January 29th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: I didn't snub Clinton

ALT TEXT

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. Matt

    Who cares if he snubbed her or not? I think this is a non issue! Why does this really matter to anyone? Slow news day much?

    January 30, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. andra thein

    Really people.

    WHO CARES??? REALLY? WHY IS THIS EVEN SOMETHING WE NEED TO DISCUSS?

    Personally, I am for Obama.

    If Hillary didn't start all this in the first place maybe Obama wouldn't have to defend himself.

    January 30, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. Michael

    SO WHAT? Respect is a two-way Street. The media is trying to pick a fight between the candidates. People are more concerned about what he or she can do as a President.

    Grow Up!

    January 30, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Keneth

    Hey Folks,
    Please go back to the picture and tell me who the said that Sen Clinton was the center of attention to have all people attending the session keep their eyes wide open at her. Take a close look at the front faces, they were not looking at Sen Clinton, were they snubing her too? take an other look at the back, were those people in the same room NOT looking at Sen Clinton were they snubing her too???wait a min, Are all the people walking down the street snubing you when they are not looking at you? it is a huge room, some have their eyes on a screen, some others do not even care what is going on!!! really some are talking about business while they should be focused on the real issues and matters...wake up people and stay focused on the real issued, Hillary wake up from a rumor Dream. Bu the way this whole thing is meant to shake the front runners, well, well, well, the guy is so confident this would mean NOTHING to he, He is already focused on the next step, it smells like we have a looser who has no strategy but to watch the past videos for a dyme. Let's focus on the real issues, What is the future of america the economy and the real stuff, not the fluff!!! thanks!

    January 30, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Carol

    If all the press have to do is sit around and watch Senator Obama to see if he grins at Hillary or Bill they really need to get a life and report on something newsworthy.

    It seems that the issues have been swept to side and now it is all about who said and who did what.
    The press can not take away the fact that the man is brilliant, honest and black and well qualified to do the job of President.
    Therein lies the problem, people do not want to admit that a black man can be PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES. Put all of the bull aside and let's work for the good of the people. We need new leadership and Senator Obama have proved and is still proving that he is the man for the job.

    January 30, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Rolando DePuy

    It is evident that Obama did Snob Hillary.
    The fact that he denies such a small thing, I wonder how would he handle other serious issues.. And to have another Senator lie for him, he is like everyone. He just is not known like the rest

    January 30, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. PJM

    The issue here is not this incident …
    it is not whether we are concerned for one candidate or the other – or disconcerned for the whole thing.

    LOOK AT THIS BLOG!!!!

    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 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Mark

    My god, are we all still in high school? "Oh, he didn't shake hands with her! He must be a jerk!"

    That the Media has this much time on its hands is ridiculous. That the Media thinks most of America really gives a care if two candidates shook hands in a crowded room or not suggests they think very little of our intelligence.

    And for Pete's sake, people... they're opponents! Respecting each other is one thing, but they shouldn't be expected to "make nice" and act like old buddies. After all, their very JOB is to defeat the other.

    January 30, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. Mary

    This "junk" campaigning and reporting keeps happening because we allow the political process of running for any office go on way too long. How about a dollar cap and time limit, like six months to campaign and vote for the nominees? Then they would have to concentrate on the issues to get elected. Anyone running for office is grossly neglecting the position they are in now to campaign. 2 years of this nonsense is way too much. More people would vote because they wouldn't be so tired of this stuff

    January 30, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. A concerned citizen

    I like how we live in a country where is news.
    What a box to be kept in.... honestly, what is happening elsewhere?
    Think about it...

    Simply Awful....

    January 30, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Uncle Quilly

    Wow.... this is news?

