Did Obama give Hillary the finger?

posted at 6:46 am on April 18, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

When is a bird not a bird? I suspect when the Democratic frontrunner flips it. Barack Obama campaigned among friendly crowds yesterday in North Carolina, one state he’s expected to win easily in the next few weeks. Perhaps he let his guard down, or maybe he didn’t even realize he made the gesture — but despite its subtlety, the crowd certainly recognized it. Watch the video and decide for yourself:

He’s talking critically about his opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, and the kind of distasteful gotcha politics that occur in Washington. And he says, “That’s all right. Sen. Clinton looked in her element.”

Watch the video right then. The presidential candidate raises his right hand to seemingly scratch his cheek.

He doesn’t use his whole hand though. Just one finger. Briefly. A couple of strokes.

Obama has a pretty satisfied look on his face afterwards, which makes it look a little more purposeful than not. It’s subtle enough to have deniability for anyone who might get offended, but clear enough for his followers to enjoy the moment of disrespect towards Hillary. And who hasn’t wanted to flip off a Clinton at some time in their lives?

Is this a damaging moment for Obama? Probably not, although it’s not exactly classy. In fact, it might have a charm all its own, a warmth and humanity that certainly doesn’t come out when Obama debates.

Update: Redstate says it’s definitely the salute; Jim Geraghty needs a little more convincing.


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Comments

Is this a damaging moment for Obama?

Among liberals? Surely you jest.

labrat on April 18, 2008 at 6:50 AM

Wait until the discussion in the MSM turns it around to Cheney swearing at Patrick Leahy in the Senate. Just you wait…

Captain Scarlet on April 18, 2008 at 6:51 AM

Look at what Republicans have had to endure. If there really was an impartial press, there would be no Democrat party.

JellyToast on April 18, 2008 at 6:53 AM

Wait until the discussion in the MSM turns it around to Cheney swearing at Patrick Leahy in the Senate. Just you wait…

At least Cheney was intellectually honest and didn’t bother with “plausible deniability”. ;-)

rhombus on April 18, 2008 at 6:56 AM

Let’s see, GW was campaigning and referred to Adam Clymer as something, hmmm, what was it, I know the lefty blogs had a Gorebasm over it…

Hmmm, can’t seem to remember, but I do know it got a lot of play in the media.

benrand on April 18, 2008 at 7:02 AM

Try scratching your face with the middle finger.

See? Not very comfortable.

Aristotle on April 18, 2008 at 7:03 AM

He may have been laughing afterwards because he realized what the audience thought he was doing, and he thought it was funny (or maybe was going along with it).

On the other hand, it could have been intentional, but I doubt it.

p40tiger on April 18, 2008 at 7:05 AM

If he mooned Hillary, now that would be something.

hepcat on April 18, 2008 at 7:06 AM

Oh please, Ed. I think this is a bit much.

Mr. Bingley on April 18, 2008 at 7:06 AM

Umm, BO scratched an itch. On his face.

darkpixel on April 18, 2008 at 7:10 AM

Lol! This is gonna be a fun ride.

thareb on April 18, 2008 at 7:12 AM

It’s congruent with the verbal middle finger he gave last week to working class american citizens.

geckomon on April 18, 2008 at 7:14 AM

Ok, I thought you might be full of it with this one. I then found more of clips of the speech in THIS video from CBS news.

It is clear that the speech was full of meaningful “gesticulation” and the timing and reaction make it clear this was intentional.

How I feel about it, I don’t know.

Agrippa2k on April 18, 2008 at 7:15 AM

Oh please, Ed. I think this is a bit much.

Mr. Bingley on April 18, 2008 at 7:06 AM

You would have convinced me of that, if it were not for the way the audience and he reacted after the “scratch.”

geckomon on April 18, 2008 at 7:16 AM

Here’s a different video at a different angle.

I didn’t see Ace’s post until just recently, but I like his reaction:

Dicey. Could be a bit of a trap. He keeps claiming that it’s trivial to bring up nonsense like whether or not he buddies around with terrorists (let’s not bicker and argue about ‘oo killed ‘oo). It’s possible that he did this intentionally to stir up debate over a trivial issue so he can 1) change the subject and 2) cry out, “See? See the sorts of silliness they’re using as distractions?

