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. Tabitha

    What a pathetic excuse for an attack!!!! I seem to remember people not having any good political reason to attack President Clinton, so they went after him for adultery!!!!!! Apparently, the Clinton people believe in these kinds of ridiculous attacks.....not to say that adultery is not a very serious matter. Give me a break! The media gets paid to deliver this crap.....

    January 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Scott

    Is this seriously an issue? I'm shocked that this is on the front page, but can't say I'm surprised...

    January 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Sharon, Orlando

    I agree with the comment about what Edwards is trying to do. It would be a shame to circumvent the democratic prpocess in that manner. I saw a news clipping where an insider in the Edwards camp said that he and Obama met regularly behind the scenes after the debates. I wonder what they talk about?

    January 30, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. bafo

    SNUBGATE 2008 !!!!!!!


    January 30, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. beenthere

    Where is the big surprise? Have none of you men or women ever worked with a man who simple doesn't SEE a woman unless it's necessary? They are usually raised that way and have no realization it happens. I think men who aren't that way are much more surprised by the act. The women waving the Obama signs are visible to him...when you put down the sign you'll be invisible again.

    January 30, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. LooDobbs MooVon

    hipocrite....new word: very large person that is hypocritical.

    January 30, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Jeff

    What a complete waste of time to put so much energy into such a non-issue. Way to go everyone who reports on this.

    January 30, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. vicky smart

    Will this matter take the Nation forward?
    Let us face important issues and more on. Pray for them and don' t destroy them with your mouth. They are doing their best..

    January 30, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. Laura

    WHO CARES!!!!

    January 30, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  10. Rebecca

    All this pic shows is Hillary shaking hands with Teddy. And Obama talking to the people behind him. Big deal.

    January 30, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. Ben

    Why does this matter?

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Amber

    So.... I don't think I've ever been more annoyed reading comments on an article than I am now. Who cares! Get over it. I can't beleive something as small as this has become this big all because of the stupid people who beleive everything they hear in the media. Obama would not have gotten this far if he is too immature. I like both Obama and Hillary. As long as Bush leaves, our country is going to benefit, trust me. Those of you who call Obama immature.... take a look at yourself. You are the ones looking at a snap shot and judging a persons character because his back happens to be turned at that second the picure was taken!!

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. AP

    I can't believe the comments that have been made on something that is not news worthy. This is not a an issue. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Please stop responding to this ridiculus mess. CNN REPORT THE NEWS & FOCUS ON THE ISSUES....

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Christopher, DC

    This actually may be a fluffy story but it does give insight to his integrity and if nothing else continued observation of his body language.

    He begins his sentences with a stutter and dawns a smirk when he is uncomfortable or lying.

    Similar to GW but not quite as smug.

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Tee

    This story is filled with grammatical errors. I can't belive that someone there can't proof-read these articles. It almost gives the reader a headache. I believe that there was no snub by Obama or Clinton.

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Di

    Is this R-e-a-l-l-y a serious issue?
    I care that there is a presidential candidate that has an IMPEACHED president for a husband giving her pointers on HOW to run the country?
    "Obama in 2008"

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Chuck

    You Clinton supporter really need to get a life. And stop making an issue out of a non-issue

    January 30, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. peter

    Y'know, there are more important things going on in the U.S. and around the world...

    January 30, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. George

    It seems obvious that a number of bloggers can decide the intent of a single individual in the midst of a sea of activity. What gives me pain, is the tone of many of the bloggers responding to the question of "snub" or "not a snub." There is a sense of animous that is easily detected in many of the blogs. Whether you are for Clinton or Obama, it is important to remember that both candidates are leaders wanting to move our GREAT NATION forward, and they both deserve our utmost respect, regardless of which side of the fence we lean towards. Having said that, GO OBAMA!!!!

    January 30, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. mark w

    This is typical CNN ...........find something that is not news and turn it into an issue.

    January 30, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. Lulu

    Someone has too much time of his/her hands. Drop it. Who cares?

    January 30, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Nancy

    CNN and the American people should be more concerned about the issues at hand than the apparent "snubbing" of Hilliary by Obama. Obama does not have any experience and this is just another way of showing it. Real "men" would not behave this way. Hillary is a strong woman, this bothers a lot of men. We need a strong president. Mr Obama talks about changes all the time. He does not give any answers as to how he himself will go about makeing changes. Talk is cheap. He cannot deliver. I would not want senator Kennedy as a president and think it is a slam to the JFK name for the family to be endorsing and or comparing
    Obama to JFK.

    January 30, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Rajan

    Obama, are you politician? i don't think so, you even don't know how to lie. You need to learn from common people. Picture clearly shows you are turned your face away from Mrs. Clinton, you are absolutely stupid negative person. Do you think people stupid enough that they can't judge this?

    January 30, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. Tee

    Doesn't anybody proof-read these articles? Whoever wrote these should be repremanded for all the numerous grammatical errors.

    January 30, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. M. Laughlin

    This is nothing! Stop wasting your time with non-reporting!

    January 30, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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