    January 30, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Kristi

    are we still talking about this...........I am so worried about our country when this kind of thing is considered "news". I'm not voting for either one of them...they are a couple of brats. Grow up. Seriously...this is news? CNN takes quick votes and polls, etc., but they don't pay any attention to them. If they did, we would not see this kind of story. If they actually listened to what the voters want they would talk about the issues. The economy,,Iraq,,,society, health care, poverty, education, the future of America....a five second bite titled "the moment"? Give me a break.
    CNN you are just as bad as the rest of the cable news knuckleheads.

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. IM

    This really isn't an issue...

    Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this
    Please...do us all a favor and stop blowing this stuff out of proportion and pay attention to the real issues kiddos

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. JD

    i'm going to have to agree with vince on this one, who cares?

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  15. ashley

    please report on real issues instead of making something out of nothing. is this cnn or entertainment tonight?

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. AH

    I agree with Jani. In fact, I often wonder if CNN is a right-wing rag, and the reason they are boosting Obama (and ignoring his sexist "beauty contest" remark and his relationship with Rezcoe) is because they know he simply cannot win a national election. He does not have the experience or the substance to win a presidential race and we will be forced into another four years with a republican president, who will cause us to lose even more lives in the meaningless Iraqi war.

    Wake up, CNN. If you really want to do a service to the country, you will highlight stories on the Iraq war – every day reminding people of what we would be getting into with a president who is not adamant about us drawing our troops out.

    And please, enough with the "Obama's so dreamy, he never does anything wrong" stories. Stick to the issues and let the American people make up our own minds.

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. Rick

    I am really sick and tired of this type of reporting that adds no value whatsoever. Why can't CNN just stick to reporting the facts and reports those news items and minimize this sensationalistic crap we've been getting. The BBC provides a better source NEWS!!!

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Steve, Philadelphia

    I think that the media, as well as the American public, need to start focusing on the issues rather than insignificant moments like this one. This story has no bearing on how either Obama or Clinton will perform as the next president of the US. We all need to start looking past the petty playground moments and all the BS rhetoric that we are force fed by the candidates and the media during election season (or any season for that matter). Read the tabloids if you want news that doesn't matter.

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Mark Reed

    Slow news day, huh? I'm surprised we didn't see it shown in slow motion. CNN and all of the other news stations need to move on. Focus on what counts, please!

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. Keneth

    Hey Folks,
    Please go back to the picture and tell me who said that Sen Clinton was the center of attention to have all people attending the session keep their eyes wide open at her. Take a close look at the front faces, they were not looking at Sen Clinton, were they snubing her too? take an other look at the back, were those people in the same room NOT looking at Sen Clinton were they snubing her too???wait a min, Are all the people walking down the street snubing you when they are not looking at you? it is a huge room, some have their eyes on a screen, some others do not even care what is going on!!! really some are talking about business while they should be focused on the real issues and matters...wake up people and stay focused on the real issued, Hillary wake up from a rumor Dream. Bu the way this whole thing is meant to shake the front runners, well, well, well, the guy is so confident this would mean NOTHING to he, He is already focused on the next step, it smells like we have a looser who has no strategy but to watch the past videos for a dyme. Let's focus on the real issues, What is the future of america the economy and the real stuff, not the fluff!!! thanks!

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. Larry Edwards

    Snub or nor snub, there was no film showing Obama ever extending his hand to Clinton.

    January 30, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. Brian

    Waste. Of. Time. I want the minute of my life back it took to read this. All of you in here who actually takes this story seriously need to really consider what has true meaning in your lives.

    January 30, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. Eric Crowther

    YOU ALL HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! Anyone who is dedicating time to reading news and making comments should be above wasting time on this ridiculous non-event. There are serious issues in this campaign. That is what we need to talk about. The campaigns do enough to pollute the air with irrelevant attacks on one another, we do not need to fuel the fire. Economy, Iraq, health care, education, human rights... those are the issues!

    January 30, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. Jeremiah

    People, focus on important issues!

    January 30, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  25. Andy Florida

    It is a look into the future if Obama is elected. More snubs to the people who fought for him, more lies and more cover ups. Obama is still the same. He will not change

    January 30, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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