Free Constitution on April 18, 2008 at 7:17 AM

Hey, the anointed Obama knows like everyone else, The Bird Is The Word. Always stay classy Obama. You don’t have the stones to get down and dirty with Clinton, much less McCain.

Cold Steel on April 18, 2008 at 7:18 AM

Did Bush give the Pope a Pat on the Butt?

Fox News has learned that president George W. Bush accidentally ran his hand on the Pope’s butt while guiding him inside the White House after a press conference in the Rose Garden.

Sources told Fox News that the Pope has a quick shiver around his butt cheeks but recovered from it immediately after Mr. Bush removed both…

We interrupt this New Alert for another News Alert:

Fox News has learned that president Bush has sneezed.

Back to our regular programming and now with Bill O’Reilly interviewing former porn star Maboody Hairy about her support for Hussein Banana O’Bamba.

Indy Conservative on April 18, 2008 at 7:22 AM

OHHH ABSOLUTLY….FREAKING BRILIANT!
This guy is definatly one of the most charismatic politicians of our time. He probably even told a few people (plants in the crowd) he was going to do it…
He is cool very cool….a Marxist, who I would rather see in jail… but cool as the other side of the….well you know.

elraphbo on April 18, 2008 at 7:25 AM

One last time. Check the ‘reaction’ of the lady in the back off Obama’s right shoulder with the pink blouse.

Full speech is tittled “Obama Brushes off Clinton Jabs”.

That look confirms what she saw, without a doubt.

Agrippa2k on April 18, 2008 at 7:28 AM

Given the Obama campaign of words and images, it is reasonable to question whether this (middle finger) move is intentional. The hard left Che Guevara fans in his campaign eat this sort of stuff up…. and Randi Rhodes of Airhead America recently said this sort of thing about Hillary rather directly.
.
Thomas Lifson at American Thinker has a good analysis of the images portrayed by the Obama campaign in his article The Obama Aesthetic.

Right_of_Attila on April 18, 2008 at 7:28 AM

Yea the video on CBS has the best angle, and shows the reaction of people who actually see the “gesture”. The “OOOOO” look of the lady in pink, says it all.

Agrippa2k on April 18, 2008 at 7:30 AM

That was amazingly unsubtle.

Even Barry couldn’t help but grin over the crowd’s reaction. Don’t tell me he didn’t know what he was grinning about.

Jockolantern on April 18, 2008 at 7:38 AM

no doubt it was intentional…and only HE could get away with it…although watching him piss of McCain (the only other one who could get away with rude, classless behavior) this year should prove quite entertaining…The Old Codger vs The Young Punk. ding, ding…

elraphbo on April 18, 2008 at 7:39 AM

Indy Conservative on April 18, 2008 at 7:22 AM

Funny! Now, what do you say after actually watching the video?

geckomon on April 18, 2008 at 7:42 AM

Gee, and to think some of us actually respect the office of the Presidency!

Those questions asked in the debate were about character and judgement, he failed then, this video reenforced it, and it’s time to quit playing games with him!

Pam on April 18, 2008 at 7:49 AM

What an amazing issue-based campaign this is.
The media should be very proud.

Dave Rywall on April 18, 2008 at 7:53 AM

Indy Conservative on April 18, 2008 at 7:22 AM

Funny! Now, what do you say after actually watching the video?

geckomon on April 18, 2008 at 7:42 AM

What video?

The White House has deleted the video from its website.

Indy Conservative on April 18, 2008 at 7:57 AM

A “bird” by any other name is still…

…a childish gesture used as an attempt to “change the subject.”

The Obamboozler is up to his old tricks again….

Lockstein13 on April 18, 2008 at 8:07 AM

It’s certainly more subtle and elegant than, “I’m sure if we ask Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian…”

fossten on April 18, 2008 at 8:10 AM

Aristotle on April 18, 2008 at 7:03 AM


Arisotle is right. Try to scratch your face w/ the middle finger. It’s not a natural motion. It was deliberate.
Given the reference to Clinton, the sneer, and the crowd reaction…I think Barry’s immaturity peeked through again.
I hope he gets nailed to the cross for it…but he won’t.

