Obama allegedly avoids Clinton handshake

January 29, 2008 8:29:32 PM PST
Was it a snub, or wasn't it? That's the question on the presidential campaign trail Tuesday after an awkward moment for Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at Monday night's State of the Union Address.

Presidential campaigns are filled with millions of words - written, spoken, shouted, whispered, live on videotape. But sometimes a silent gesture can tell an equally compelling story, and it's usually subject to multiple interpretations, which is the case with that awkward moment that Clinton thinks may have been an unnecessary and inconsiderate snub.

Clinton was about to sit down in a room at an out-of-the-way hotel in Washington, D.C. for satellite interviews with reporters from ten Super Tuesday states and a chat with one ABC7 reporter from Chicago. The message is positive and upbeat, except for one thing.

When the trail of superficial schmoozing led to fellow senator Ted Kennedy, who endorsed Obama Monday, Clinton and Kennedy exchanged pleasantries, but Obama ignored her.

"I reached my hand out in unity, and my hand is still reaching out," Clinton said.

"Somebody asked me a question as Senator Clinton was reaching for me. And we have very cordial relations off the floor and on the floor. I waved at her as I was coming into the senate chamber," Obama said.

Obama talked about the awkward moment as he headed for a visit to his grandfather's hometown in Kansas. But Kennedy's endorsement of Obama was a snub, and a painful one, for Clinton and her husband, Bill, who are long-time friends and colleagues of the Massachusetts senator. Kennedy's rhetoric was harsh as he talked about what's wrong with the Clinton brand of politics.

"Barack Obama will turn the change on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion," Kennedy said Monday.

"I allow others to be the pundits and commentators, but I have 35 years of producing positive change for Americans," said Clinton.

At this point, Clinton is leading in the polls in most of the big states, of course, not in Illinois and not in a couple of southern states.

Obama has launched a major ad war. He's got ads featuring Caroline Kennedy, campaigning with Ted Kennedy and those states do figure to tighten up.

Ex-president Bill Clinton will be in Chicago Tuesday night for a fundraiser downtown, which is expected to pull in a couple hundred thousand dollars for his wife's campaign but he said he will have nothing to say to the media. He's been involved in so much controversy of late, it's likely he wants to avoid reporters because things have ended up looking badly for him and sometimes for Hilary Clinton.