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. A Fed Up Supporter

    Honestly, I was prepared to support either Hilary or Obama, However this feuding war of words has completely turned me and my wife off from either of them.

    This is exactly what McCain needs as it’s pulling our independent votes away from Democrats and towards him…

    Stop with the petty bickering and look at the issues, forget about Bush and throwing each other under the coals. Grow up and show us that you’re looking towards the future and fixing this country!

    January 30, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  2. No Voting for Clinton

    I'm sorry there is a lack of comprehension on this board. Why don't people just google all they can about Hillary and Obama. I promise you see why so people are against Hillary!!!!! Scandals, lies and more lies. I will vote Republican if she wins the nomination. Isn't it strange some of her political friends and ex Clinton people are in Obama camp. That says alot. They know better than us all about her!!!!

    January 30, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. mike kaplan

    I don't know what's more ridiculous here- this total NON-STORY about a NON-EVENT, or you hundreds of MORONS on both sides of this bulletin board who are getting so upset about whether this was a snub, about whether Obama is denying it, about whether the CLintons are using it, etc. etc. etc.


    We have two Democrats running, either of whom are far more different than the Republicans than they are from each other. Anyone of you who thinks you can support Hillary on the issues should be willing to support Obama if he's the nominee, and vice versa too. I like Obama, but I'll vote for Hillary over anyone on the Repub side, and it's an easy choice. FOCUS, PEOPLE!!!

    January 30, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  4. Mary, Wisconsin

    Even though this isn't a big issue at all.... Go Hillary!!

    January 30, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. Lola

    Does it really matter if he snubbed her or not? We don't vote for a president because he or she is polite or not. Besides there are more pressing issues to deal with in this country.

    January 30, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  6. MD

    I can't believe you posters are adults. If I were to guess an age range, I would say 17-22. Really, this is not important!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. Angry Floridian

    You all act as if you never purposely turned your head when two people are having a conversation in front of you and you were not included. I know we all have our right to choose which candidate we want but lets not be childish and say "since he didn't speak to Hillary then i'm not gonna vote for him." Sounds kind of elementary schoolish to me.

    January 30, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Eric, MD

    Too cowardly to face her, now too cowardly to confess to his cowardice. NOT what we need in a Commander in Chief.

    January 30, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. Dom

    I am not sure what Obama was thinking. He is not in grade school. For him to show this "unintentional" motion shows lack of leadership. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me to see a potential President to behave in this manner. What happens if he does this behavior around the world leaders.

    I give Hillary lots of character and leadership to be in front of of his face. Obama cowardly flinches.

    He is NOT a leader. He is a preacher who reads from a book.

    I do not want another Bush in the WH.

    I am changing my vote to Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. Steve

    I’m going to join the countless Americans CNN ignores. NO ONE CARES ABOUT THIS! IT IS NOT AN ISSUE!

    January 30, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. chuck

    It's the small things like this that add up to make people disappointed in both dem candidates. If it's not one thing, it's another. People( Dem's and Rep's) are getting sick of this child-like drama and will eventually start looking to a Rep candidate with more maturity(McCain?). If they keep it up, they will throw the race away.

    January 30, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. pd

    Hillary supporters keep posting, keep blogging, keep emailing the networks. Let's make them start to be remotely fair to Hillary!! There are obviously many of us out there that have not been heard enough because all the pundits want to crown Obama the Democratic leader. How do we know this, to describe 1.5 million Florida Democratic votes as meaningless is crazy and everyone knows it! Keep posting, blogging, emailing, phoning, whatever we have to do to get our message out! I for one would like to have a Democrat in the Whitehouse in 2009 and there is no way Obama is going to be able to do it. All the polls that show him up are hype!! If everyone thinks the "Clinton Machine" is tough, you haven't seen nothing yet, until the Republicans get going. They have done it for years against the Clintons; and yes, they have the scars to show it, but they have managed to keep winning!! Hillary 08

    January 30, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. Carmen

    This is a stupid story – REPORT SOME REAL NEWS!