JoeAvg on April 18, 2008 at 8:17 AM

So Hillary knifed him in the debate. Interesting. I wonder how far into the general election we’ll be before Obama (or some flack acting on his behalf) claims the media or somebody else “lynched” Obama. Given his obsession with race and his ultra thin skin when it comes to being challenged, I’d bet it won’t take long.

AZCoyote on April 18, 2008 at 8:18 AM

So Hillary knifed him in the debate. Interesting. I wonder how far into the general election we’ll be before Obama (or some flack acting on his behalf) claims the media or somebody else “lynched” Obama. Given his obsession with race and his ultra thin skin when it comes to being challenged, I’d bet it won’t take long.

AZCoyote on April 18, 2008 at 8:18 AM

And she better not mention his ears!

fossten on April 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM

Let’s see, GW was campaigning and referred to Adam Clymer as something, hmmm, what was it, I know the lefty blogs had a Gorebasm over it…

Hmmm, can’t seem to remember, but I do know it got a lot of play in the media.

benrand on April 18, 2008 at 7:02 AM

I always thought he did that on purpose and suckered the NYT in the process. It certainly didn’t hurt him. In fact I think he went up in the polls.

aengus on April 18, 2008 at 8:30 AM

The camera didn’t catch it, but right after this he said “hey everybody, ummm, have you seen how wide Hillary’s butt is?” and then spread his hands slowwwwwly apart…

benrand on April 18, 2008 at 8:31 AM

And this is the “best” the libs have? A five year old child? There are some foreign dignitaries…you flip them the bird they’ll cut “It” off…

CynicalOptimist on April 18, 2008 at 8:41 AM

It sure looks like it to me and I think it’s in character for him. He is a con man and is getting off on how far he can push his moron worshipers and I do mean worshipers. He is almost to the point where he can say and do anything short of a capital crime and he knows it. Heck, I’m not so sure that even a capital crime would but him out at this point. Just to be clear, I am not saying flipping someone off is equal to any capital crime or that he has committed any crimes. All I am saying is that he is at the point where he can do and say what he wants and he knows it. For the majority of his followers he is truly the messiah that will change the world. I do think he will be the next president because it has never been about his abilities, what he does or what he says. He is the manifestation of some deep seated need for his followers and that is all that counts. We wonder how and why people get pulled into cults and I really think we are witnessing it live and on TV on a nation wide scale. Just wait after he’s elected and you see a major push for Emperor Barack the First.

jmarcure on April 18, 2008 at 7:32 AM

***Disclaimer***
I posted this in the other thread on this subject. Is it only me that dislikes it when the same subject is in two different sections of HA?

jmarcure on April 18, 2008 at 8:55 AM

Hey I’m starting to like this guy who doesn’t want to give the Clitons the bird?

Oh right, a little voice just told me… John McCain!

dhunter on April 18, 2008 at 9:02 AM

Like Mary Matilin said on MTP last Sunday…. This guy hasn’t been vetted.

roux on April 18, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Obama has a pretty satisfied look on his face afterwards, which makes it look a little more purposeful than not.

I would never have thought about it twice, until I listening to the people howl, and saw him smirk. He absolutely flipped her. Lowlife.

Jaibones on April 18, 2008 at 9:21 AM

The Seinfeld episode where George thought everybody was giving him the finger…

saved on April 18, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Don’t worry folks, if the nutroots get their way it won’t be long before he’s giving the bird to the pope, the Brits and collectively the American people.

Brad on April 18, 2008 at 9:24 AM

I didn’t get the connection watching it myself. If he did flip her the bird…good. I’m tired of pols who don’t throw elbows, drink adult beverages and carry a penchant for a Cheneyesque “bleep you” once in a while.

AYNBLAND on April 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM

not quite as obvious as the picture of Nelson Rockefeller

DaveC on April 18, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Never mind “the bird;” listen to this tool — he sounds like a real moron!

D2Boston on April 18, 2008 at 10:04 AM

jmarcure on April 18, 2008 at 8:55 AM

**Disclaimer**

Wall of text may result in not being read by others.

fossten on April 18, 2008 at 10:17 AM

So is everyone agreeing he flipped the bird? He looks self-satisfied, but I don’t want to waste good outrage on something that does pan out.

