July 24th, 2007
01:40 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton wins body language battle, one expert says

(CNN) - Sure, what the candidates say is important, but body language can also make an important impression on voters.

A body language expert, Jo Ellan Dimitrius, studied all of the candidates throughout the two-hour debate and decided that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, won the battle of the body language. Sen. Clinton stood confidently behind the podium and kept her hands on top of the lectern, rather than nervously grabbing onto the sides, Dimitrius observed.

According to Dimitrius, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, also had a strong performance by using confident hand gestures and keeping consistent eye contact with the audience.

During the questions about gay marriage, former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, had a nervous look, and he put his hands in his pockets, which is also a classic sign of nervousness, Dimitrius said.

- CNN Producer Ted Metzger

Filed under: CNN/YouTube Debate
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Frank, New Milford, Connecticut

    Obama won. Hillary might be displaying confidence and strong character with her body language, but those are also the characteristics of dictatorial-like figures. Obama on the other hand is more like a preacher figure who wants to spread his words and there is a sort of opennes, unlike Hillary who makes me feel like "what I say is right, and you are wrong" – which is pretty much the slash and burn politics we all want to avoid.

    July 24, 2007 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  2. Gary, Boston MA

    Apparently there are more people looking at 'body language' and 'appearance'. Among those parked on their couch brainwashed by incessant advertising, drooling at shows catered to those with the attention span of a goldfish. Have they forgotten what really matters? No. They are distracted by empty words. Flashy slogans and sound bytes. They are caught among meaningless wedge issues meant to divide, rather than concrete goals which may achieve a meaningful and productive end. No wonder everything is in such a mess.

    July 24, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  3. Jeff North Haven CT

    People and pundits will try to parse micro-differences in the body language and answers of the candidates, but frankly, most of them came off as comfortable and confident. I could not watch previous debates because they seemed so scripted. Tonight I was more entertained, because the candidates were not so stiff and the questions were about relevant issues. I wonder whether the Republicans will try a similar format. Maybe all the Repub questioners will be like that guy with his gun "baby"

    July 24, 2007 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  4. AnonymousII, Greenville, SC

    They all lost my confidence vote.

    July 24, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  5. Mark Lodes, St. Louis, MO

    In the body language competition, Obama, Edwards, and Biden won. Obama used his attentive upright posture, finger to thumb hand pointing gesturing that this is what we are focused on. Edwards was one of the only candidates looking directly at the huge video screen when the YouTuber's video questions were being posed, and Biden used eye contact, direct eye contact when speaking on strong convictions. Wows all the way around!

    July 24, 2007 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  6. geeta, chicago, il

    and do you have anything to say about the OTHER candidates, CNN? disparity, indeed! even if your most irrelevant stories.

    July 24, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  7. Kevin, Cincinnati, OH

    In terms of body language, it seems to me that not only is it completely obvious that Hilary is searching for memorized and canned material during responses but she has a smug smile while doing so...not to mention the fact that she avoids answering the questions asked.

    As an impartial 20-something moderate republican, I have this question for democrats: you are so disenfranchised by the Bush white house that you are looking for a drastic change, but is that change to return to the way things were with Bill in office? The world has completely changed over the last 7 years and Hilary is clearly no Bill. I am troubled to hear so many say how much they loved Bill and therefore will vote for Hilary.

    By electing Hilary, would we not just be swinging to another polarizing politician rather than uniting the country? As a moderate who is completely unimpressed with the Republican candidates, I can guarantee that myself and many other moderates would still vote against Hilary rather than a uniter such as several of the other Democratic candidates. Any thoughts?

    July 24, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  8. Michael - Stamford, CT

    Hillary Clinton was the clear winner, she came off the stongest and had the best answers to the questions. I do think the question about Hillary being feminine enough was a stupid question to ask. Should Hillary be weak and delicate? Of course not, she is running for President of the United States! This is the 21rst century. What matters to me is not the fact that a man or a woman is running for President but who will do the best job as President and so far I think that person is Hillary Clinton. Hillary shows strong leadership which is why I and so many others support her. As far as the same sex marriage issue goes I say get off of that topic, there are far more important issues that we need to deal with such as national health care, record high energy prices, put a lock box on the Social Security funds to protect it from going bankrupt, ending the Iraq war and a great deal more. Anyway, I think Hillary is on the right track and seems to have the best plans on the major issues. Hillary gets my vote.

    July 24, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  9. Chickie, LeClaire, Iowa

    I think they all looked very presidental and very at ease with the questions. They are all so intelligent and Edwards and Biden seem to have plans to get us out of our messopotania both were so passionate and so well versed. I think Sen. Clinton is so intelligent and speaks so well and so clearly on the issues.
    Obama, Dodd and Richardson all to are so educated on the issues and just seem so smart. Almost all candidates
    I watched to night could be president.
    To me most all of their body language was presidential.

    July 24, 2007 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  10. jae, phx. az

    CNN's format for debate is close to making a mockery of the seriousness of the topics–video's are poor quality -some questions waste time–stop try to be entertaining and choose to be of service to the American public/your viewers. Cooper is disappointing tonight.

