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. Pam in NY

    What a waste of time. This is not an issue. Keep your eye on the ball, people!!!

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

    Let's see. This guy is going to bring change to Washington, and two key words I hear are comity and civility. Right. Let's see his sheep spin this. How about Edwards as an alternative.

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

    The media thinks they have the power to make or break the election. i think everyone will see they want the next president to be Obama. I sure hope there are enough people like me to vote for Hillary.. Obama is a joke>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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

    you know why CNN reports this....so the hillary camp can get all their panties in a bundle. makes for good tv..and good comments on the Ticker page.

    so what if he snubbed her, so would i..im not an obama cheerleader but c'mon.

    gimme some real articles about REAL issues.
    thanks, that'd be great.

    January 30, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Mercedes Rodriguez


    Will you please limit the responses to adult mature responses from your bloggers. I am reading these comments and I feel that these bloggers are from young elementary kids instead of adults that will soon have to vote for our next president. You should all be ashame of yourselves. Remember not only is our country reading these blogs but so are bloggers from other countries. Let's keep this real. The media is playing a dirty media campaign ever!!!! Now that Edwards has chosen to drop out of the campaign and most likely Clinton will pick up his endorsement and voters it is better for the Obama followers to keep it low and not response to these ridiculous accusations. Is obvious from the exit polls that Obama followers are mostly young adults educated people who have a mind of their own and doesn't need the media to change their minds.

    January 30, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. enough already

    Folks, if Hillary can forgive her husband for his error in judgement, can't we all just forgive Obama and and move on?

    Quit embarrasing America by focusing on this garbage. It's a race for the most powerful position in the world. Posturing will take place. Judge the candidates by the real issues and cast a vote!

    If you want the middle school drama being discussed here, move to a professional wrestling or soap opera blog.

    January 30, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. TJ

    All you people talking about how Obama is "fluff" and "where's the beef?", why don't you spend 30 seconds to go to his website and read the whole list of where he stands on the issues? Or better yet, why don't you look at the 4,000+ votes he cast in the state senate? But that would be too hard right? It's much easier to just regurgitate Clinton machine talking points...

    January 30, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. Susan

    With the economy failing, and the human race destroying itself with global warming and warring, who cares! What makes the news needs to get a life or wake up to what's really important.

    January 30, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. Tammy Bergeron

    Who Cares?

    January 30, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Camel

    I will snub any Clintonians or Bushes (male/female) a like

    what's worng with that?!!

    Snub is the least I can do being a camel and we all know what a Camel mouth can do.

    I will use my end to snub Gulian, the bloombergs, the chennys and the Ramsfeild too.

    January 30, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. TJ

    When did CNN become such a JOKE? I mean, first it started when you made CNN headline news a 24 hour celebrity news channel. But now, all I see is ridiculous stories like this being reported on the network and website. I know you are a for-profit business, but you make it very difficult to respect you as anything different than faux news when you promote ridiculous stories like this.

    Stop playing the race card, stop playing the gender card, and stop demeaning this election into a high school popularity contest. Who cares if he snubbed her. Seriously, who cares?

    January 30, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Joey, McDonough GA

    WHO CARES?!?!! I love Obama, but I will support either one in the end. This is yet another example of media blurring the lines between Candidate and Celebrity.

    January 30, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Susan

    Is this all we have to talk about? Does it really matter if they speak are not? I don't think so. They are both trying to win the Democratic nomination, not be friends......who cares.

    January 30, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Paul

    I will happily support whichever of the two candidates win the nomination. Obama is not the enemy. Hillary is not the enemy. They've made other, more significant snipes at each other, why do you care about this!? We'll need to set all this silly pettiness aside soon enough. They are both very good candidates. Please join me in supporting the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she may be, in the general election so we can get this country back on the right track!

    January 30, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. lisa

    Grow up. Is this the sort of thing Americans will be voting on?? And shame on CNN for acting like a talboid rag and even bothering to report on this.

    January 30, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. zerville

    Obama, beware of the ides of March! the ides of March! people who hate you for what you stand for, are going to find someway to bring you down. often times they cant make a direct frontal attack because it will be publicly unacceptable & unpopular. but sure they will are gonna look for other means to do it..such as this..

    January 30, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. Steve

    CNN – are you a reputable news org?

    What is your company coming to?

    why would you put this on your front page and call it news.

    I frequent this site in the hope of following the real issues.

    I cannot fathom your motives.

    Please be more responsible

    January 30, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Melwell

    WHO CARES? The press needs to get a life!

    January 30, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. Ryan

    Does this even matter? Is this worth news coverage? I expect more from you, CNN.

    January 30, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  20. Jim

    Oh, for the love of all that is good and holy! Grow up people! This isn't news, it's playground gossip. "He didn't talk to my friend." "She didn't talk to my friend." "I hate him." etc. Not only did Barack not talk to Hillary when she came to talk to Ted Kennedy, but let's point out that she stretched across him to talk to Ted without talking to Barack. Both Barack and Hillary have reason to tread gingerly around each other, and I wouldn't make anything of it. Go find some real news! And find real issues to debate instead of who didn't say hi to whom!

    January 30, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  21. APS in Hawaii

    This goes to show the character issue for Obama. This was an outright snub. If Hillary would have done this, the news media would have been all over her and clawing for blood. It is ok to disagree about politics, but to treat a fellow Senator from the same party with disdain is disgusting. This will go along way to helping Clinton in showing what kind of person Obama is. Obama would be wise to issue an apology instead of a cover up. If not, he will lose more than he has gained to date.

    January 30, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  22. Tony Wrightson

    I watched the whole thing and OBAMA definetly did turn away. Braek it down step by step and you will see. He abrubtly turned when Ms. Clinton approached and put out her hand and he did not even make a move toward Hskel . He is not a nic e person as you have seen. He is definetly playing the race card. I listened to him make a speec and he tries to emulate Martin Luther King especially when he is around the great Black community.

    January 30, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. Frank

    It's this type of focus on trivial matters that has us in the trouble we're in now. In the past two presidential elections, the media was more focused on personality issues of the candidates than their substance as capable leaders.

    January 30, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  24. golfman454

    There's nothing else to talk about !

    January 30, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. Randy

    Why is this even an issue? People seriously have their priorities ALL TYPES OF WRONG. Stop nitpicking and LOOKING for things to bash him about goodness.

    January 30, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
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