Biden Won the Vice Presidential Debates with Ryan by Using Bully Body Language

Biden won the Vice Presidential Debates with Ryan by Using Bully Body Language. Body Language Expert's insights on the debates:
Vice President Biden won the debate with Ryan by using bully body language.  Biden’s strong, low baritone voice made him appear authoritative. His large and often downward sweeping gestures as well as his use of fist and holding a weapon like pen in his hand made him look like he was beating Congressman Ryan down. In addition his looks of derision, disrespect sneering, smiling and shaking his head and rolling his eyes up , and later in the debate open hostility as he responded  to Ryan’s  answers,  as  well as Biden’s  lack of eye contact with Ryan made him look like he was stronger and energetic. If you look at my blog on what I was looking for I was interested to see how Biden would deal with the age difference. Energy and fierceness were his techniques. Democrats were eager for Biden to show the spark of energy and passion the president lacked, he did so.

Though many times he was rude, disrespectful and interrupted.  The way he looked at Ryan with disbelief of his foolishness.  Romney won the last debate being stronger, louder and longer,  interrupting and more passionate.  Biden is winning so far using Romney’s technique.

Ryan’s answers were steady and fact filled.  His pulled back body language may appeal to the conservative right. I did like Ryan’s verbal response later in the debate to all the interruptions “I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don’t interrupt each other,” But, nonverbally Ryan should have said this earlier (timing is nonverbal communicator)  and perhaps if he had said it earlier and a bit more playfully it could have worked. But Biden was roaring by then so Ryan ended up sounding and looking like he was the nerd that was getting beat up by the bully standing with a bloody nose and trying to appeal to the bully's logic.  We did feel sorry for Ryan we saw him as by far the nicer person, but he was rolled over by Biden. 

Here are my rough notes from the beginning 

Ryan walked toward Biden and did the politician handshake.

Ryan took a sip of water  to start.

Biden on first question flat suppressed he was smiling before the question.

Biden had a strong opening and said, "We will find whoever did this.. "while pointing holding pen.

 President my highest priority is to get Bin Laden.

Terrorist points again.
Steady hand and clear visions.
Ryan’s voice (paralanguage) is higher, squeaky and less “presidential”  so when he said, “we mourn the loss of …” sounded less powerful.
As he said, ‘We owe a great debt of gratitude to our veterans” Ryan had great vocal emphasis on the word great.  His paralanguage and facial expression were in synch the statement was warm wonderful and powerful.

Ryan’s downward pinch gesture not strong enough when talking about deaths at embassy.
Biden’s Response,  “That’s a bunch of Malarkey.” Great vocal power, deep baritone. Sounds like the ALPHA.   He gestures again with the pointed finger and pen. I think this was a coached gesture to make him look more forceful and unapologetic.  Biden had strong, downward sweeping gestures. As he rebutted on security. Very strong.
Ryan’s response to question about soldiers burning and urinating -  He hesitated vocally and did not answer strongly and forcefully. His body didn’t go forward nor did he gesture strongly enough. I think the word urinate affected his ability to repeat the question. (a technique to respond in debates to give him time.)

Ryan, now he is stronger on watered down sanctions.

Biden is interesting he his look of incredulous Think this technique of looking and speaking in response to Ryan’s answer is

Great hands together as he talks about the inability to create nuclear weapon.

Biden gave strong downward striking gesture, What the Iatola sees. We will not allow the

They don’t have a weapon to put it in. Great gestures so certain and sharp.

Ryan is looking at Biden with interest he is taking notes ( or faking notes)

Ohhh cool gesture of Biden

He is leaning forward Biden is moving. He is more forward and certain in his response to question about Jobs.

Ryan does not respond well to Bidens interruption of his comment about jobs. Ryan pulls his  head back, mouth goes puckered and nose wrinkles and sniffs.  His pinched point down gesture again is not powerful enough.
Biden is very strong, He sounds credible because his gestures and movement and expressions are feel show say.  The expansive gestures and movement. and loudness of his voice, movement and face make him look and sound more passionate than Ryan. Actually passionate rather than Ryan's clipped speech and quick little movements are more left brain and logical. Biden  sounds and looks like someone who will get things done. How many of his gestures  strike downward after each of Ryan’s responses.  Remember debates are a battle and Biden's symbolic fighting gestures are working. They make  us feel he is successfully beating Ryan down.