Vizzini on April 18, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Yes, at some point his middle finger is somewhat more extended than the others, but I would venture a guess that if a camera was recording every move that any of us made I’m sure the same could be said of us innumerable times.

Focusing on this is silly and counter-productive, it seems to me. There are more than enough serious issues about this fellow that need to be aired that such a discussion on a matter like this detracts from that far more important task.

Mr. Bingley on April 18, 2008 at 10:22 AM

I didn’t get the connection watching it myself. If he did flip her the bird…good. I’m tired of pols who don’t throw elbows, drink adult beverages and carry a penchant for a Cheneyesque “bleep you” once in a while.

AYNBLAND on April 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM

He definitely did, check the crowd hooting and hollering immediately after it happened. Do we all want to tell the Clintons that they’re number 1? Of course. But then, we’re not all trying to be President. When you’re trying to be leader of the free world, it’s just childish. Also, put in the context of his passive aggressive whining about Hillary and Steffy, if completely fits. Going to get outraged? Nah, just file it away for the big picture.

bikermailman on April 18, 2008 at 10:23 AM

If Obama had grabbed his crotch and said “suck it, Hildabeast,” he would have won my vote. Hell, he would have won two of my votes – vote fraud is pretty easy in Wisconsin with no photo ID requirement.

Enrique on April 18, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Boy, with the education and eloquence of Obama, you would think he could express his rage verbally rather than using an obscene gesture. Remember that cursing is not allowed in Christian following. The Messiah turns out to be an imposter! God Save Us!

jencab on April 18, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Boy, with the education and eloquence of Obama, you would think he could express his rage verbally rather than using an obscene gesture. Remember that cursing is not allowed in Christian following. The Messiah turns out to be an imposter! God Save Us!

jencab on April 18, 2008 at 10:29 AM

It’s performance art.

mikeyboss on April 18, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Second look at Obama!

Chuck Schick on April 18, 2008 at 10:43 AM

He didn’t snap the salute with military precision but the audience recognized it anyway. His thank you smirk and giggle afterwards says it all. Qualified to be POTUS not hardly. Maybe he and his wife could both be Committee Chairpersons on some self absorbed Berkley City Council Committee. That they are both perfectly suited for.

meci on April 18, 2008 at 10:46 AM

His pause, the crowd’s reaction, his smirk and giggle says it all. It was intentional. That childishness is just further proof that he is not ready for prime time.

txsurveyor on April 18, 2008 at 10:56 AM

The pretty satisfied look on his face could just be cluelessness.

frankj on April 18, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Classless. Very base. I would expect that type of behavior from an actor, actress, or entertainer, not someone running for POTUS.

4shoes on April 18, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Color me skeptical.

Moreover, I think I’ve noticed him scratching himself like that before. A little dainty for my taste, but nothing out of the ordinary for the arugula-shopping gent that we know Mr. Obama to be.

Infidoll on April 18, 2008 at 11:13 AM

I take it back.. more obvious than Nelson Rockefeller..

his own way of ‘getting a dig’ in on Hillery right back on her..

middle schoolers are more subtle than that..

DaveC on April 18, 2008 at 11:15 AM

If Obama had grabbed his crotch and said “suck it, Hildabeast,” he would have won my vote. Hell, he would have won two of my votes – vote fraud is pretty easy in Wisconsin with no photo ID requirement.

Enrique on April 18, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Oh my gosh…that’s not nice, now I have Sprite all over my keyboard. Thanks a lot.

fossten on April 18, 2008 at 12:08 PM

He flipped her the bird, plain and simple. This reponse and his whining about the little slapping he got in the last debate shows he has the emotional maturity of a 10 year old.

UnEasyRider on April 18, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Perhaps he let his guard down, or maybe he didn’t even realize he made the gesture — but despite its subtlety, the crowd certainly recognized it. Watch the video and decide for yourself:

People are going to see what they want to see, I suppose, but the crowd was reacting to the “in her element” line, and I find it pretty doubtful that the people standing behind Obama could have a clear view of what finger he was using to scratch his face.

Besides, didn’t you guys already label this criticism as “moronic”?

ChenZhen on April 18, 2008 at 4:20 PM