On the Senate floor yesterday, Barack Obama made his way to the Republican side of the aisle to offer John McCain a handshake. McCain, after hesitation, returned the handshake coolly, barely looking at Obama. Here’s the rundown from The Hill (rec’d via email):
McCain Cool to Obama’s Handshake
by Walter Alarkon
Barack Obama went to greet John McCain on the Senate floor Wednesday during the bailout bill vote, but McCain didn’t seem too pleased to see him.
Obama “crossed over into the Senate’s Republican floor territory and offered an effusive handshake,” reports The Hill’s J. Taylor Rushing. “McCain, who appeared hesitant, accepted it.”
McCain at the time was standing with Sens. Mel Martinez (D-Fla.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), both of whom greeted Obama more warmly.
Others picked up on McCain’s ice cold response.
Though McCain shook Obama’s hand, he did it “with a ‘go away’ look that no one could miss,” reports CQ’s David Nather. “He tried his best not to even look at Obama,” Nather added.
“McCain offered a chilly look and a brief return handshake,” wrote The New York Times’ Carl Hulse. “While it took Mr. Obama several seconds to make his way over to see his rival, Mr. McCain barely pivoted his body as he took Mr. Obama’s hand for a handshake that lasted just a moment,” according to The Times’s Michael Cooper and Jeff Zeleny. “The eye contact was just as brief.”
This takes me back to Hillary’s snub of Obama just after he began talking about a possible run for President. From the NY Times:
The relationship began to change, according to several Democrats who are friendly to both senators, when Mr. Obama began musing aloud about a presidential bid. The day he opened his exploratory committee, several Senate observers said, he extended his hand and said hello on the Senate floor. She breezed by him, offering a cool stare.
For right or wrong, the pundits and public began to see Hillary as cold and calculating while they felt that Obama was sincere and caring. I think we’re finding that the public has the same impression of McCain in this election. Do I think that how he treats Obama will make or break the election? Of course not. But it’s a comparison I found interesting this morning.