July 24th, 2007
01:40 PM ET
3 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. Funny

    Seems a bit trivial but unbelievably funny- at the hour and thirty four minute mark of last nights debate Bill Richardson farted so loud his microphone picked it up. If you listen for it you can not miss it.

    July 24, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. Patrick, Hampton, Virginia

    While watching the debates, I imagined each of them facing 9/11 as president. The only one I would want in that position is Joe Biden. He comes across as tough, disciplined, informed, and experienced.

    July 24, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  3. rob stl, mo

    Why did this article just getted moved to the front of the pack at 8:54 EST? I really enjoyed the debate, but CNN sure packed the house afterwards with Clinton supporters, IMO. I just wish commentators could learn how to talk objectively rather than about who they like.

    July 24, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. Kimberly Ann Arbor, MI

    Body language makes up more than 90% of what a human being understands. One can learn a lot from watching some one's body language, including how they act under pressure, whether they believe what they are saying, whether they are lying, and if they are confident to finish the task at hand. While you need to hear what the candidates are saying you also need to see what the candidates are saying. Does anyone remember the saying your mom use to tell you? Actions speak louder than words. Thank you CNN for always being on the edge, trying something new, keeping your pulse on what the American people need (not necessarily want) to hear.

    July 24, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Even as a conservative on most issues, I think the world of Richardson, BUT his response to health care for ILLEGALS dooms him.

    He would be better suited to be someones VP as he does have vast experience and would be great as a lead ambassador for this country.

    Health care for illegals though is a killer, so they put nothing in and take much out, yeah, anyone been to the ER lately?

    July 24, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. BLECH

    Hilary looks like the typical female attorney trying to get into the good ole boys network. Ask any legal secretary if they want to work for a female attorney. They treat their secretaries like second class citizens and low lifes. She is soooo typical of one of those. Pompous, arrogant, man wanna be. She looks MEAN! I mean, wouldn't you, after years of being cheated on by your husband?

    July 24, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. Jacqueline, Defiance, Ohio

    Honestly, I wasnt paying attention to what any of their hand gestures or body language was. I was more focused on what was actually coming out of their mouths. I have a tendancy to vote republican mostly because they tend to support the same issues & values that I do. But I also vote for the person, that I feel is best suited for the job. So I was really trying to learn about these presidential hopefuls. And I dont think its ever to early to start these debates, the more information we have the better!

    July 24, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Johnny B

    body language? What fool would judge the next president of the United States by their body language...I find these comments to be ridiculous and utterly pointless...

    July 24, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. dd, greenbelt, md

    I wish Dimitrius had watched Clinton's face. She had this cool confident look much of the time which made her appear smug and aloof. As much as I like Clinton as a candidate, her impersonal manner can sometimes be too abrasive.

    July 24, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Josh, Missouri

    I agree completely with Kevin. I am a strong Democrat, and I think that Hillary would make a great Senate Majority leader. But she is not the best canditate in this field for President. America needs someone who can take this country past its partisan bickering and make some positive progress. Barack Obama is clearly the most capable of doing this. He has a great record with Republicans in the Illinois Senate. He would make a great president. And he should bring Joe Biden with him as Vice President.

    July 24, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    I watched Debate last night, Hillary did the best job, because she knows the right answer and have been Leader's position whole her life. She performed like the next President. Obama and Edwards was OK, but both missed the point of questions and stammed every single answer. Obama talked too much as the most inexperienced Senator ZERO with foreign diplomatic experience. New born puppy doesn't fear tiger?

    July 24, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Josh, Missouri

    And one more thing? Since when did America become all about winning for our respective party? Aren't we all Americans first and Democrats/Republicans like...fiftieth? Personally, I'm sick and tired of this country going down the drain because we can't compromise anymore. I wish our representatives in Washington would get past their insignificant differences and do the job we HIRED them to do.

    July 24, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Ernie, North Truro, MA

    The more people get to know Obama the more they like him. He is the real thing. Hillary is slick and scripted and also an opportunist. In order to appear strong, she favored the war as much as Bush did until it bcame clear public opinion had shifted.

    July 24, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Katelyn, Prospect, Connecticut

    Hillary seemed as if she had been trained to conduct herself as she did. I guess that is what all those years in government do... make you superficially poised and unable to answer straightforward to any question that was asked.

    July 24, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Loyda, San Juan, PR

    sorry, I do not agree.... for what I saw:

    Hillary is an ice pack: rehearsed and controlled...

    Obama have this annoying "condecending-tone" that would drive me insane if I have to take a class with him...ggrrr

    Kucinich is the worst kind of idiot in that stage!!!

    Richardson needs somebody to re-connect him with reality.... is a lot of bravado and no much brain-process...

    Edwards have to make up his mind... quickly... if it was left ot me, I'll vote for his wife instead...

    Mr. Gravel needs to make more noise, I did not even knew him, period....

    Biden make a few good points... demeanor was ok...

    Dodd and Gravel got basically ignored... Kucinich SHOULD have been ignored...Hillary and Obama got WAY TOO MUCH tv-time....

    liked the format.... hopefully the Republicans will be equally graceful...

    July 24, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Loma Linda, Ca.

