Hillary are coming up with in order for her to win. She lost in Iowa and started crying so everyone felt sorry for poor Hillary and she won in New Hampshire. Obama still have more delegates than her. I supported the Clintons until they started bad mouthing Obama. You people have a problem with a black man running for president and can't stand that fact that he might win. Get off your high horses and your prejudices and let the man run. Politics is a bad thing because everyone has done something in their lives one time or another. Some people are just good at covering it up.

    January 30, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. Walter

    Obama, Presidency is earned, not endorsed by the Kennedys or any one else! You have to earn it through elections; likewise Hillary also have to earn it. The observations at the State of the Union speech confirms that you snubed Hillary, an act unbecoming of candidate for presidency. You would have stood tall had you extended your hand to Hillary; after all, aren't you a gentlemen? Or were you hiding under the cloaks of Kennedys?

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

    Snub Hillary or not....intentional or not...Barack Hussein Obama would never accept that. Its not surprising really! What he needs to explain to all of us is his involvedment with the Rezco Scandal....that concerns me more than anyting else thats going on. We need the media to tell us more about him!

    January 30, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  9. Nicqui

    I think this is one of the more recent wastes of media attention I have seen regarding this campaign...

    The next thing we'll see is someone reporting, "I spoke and they didn't speak back".

    How childish and immature is this? Handle this Medicare-D crisis. That's what needs to be reported on...

    January 30, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  10. No Voting for Clinton

    I think alot of people on this board are plain dumb !!!! How many times have many of you unintentionally overlooked someone near you don't lie to yourselfs!!! Maybe you noticed the article about someone in her campaign stated how they she is to towards them and campaign ideas. She is one snubbing the American people by not releasing her records.

    January 30, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  11. Gomez

    A bigger snub was "Dubya" snubbing Barack Obama during his pompous entry. How come no one mentions that? George should have a sore neck from turning his head so fast when he saw Sen. Obama. Apparently he didn't want to make any eye contact or acknowledge the Senator... Fastest I ever saw Bush move except when helping out a political contributor, corporation, or starting a war...

    January 30, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  12. mike

    Who cares? Shouldn't there be a story about how Hillary in claiming victory and momentum from winning in a state where she was the only one competing? If that is how she demonstrates her strength in the South, that should make Democrats a little bit worried.

    January 30, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. Robert

    He definately snubbed her......OBAMA you are the biggest LIAR...we dont want a president like this

    January 30, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. Carol

    Isn't Obama's slogan "yes, we can'???? He can't even look Hillary Clinton in the face and is now trying to explain away his immature behavior. Get real! A picture is worth a thousand of his empty words! Pictures don't lie like he does. He has shown himself to be a whiner, always with an excuse for his choices( like voting "present"), doing business with and accepting money from an indicted slumlord...oh, excuse me, he explained that one away as a bone-headed mistake. He acts like a teeneager dressed in a suit whining his way through this campaign. The people of Florida and the rest of the country will not forget his insult by calling Florida's vote last night as a "Beauty Contest"....how demeaning not only to the people of Florida but to Ms. Clinton. He dares to speak of wanting to hear what the people have to say. Well, delegates or not, the people of Florida sopke VERY clearly last night, and Obama is not their choice. He may ride the wave of the Ted and Caroline Kennedy endoresement for a while, but he will not get the nomination of the Democratic Party because he is not the kind of leader the people want as President. He will never have my vote!

    January 30, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  15. margie

    Bah Bah. This is the uniter?. How immature can you be.
    Obama's character is finally showing. I hate people who lie so blatantly. There is a picture Obama. Are you saying we are blind?.
    Take responsiblility for a change. CHANGE??. The picture with Teddy does not look like change is on its way, does it?.

    January 30, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  16. Keith, DC

    Clinton was also described as "checking what Obama did" before she stood to applaud at one point in the speech. This stuff is nonsense. Nobody is telepathic. Forget it.

    January 30, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  17. TM

    It does not shock me that Obama is lying about turning away from Clinton. What shocks me is anyone expects the truth to come out of his mouth.

    January 30, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  18. The Lawlor

    It amazes me to see adults fighting with one another via comments posted on CNN. If CNN would stop reporting on such ridiculous crap and stick with issues that people truly want to hear about, maybe then the US could stand strong and united. I agree that CNN is biased in their reporting of the campaigns. It seems as though they really don't like Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama can do no wrong, even when he does wrong. It will be interesting to watch how CNN kisses her bottom when she becomes President. I wonder what they'll be saying about Obama then???

    January 30, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  19. Anonymous

    wow...who cares?

    January 30, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  20. sunlight



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

    The real story is how cozy Obama and Kennedy have become. The were so close they could have shared the same chair.

    Now, while there are many who will be impressed by Kennedy's endorsement, he does not exactly come with out baggage of his own and will only serve to paint Obama as being much more liberal.

    January 30, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  22. Mike from Vermont

    After the nasty political games the Clinton's played in South Carolina I'm not surprised Obama would turn her back on Hilary, I would to. As a politically aspiring black man I don't even want to look at her. They have tarnished the once sparkling view I had of Clinton's presidency.

    January 30, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  23. jason agne

    this isn't high school.

    Grow up, media.

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

    Man do some of people have frightening opinions! Some of these people are wary of Obama but they don’t even know why. "Honestly, Clinton really doesn’t want to bring up shady real-estate deals because Obama's is nothing compared to White water. That thing haunted the Clintons through two terms in the Whitehouse. I used to Support Hillary but looking at the way people think I think we need a psychiatrist in the Whitehouse.

    January 30, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  25. Mike

    Another reason to fear the media. They essentially give you the information they want, slant it the way they want, and we end up singing their tune.

    Freedom of the Press........ God help Us!!!!

    January 30, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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