    July 24, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  11. TED in SEATTLE, WA

    Learn how to spell the word consistent.

    🙂 Ted

    July 24, 2007 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  12. RightyTighty

    Prim and proper yet strong and steadfast, as a woman should be...

    July 24, 2007 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  13. Alan Tufft, Stockton, California

    I agree that this CNN debate was scripted and that Hillary was a composed as a school marm conducting class. Money generates confidence and Obama, Clinton, and Edwards all showed that sort of confidence. The top 2 were also like con artists though by having little substance in their answers. In this regard Richardson and Biden seemed to have done their homework. In the end, all these candidates show more confidence than Bush who has built his up defending lousey policies. I'd take any of these candidates over Bush for sure, and over any of the Republican hopefuls too.

    July 24, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  14. Cape Girardeau, MO

    I think most of the candidates are a big JOKE, they say they would work for min. wage salary. What about all the perks they rec. on the side and under the table.
    Anyone who takes money from OUR Social Security fund is nothing more than a common thief, you don't rob Peter to pay Paul.....They need to learn to operate on a budget.

    July 24, 2007 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  15. Jim, Chaffee, MO

    I think Clinton is a good actor, nothing else

    July 24, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  16. Chris McLeod San Bernardino, CA.

    Senator Clinton definitely looked the most Presidential. She IS Presidential, and she's the best candidate for the job.

    July 24, 2007 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  17. Theo, New York, NY

    Jeffrey Toobin's commentary and analysis belongs in a tool bin. His obvious bias and partiality came through when he said "Barack Obama seemed inexperience and Naive" while consciously edifying Hillary Clinton. This outright attempt to create a false impression does not live up to the reputation of CNN and he shouldn't be allowed to give commentary on anything. Barack Obama did a really good job considering this wasn't even a debate... it was a Q & A forum. Jeffrey Toobin should go home and shut up.

    July 24, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. Chris McLeod San Bernardino, CA.

    I'd also like to respond to Kevin in Cincinatti. Kevin, yes I feel President Bill Clinton did a great job. But I judge Hillary based on HER as a candidate. I'm not voting for her because I want Bill back. I'm not voting for her because I want ANYTHING but Bush.

    President Bush is a terrible President. Hillary is going to be nothing like President Bush. Electing her as President IS a big change.

    July 24, 2007 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  19. e. little, California

    J. Scott's comment on this blog moved me more then most of the CNN debate. As for body language, I enjoyed Mike Gravel's anger. American's should be angry about what's happening in their country. FOLLOW THE MONEY!! Was anyone else insulted by CNN posting comments from political analyst on the online SURVEY!! If CNN wasn't trying to influence the survey, why else would CNN employ this tactic.

    July 24, 2007 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  20. Monique, Austin, TX


    Body language should be a footnote worry for candidates when they prepare for speeches and debates. It should not be brought up in a CNN analysis.

    Paris Hilton's weekend is more interesting that this report.

    July 24, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  21. Roger, Seattle WA

    Like Kevin, I would also call myself a moderate Republican, but I have to say the late 90s were pretty great and Bill's policies were unifying, even if he was not, though I share Kevin's concern about Hilary. Unlike Kevin, though, I think this administration has been shameful, damaging America's reputation around the world and further eroding confidence at home. If you can get over her scripted 'go-getter' persona, her policies are among the most centrist out there. None-the-less, I would rather see Obama and I would much rather see Boomberg.

    July 24, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  22. S. Kluth, Eugene, Oregon

    Biden called the withdrawal situation in Iraq as it is, not as the others would like it to be; Kucinich made his views clear whether one likes them or not; Gravel best represented how most of us feel – p*ssed off at the whole Washington political apparatus; Clinton, Obama, Edwards – the usual blah – blah – look good on camera and say what they think people want to hear with vague generalisms about they will make everything better – vote for me, humma humma.

    July 24, 2007 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  23. Paul Davis, Tijeras, NM


    body language, color of Hilaries' outfit, Gravel's anger

    forget their stance on this issues, their record, their vision for our future - CNN really knows what is "important"

    July 24, 2007 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  24. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Please...if you want to talk about body language, look at Bush's. He stumbles, stutters, and blinks like a mental patient.

    Anyhow, wtf cnn? Is this REALLY worthy of coverage? It never ceases to amaze me that the MSM can completely overlook the law breaking of this administration and instead devote entire segments to what Senator Clinton was wearing, or John Edward's hair. Is the press intentionally trying to dumb down American political discourse?

    July 24, 2007 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  25. Frieda, Los Angeles, ca

    The more I see Obama on stage, the more I think, that his time is not come yet. His answers are so shallow, his depth of knowledge does not show at all.

    Oh! and Hillary, she is just too polished and there is nothing real about her. I want to see a woman president in America. But can't we find someone as smart as Thatcher, Merkel of Germany, or even that lady in Israel (what's her name, she is the head of the parliament there)..Just give me someone real and smart. Obama is real but not that smart, maybe in 10 years from now he will be ready.

    July 24, 2007 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
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