Patti Wood on CNN Tonight - Body Language of Republican Presidential Candidate Debate

Romney tries a tight smile laugh as Perry talks about illegal aliens working for Romney. Romney breaks debate ritual and actually steps away from his podium and faces toward Perry to confront him and strikes out his arm to symbolically whack him aside as Romney stridently repeats,“Will you please just wait." He does a ‘tongue thrust’ briefly sticking out in attack at Perry’s statements. Then he backs away putting his hand in heart guard then he leans on his podium a protective log cabin clasp and smiles when he sees Perry getting more riled and seeming to lose control.
We see Perry stay protected he only has his head faces turned and jut out towards Romney.
Even as Perry says, “…and you hired illegals in your home he protects his side near Romney and does a strike down gesture with his left hand. It’s clear Perry's statements are planned, so the gestures don’t strike on the beat. He didn’t think he would be interrupted or have to repeat. He thought it would be a zinger.
As Romney counter attacks, Perry does a window shade squinting eye close surprised by Romney’s move toward him.
When Romney can no longer use humor he gets riled up himself. Again he faces toward Perry in a one on one argument. “If you become President you have to let other people speak.”
Later we see Perry with a tight mouthed growl face.

Rick Santam does head jabs toward Romney as he talks about Romney’s contributions to Obama care, put is paralanguage is halting, “You are, (pause stress stare) You are, pause, Your plan..” having trouble getting his words out he does not sound confident.

Overall Perry seemed stiff and over rehearsed in his nonverbal cues and Romney seemed emotional but the smile helped him.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at