July 24th, 2007
01:40 PM ET
9 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. Matt, Albany, GA

    J. Scott – would you buy a used car from someone that wouldn't look you in the eye when you asked a question?

    July 24, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Eric, Los Angeles, CA

    To "Anonymous":

    The only candidate who is pandering is Kucinich. Listen to everything he says. He desperately wants people to love him.

    Everyone up there is playing the game.

    But Clinton is playing it well, you can't deny that. She gets my vote because I believe she would do the best job as president of the United States.

    July 24, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Barbara L Chancey; Houston, TX

    I was interested in the debae fro we got to see the people asking the questions in their own way. I did feel that CNN was prejudiced toward the big three. As for body language, when Obama was in a two shot he loooked like a 2nd grader who couldn't wait to get off stage in the school play. Many of the answers were the same generic pablum taht we have gotten from the previous debates. Gravel is allowed to be grumpy, they didn't give equal time. Anderson Cooper did a great job.

    July 24, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Abe, Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Some body language expert, out here in country we interpret those points completely differently. Hillary looked fake as she was trying to be prim and proper, Obama looked like a know it all and by the way we put our hands in our pockets when we are comfortable. Get out of Washington once in a while, come out here where real people are and learn something.

    July 24, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Rebecca Aguilar

    I agree with Brian P., who sees a possibility in Clinton/Obama for 2008.

    These two would certainly make a STRONG Democratic ticket!

    July 24, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. A Deaf Pundit

    I am not happy with CNN.com. I could not watch the debates, thanks to your refusal to caption it.

    You guys did not provide captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing viewers. Saying it is beyond your technological capabilities is bogus. I think it's time for some of us to start filing lawsuits to force CNN.com to do the right thing when it comes to captioning.

    July 24, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Nani, Kailua, HI

    Maybe a Hillary Clinton & Bill Richardson ticket???

    I like Obama, but I just don't think he's got the experience behind him to take on a job like this. He needs a couple more terms as a Senator and then he'll be ready for the top job.

    July 24, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Jack, Minneapolis, MN

    Well, if the American public isn't informed on bonified political issues, at least they have the skinny on body language.

    I will take issue with Dimitrius on her comment that hands in pockets denotes nervousness. It also denotes casualness...and as with any language, it takes more than one cue or utterance to get the complete message.

    July 24, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. N. Crawford Paris, TX

    I am pondering perhaps if George Washington pondered if body gestures were a requirement for political endeavors of this sort. I dare say not. Basically, I am just wondering if our country wouldn't be in better shape had we left off the political party concept. For the next president, he or maybe she is going to have to lead with more than hand gestures and poise in mind.

    July 24, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Patricia, Visalia, CA

    Anderson: You did a great job facilitating the Democratic debate.

    One thing that CNN is doing that really bothers me. Could we do without the "body language expert", a "graph showing how people react" as the candidates talked, and anything else along that line? To me, this distracts from what is really important – the candidate and their responses to the questions. They should not have to be under additional pressure to watch body language, etc.

    Thanks for this opportunity to email you.

    July 24, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Linda, Paducah, KY

    Body Lanquage Expert? That's what FOX NOISE channel's Bill O'REILLY uses as a silly cheap gimmick. What's next, CNN, having a PSYCHIC expert discuss how the Candidates did?

    I agree with comment about Hillary being a STEPFORD candidate. At the Democratic Natl. Convention I saw her sitting with Chelsea, SIPPING CHAMPAGNE like she was some Victorian la dee da Aristocrat, or the Queen. "Establishment" & representing New Richistan, just like BUSH.

    Obama & Edwards were pretty good. Gravel was speaking some truth. If Dennis Kucinich wasn't physically SHORT & kindof like the "MAD Magazine What Me Worry? character, he might have a real chance of getting elected.

    Oh, wait! BUSH looks kindof like the "What Me Worry" MAD Mag. guy, & HE got elected President. Go Figure!

    Check out "MAD WAR ON BUSH" book by MAD Magazine, it's HILARIOUS by the way.

    July 24, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Elena, Ca

    Hillary is the most confident because she can face anything. She's shown it in the past and her body language reflects her strength. To me, Obama seems so calculated – almost like an actor...

    July 24, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. Ryan Provo, UT

    Clinton was certainly composed and she knows how the presidency is run but that's part of the problem. Obama is less experienced but he seems to be the only one offering real change. Hillary would certainly be different than our current president, but fundamentally she would run things as they've always been run.

    Furthermore, Hillary just kept shunting blame for everything over to the republicans and the president. Obama was the only one who emphasized uniting the country and crossing party lines. Obama's a uniter and Hillary's a divider. We do not need more division in our country right now. That's for sure.

    July 24, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Jarrod- Santa Rosa, CA

    Has anyone noticed that the people that think body language matters are predominately from Texas? Just thought it was strange...

    I'll meet you half way though, when candidates are close in views and ideals- it's hard to tell them apart- so I guess people will resort to look for body language.

    July 24, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Jim H Danbury CT

    Body language rules. Fortunately we don't have any real problems here in america to worry about.

    Before CNN starts going down the road critiqueing their looks, maybe you can explain how it looked to those of us who wanted a real discussion of the issues, with equal time for ALL of the candidates to respond. Stop trying to pick our next president for us.

    July 24, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. Paul, the Embarrassed Republican, Central PA

    The reason why this is important is that we want a president who is poised and confident in stressful situations. It doesn't just matter what people say – although that does of course matter a great deal – it also matters how they say it. You know how embarrassing it is to see our President in a conference.

    July 24, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. John, New Port Richey, FL

    I feel that Hilary Clinton did the best job over all of the other candidates. She has was it takes to get the job done compared to all of the other candidates.Go Hilary '08

    July 24, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  18. Hank San Diego, Ca.

    CNN claims clinton as our next president cause she is the best CON-fi-dent. The debate was a joke, stupid questions that were made available to most all of the candy-dates. Not one real answer or question on what they are going to do so different other then play the blame game, thus this is why today the dems are talking body-style points! God please save our country!

    July 24, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  19. Carey, Charlotte, NC

    I was very impressed with most of the candidates, especially Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Biden. They all came off as extremely intelligent, prepared, and confident. Any one of them would make an excellent president. As a Democrat, I'm proud of the field of candidates we have, especially in comparison to the fanatical, fear-mongering guys the Republicans are offering. I already supported Hillary Clinton, but after this debate and the research I've done, she definitely has my vote.

    July 24, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  20. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    I had hoped to get some real news here, instead there is always glamour shots of Hillary and poor photo ops for anyone that CNN doesn't endorse (undeclared of course). No one has better "body language" than Romney. Found more in depth, objective coverage elsewhere. Don't look for it here folks.

    July 25, 2007 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  21. James17930

    Give me a break.

    I hate stuff like this - the media fixates on some innane, ultimately unimportant aspect of these debates and suddenly no one is paying attention to what was actually said becuase, well, so-and-so wasn't gripping the side of the podium.

    You Americans use all the wrong criteria to judge the veracity of your politicians.

    July 25, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Rebecca Aguilar

    Has anyone considered the fact that front runners might have the resources to pay for image coaching? From what they say, to what they wear. Wouldn't this include some coaching on body posture, facial expressions, and hand gestures?

    July 25, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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