From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan and Domenico Montanaro
On Obama's campaign plane, he answered questions about the "snub" moment from the State of the Union and Florida's relevance, or lack there of, in this nominating process.
He said he was "surprised" about the photo and how his apparent turning away from Clinton was being characterized.
"I was turning away because Claire [McCaskill] asked me a question, as Senator Kennedy was reaching for her [Clinton]," Obama said. "And senator Clinton and I have had very cordial relations on the floor and off the floor; I waved at her as we were coming into the Senate chamber before we walked over. I think there's a lot more tea leaf reading going on here than I think people are suggesting."
McCaskill was on the plane with Obama to back up his alibi, and she scolded the press for reading something into nothing.
"It was not a snub," she emphatically declared. "It was one of those accidents. Frankly everyone's spoiling for a fight, which is the politics of old, you know this thing isn't the politics of old. Its about new. It's unfortunate that everyone is so anxious for there to be problem on a personal level and I gotta tell yah, its just not there."
She added, "And I hope that um, that you guys help correct the impression that's out there. That somehow there was some kind of attempt on the part of Barack in any way be disrespectful or impolite.
But reporters pressed her, asking if there was a handshake or some kind of greeting between Obama and Clinton. how could he have missed the handshake. McCaskill, referring to when Obama first walked in said, "There was a friendly wave. A friendly moment [between the two candidates.]
"I was amazed when I woke up this morning. I didn't even realize, it was one of those things that all of a sudden is being blown into something it really just wasn't."
On Florida and Clinton saying she would reinstate Florida's delegates... the Democratic National Committee told First Read months ago that any eventual nominee would likely work with a credentialing committee to seat a non-voting Florida delegation.
"Those decisions would be made after the nomination not before," Obama said. "The DNC has been clear about its positions. Obviously I care a lot about the people in Michigan and the people in Florida, and I want their votes in the general election and will be actively campaigning for it."
He added that he thinks today's voting in Florida "probably is a snapshot. It's a beauty contest. It's similar to a poll, but none of us have campaigned there, so people have no idea what the respective candidates stand for -- no chance to lift the hoods and kick the tires."