    January 30, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  14. KB

    Well after reading all the comments, I wonder why we wind up with having leaders like what we have.
    We are a nation of ignorant that that ruled by ignorant. All we care about is who did what and who behaved how. We never look at the capability, skills, competence, and intelligence of the individual.
    After all only the rich gets the job at the White House. So it is the money and not the qualifications. Talk about Democracy in this country which only applies to the rich.
    Those wealthy individuals stand in front of us and talk about the plight of the people and the workers and that they understand what we are going through!!!!!
    Man I feel like vomiting.
    They talk about foreign relations and the closest they got to foreign things is the map in their books. America is ruled by the big giant corporation which puts a person in the White House every 4 years.
    So you can all beech moan and groan about this and that, but when the time comes we will all line up in front of the imaginative ballot box make believe that we are Democratically electing a President.
    But guess what? The President has already been elected a long time before the election day.
    We will never learn, and therefore we deserve these idiots to rule us because we ourselves are idiots. We are no different than any other dictatorship, however we live a little better lifestyle.
    Gone the old King, long live the new King.
    Lord have mercy on us.

    January 30, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  15. Paula

    WHO CARES! A NON ISSUE! Perhaps he had had enough of SHRILLARY for one day. Sheesh can we not concentrate on more important things ! Good grief. SHRILLARY is only nice if she wants something. OBAMA 08 !!

    January 30, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. Alice in Florida

    Oh, geeze, am I going to have to explain AGAIN what the word "snub" means???

    Don't any of you Obamalamas own a dictionary????

    January 30, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. Rosa

    "How dare Mr. Kennedy shake hands with Mrs. Clinton after he spent all day on TV yesterday hugging up to Obama". Mr. Obama's feelings must be soooo hurt. Kind of like, "Johnny has a best friend and then his best friend goes and makes another friend, so that pisses him off". Mr. Obama, you are playing in big playing fields now. Since you fell out of bed and decided to run for the highest office in the United States, you need to wake up now and realize you can no longer play only in your neighborhood, your way. A LEADER'S mentality HAS to be for all the people, not throw a tantrum, and TURN YOUR BACK on those who do not necessarily agree with you! DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS, CONSERVATIVES AND SO ON.............WATCH OUT FOR THIS GUY! DO YOU REALLY WANT ANOTHER BUSH UP THERE WITH CLOSED EARS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DOING WHATEVER THE HECK HE PLEASES?

    January 30, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  18. David

    You're all morons, and who cares? The media? Both candidates said it wasn't what the media made it out to be. It's all made up folks, to sell papers, TV commercials, and web clicks.

    You're all being played.

    January 30, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  19. Ted K.

    Obama, IF you ARE what you SAY you ARE, stand up like a man and admit you were rude!!

    January 30, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  20. Bob - New Jersey

    You can certainly tell by the comments, who is on the for either candidate.

    The economy in general, the hype and media attention surrounding the housing market, the War(s) in the Middle East should all be the focus for all of us.

    Since when is a snub an issue for "real" voters?

    January 30, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  21. Jay

    Bodies strewn throughout dead end streets in Iraq and this is top billing on CNN.com??

    It's time the mainstream media had greater respect for the maturity of the American voter and stopped focusing on petty nothings.

    January 30, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. charles pilcher

    you sort of wander if obama was in the senate at the time of the iraq war vote,woiuld he had voted present. franklyhe has no backbone,if he did snub and he knows if he did or not,then it shows again how little backbone he has.

    January 30, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. mimi

    It certainly looks as if Obama snubbed Hillary, which makes him look childish and petty. Two very unpresidential qualities.

    January 30, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. Dillon, Lawrence KS

    Oh look look, the guys in front of Clinton are snubbing her! Maybe Kennedy snubbed McCaskill.

    Please, what a pathetic story.

    January 30, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. Bahamamama

    Who cares about who snubbed who. The media and Hiliary folks are so petty and will report anything for news!! Obama could say the same thing. Hiliary got a mouth just like Obama but she did not open her mouth and nobody is saying anything about that!!

    January 30, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
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