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. Mike

    Are you people kidding me?? Big friggin' deal if he did snub her. She's just as rude as he is IF he did snub her.

    The main thing here is that


    Shut up and get to the polls. Do your complaining there.

    January 30, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Ruben

    I don't care if he snubbed Hillary, I would have done the same thing after all the personal attacks her and her camp have thrown at him.

    GO OBAMA!!!

    January 30, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. Mary

    What difference does it make?

    January 30, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. josh

    What a ridiculous story. True or not true its not an issue. Do some real journalism CNN and drop the gossip column.

    January 30, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. Terri

    Hey, did anyone hear that the economy didn't do so well? Or that Kenya's violence has re-surged?? Why is this the only thing people care to pay attention to?? If our votes are based on who is snubbing who, then, we might as well keep Bush in office!

    January 30, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Gloria

    Like it or not, it is clear that Clinton supporters are so threatened by Obama's truly outstanding and inspiring character, something that Hillary clearly does not have. No wonder they are such an unhappy bunch of people. They are not inspired by the person they are trying to vote for. Unlike the Clinton suppoters Obama supporters are very positive and really motivated. Read all you can into this incident, Hillary will never rise to Obama's level and cannot inspire like he does.

    We shall support Obama all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. charles from NY

    Will we make the mistake again? The same mistake that we made in 2000 and again in 2004, voting for the liar Bush, the divider Bush, the war-monger Bush? Will we make the same mistake yet again by voting for Hillary, the For-the-War Hillary, the divider Hillary, the do-anything-to-get-elected Hillary? Yet again??

    Will we miss this historic moment to turn America to the creative energy, to the youthful energy, to the remaking-our-path historic opportunity??

    Miss it again, and we are further doomed and we will bite our collective toungs for loss of word in just a few years.

    Folks, lets not repeat mistakes. For if we do, there will be no one but us to blame.

    January 30, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. LJ

    Some of you people need a life!.......If you like Obama fine, if you like Hillary fine.....but come on people is this really that serious? Get back to the issues! A handshake or not is not going to fix what is broken here. CNN you should have better things to do than this tabloid reporting....The best political team on the air? If this is the best political news on the air then we are all in trouble!.....

    January 30, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  9. DJ

    WHO CARES!!!! They way she and her husband have acted in this campaign I hope he did snub her. Is she goign to cry again??? Maybe that will get her some votes.

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  10. SSG A.

    Wow, really? Is it really that serious? Imagine you were the new kid in school and a popular kid and her brother were constantly spreading rumors about you and throwing dirt on you, everyday. Then one morning you past them in the lunch line, would you greet them and be all friendly or would you snub them and ignore them. Some of yall need to get a clue, maybe a hobby, and stop letting the media dictate what you should think or feel. Then better yet, get some common sense and a sense or reality. This is not been a friendly race since early on. Its been ugly on both sides, especially the Clintons. Deal with it. Reach down between ya legs, grab a pair, and if u dont have any grab someone elses(i am sure they will let you borrow one for the time being), and get on with it. It aint that serious.

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  11. David

    Hillary got out of her seat, walked across the aisle and into the area that Obama was standing to speak to everyone else...BUT HIM. It doesn't seem that Obama SNUBBED Hillary. If Hillary went over there to greet Obama and he turned away...THATS SNUBBING! The Clinton's antics of trying to make Obama look like the bad guy are becoming more and more noticeable...if its not Hillary being obnoxious by this gesture and her previous comments, then its Bill with his comments. And he's the last person to speak about anyone's actions. Initially, I was going to vote for Hillary, but the more and more that I see her and Bill with their evil tantics, I'm going to vote for Obama.

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  12. J_Canadian

    Liar..liar..pants on fire!!!
    To all of you out there in the great ol' U.S of A. Haven't you, America, had enough of George Bush? I mean, I know, they are all politicians and you can expect lies here and there. But true politicians are excellent liars.... THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO GET CAUGHT! Obama did...Bush did(remember WMDs in Iraq?) So as we all know of George Bush, not a very good politician and Obama? HE's PURELY A BABY IN THIS...EXPERIENCE.

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  13. anon

    The only thing more stupid than this article is the comments on it.

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  14. Nat

    Has anyone thought about the fact that Hillary can talk trash about Obama for weeks and then see him and smile and act like best friends. We had a name for that in high school, I think it was two faced.

    two-faced – marked by deliberate deceptiveness especially by pretending one set of feelings and acting under the influence of another.

    So is it a fault that Obama is not able to be two faced? He seems like someone that may be unwilling to be dishonestly gay in this type of situation. That seems like his composition has some substance that other candidates lack. It wasn't like Hillary and Obama crossed paths, she went out of her way to initiate contact. I probably would have done the same thing. You make me more and more proud to be an American everyday Obama. Keep up the good work!

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  15. Dave

    This is just another example of a whole lot of politics as usual and the media covering things that are not issues.

    We can't even have an honest debate about the issues that are most important because we are worried about if Hillary and Obama will have tea and crumpets on Thursday afternoon.

    The only person I ever hear talking real issues that anyone can understand is John Edwards.

    January 30, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  16. Get Real

    For Grown People ( I'm talking about everyone that has posted here) to even care or base their decision off of this story is to me, childish!

    Come on, Who really cares? I don't care if it's Hillary or Obama, this just shows how the American people love Drama and why tabloids and other ridiculous publications makes sooo much money off of us.

    Worry about how the candidate is going to impact your life and your family's life instead of being all up in theirs and nick picking at every little comment and gesture.

    Get Real

    January 30, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  17. Ryan

    Wow, maybe next we can argue over which candidate has the best iPod play-list or sends text messages the fastest. Who ever has the most Devo would be the best president, clearly.

    January 30, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Obama...unifier? LOL

    January 30, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  19. PJM

    The issue here is not this incident ...it is the amount of people who are concerned for on or the other or disconcerned for the whole thing.


    Intentional or not CNN has brought out an avenue where people can vent their feelings for everyone to see.

    What is important here is not Obama, not Clinton and not CNN

    It is US, the people who are in desparate need of a LEADER .

    January 30, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  20. chisholm

    Oh...Please.! Uncordial, rude....so what! What about the issues people??? How rude was it when your president sent us to war without a justified cause.? Please get over it and lets concentrate on what really matters!

    January 30, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  21. Ben, Nashville, TN

    Obama can win the debates with McCain by simply turning his back on him. See how much support he gets from that? Of course Obama snubbed Hillary, but why falsely deny it? Snubbing foreign leaders is not going to win over hearts and minds.

    January 30, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. emcee

    Obama...unifier? LOL

    January 30, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. will

    Breaking news
    24/7 News channel hypes up what they can to get more ratings even if there was no news story.

    Come on CNN stop being lazy, there is plenty of real news to report on.

    January 30, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Tony Harmon

    Even if he did snub her, who cares? This has the smell of a set up...

    January 30, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  25. Kubama


    January 30, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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