    However, as I watched not all of the debate, one can only but wonder if America is none other politically, than true Socialism if not dictatorhip? This conclusion from a one who lived his younger life under Socialism/Dictatorship before migrating to America as a legal immigrant of 51 years and now a Staunch Conservative Christian Republican. It is mindboggling as to all that a President is now anymore and all that a president is now expected to do and most certainly, is already the case, especially having studied much about the hopes and dreams, that of the Founding Fathers. If these men would rise, they would simply be confused hearing all the hoopla plus the billions spent, actually wasted evermore in elections, etc. Those men now seing these monster Federal Government it has made itself into and with so much corruption, where it can only operate by borrowing more and more from anybody willing to lend a hand to America, as the National Debt becomes more and more a millstone around the neck of America's children. Yes, Communist China, the Christian persecuting nation being one of the great bankers for America, of dollars Americans send there every day as the personal storages is now one of the fast growing business all over America. Do I miss something? While another nation has now settled in as its language is now equal to English, while Americas guns shoot parts of the world to pieces, creating more and more its own problems!

    July 24, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Peter Roberts, OKC, OK

    I work for the state gov. the way Hillary talks and behaves is is typical suck up language: "first of thank you for this and that". Edwards seemed brushed all around too. Joe Biden is my guy, solid performance, looks and talks like a president of the world's superpower.

    July 24, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Marianne, Washington, DC

    Richardson did a pretty crummy job.

    July 24, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Steve Schultz, Crestwood, KY

    Does any evidence show that a "body language expert" is "expert" at anything more reliable than palmistry or phrenology? Your "expert" doesn't disclose her possible biases, but the responders seem mostly to have "seen" in the candidates' "body language" what they expected to see before the show started.

    July 24, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Jestin, Dallas, TX

    I disagree with Hillary having the best body language on here, as body language isn't just from the neck down. Watch Hillary's face not just when she's speaking, but when others are speaking. In particular, watch her face right after she gave the answer about whether John Edwards is a better candidate for womens rights than she is. She did very well on her answer, but notice that right after that, she had this self-satisfied look on her face and any warmth she generated in the moment when she was speaking was gone when she stopped. I'm an actor, and based on watching her, I'd say that when she stops speaking and the warmth is gone,that's the real her. You can train anybody to say something, but what they're doing when the spotlight isn't on them reveals their true nature.

    July 24, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. M. Hemmat, New York, NY

    The Bottom Line is that Hillary Clinton was fantastic and is the prime candidate for President. This country had an amazing 8 years during the Clinton administration and we need that again. Hillary will be able to put us back on top. The US economy is in a slump because of Bush and the Republican party. Our Dollar is the weakest it had been in 3 decades and during Clinton's 8 years we were on Top as a nation in everyway.

    July 24, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. K. Mullin, Houston, Texas

    Interesting comments. I'm a big fan of body language. It does reveal a lot of what a person is made of. I thought, for the most part, Senator Edwards was very poised and comfortable. He appeared natural and ready for anything. I liked that.

    As far as electing another democrat with a bag full of promises, but no followup, the jury is still out for me. I'm waiting to see what we have on the other table before making any concrete decision. There's still so much time to assess the candidates and I'm definitely keeping my eyes and ears open for the timebeing.

    I do like Elizabeth Edwards, however. Any chance she will run?

    July 24, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Dan New York

    Politicians today seem to be the same group. Regardless of what questions you ask they all say the same things. Right know i think the front runners for both republicans and democrats are Rudy Giuliani and Barak Obama.

    And yes i keep hearing all this support for Hillary but when i see pictures of her, even the pic attached to this article her eyes seem to be cold, calculating as if a hunter or a killer. i know this is one sided but the eyes are the windows to the soul and if you can't keep eye contact then i don't have respect for you. furthermore rolling your eyes when a republican speaks or someone you don't agree with just shows the lack of human respect she has.

    July 24, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. luigui, Miami Florida

    I am in...She convince me last night. She is very impressive and is what our country needs. Hillary is my candidate. She has control, knows what she is taking about and handles herself with dignity. She looks presidential and I am ready for her to take charge tomorrow.

    Obama is gifted and he will have a great future once he does his homework and grows up he will be in line. He is got a lot to learn. Wanting to sit down with Fidel and Chavez did not set in right down in South Florida….He is inexperienced in foreign policy.

    Mr. Edwards looks fake, nervous and really dropped the ball a couple of times… Richardson is a great candidate as well and very knowledgeable. The rest of the pack came across as 12 angry men and a nut case.

    July 24, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. Dan Quaschnick, Palatine, Illinois

    Will you PLEASE put a ticker on the website that tracks our nation’s debt and where our government is spending our tax dollars. Raising awareness for how our government spends our money and misuses the check book is core to everything. Money makes the world go round. ps. I really like your ‘Keeping them honest approach’.

    Also, I was pleasantly surprised about the new format utilizing average citizens. It created a small town forum environment and significantly increased candor with the candidates.

    Fortunately, more focus was placed on moving the country forward (replacing fossil fuels, paying down our children’s children’s debt, funding science, low graduation rates, rising extremism, should the US be the world police?, diplomacy…). Only so much time, but we need to understand these issues to move forward.

    July 24, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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