Ryan is doing the same pointed gesture. It fits him but it is not strong enough to us visually.

Biden as he says, “Any senior out there"   Biden looks directly at the camera and reaches out and gestures to them. (places the grey hair to dark hair in debaters)

Also plays to camera using his favorite phrase, “Folks listen.”

“Mr. Vice President, Mr. Vice President",  Ryan looked directly at Biden, his eyebrows furrowed in anger, he gestured in attack, but his voice was not strong enough.  Ryan’s gesture and forward movement was not strong enough.  He actually honored and respected Biden, just a bit too much. How interesting. 
Again. Biden looks with disrespect giving a tongue thrust (quick sticking out of tongue) at Ryan.

Tax cuts –
Ryan is now doing well in his response.  He is really comfortable with this topic. His controlled gestures here work.  He uses different gestures and they are larger and come down and up farther and more confidently and his body lifts up in confidence. ( We move up when we feel positive and or strongly about something.) He is sweeping out his hand a bit, using his pen like Biden did.  His voice is calm. His nonverbal sounds reasonable.

When Ryan tries to take on Biden directly talking Kennedy here he does not win.  

By the way the moderator is doing a really great job here. Love how strong she looks. She leans in and raises her voice.

 Ryan  does a good job here initially as he answers the question. But look at his hands when Biden responds and disagrees with him. Ryan pulls inward and gets smaller. Look as he goes still he holds his hands in a formal hands resting pointed towards each other on the table. That is a centering formal hand position. Again probably coached, but I would have coached him to spread his hands slightly so he looks centered but stronger.  Not looking “smaller” compared to Biden.  Ryan is again being respectful. He has to walk a fine line. This makes his job harder.

Ohh finally Ryan is looking at Biden as he talks but now his expression has changed. He frowns and brings his head down slightly in a freeze frame of head shake now.


Biden does his first raised arms up and folds his hands together. This move shows he feels the need to pull back on his internal desire to attack. But interesting as he raises his arms and folds he strikes momentarily at Martha the moderator.

Fighting Season, Warm months.

One of the big if not the biggest moment in the debate, the Big moment, that will be in the headlines tomorrow when anyone discusses the vice presidential debate. Big battle about Afghan troops replacing our troops. Most real anger if you look at micro facial cues (I see when I look at video you see Biden snarl and bar his teeth as seen in any political debate.) 

I am noticing that I am disconnected. I want to stop paying attention when Ryan gives his long answers without enough vocal variation and not enough movement. 

Faith, Abortion. Ryan delivers the Bean (his first baby) story very well. He gets to smile he gets to look warm and emotional as he talks about his daughter.

Biden, “My religion defines who I am.” First time he gets choked up for the first time. We hear the stress in his voice. His voice goes into a stage whisper.

Ryan abortion.   Catholic church. When Biden interrupts him Ryan thrust out his tongue, straight out and full.  His head moves after. He is ruffled. Ryan does not hold his ground nonverbally.

Biden, “ We only have one true sacred obligation…”

Biden’s only really big smile(in derision) that I have noticed thus far in the debate is as he discusses the “scurrilous..” big money doing scurrilous things in the campaign.  Interesting.

Ryan at 10:00 is giving a really strong close. He is finally making intense focused eye contact with the Moderator. I would like him to give to the camera.

Biden’s near close showing voice strain and face and body shows exhaustion gestures getting smaller. Body gets smaller and more still.

Ryan’s response to question to How you would as a human being is

We believe you grow the country with the middle class he does a fantastic illustrator gesture as he says. “Middle out top down.”

That’s what this is about great

Ryan,  as he closes. Does great as he begins, looking at the camera as he says, “We face a really big choice. “ But watch his mouth he is not sure of himself his mouth He gives this odd forced tight smile as he ends a sentence. Most obviously on his last line. Looked weak and insincere. If you were just listening not watching his body language it would have seemed strong.

I would love to give you insight on the wives but was busy looking at Biden and Ryan.
Interesting,  Biden wanted to end the family time and say goodbye to Ryan. Biden shoulders are down his movements are slower he looks tired and we can look and compare that with the activity and energy around Ryan.  Ryan is leaning over to warmly engage family. Ryan is finally getting to smile in a more sincere way. The smile is longer and goes “up to his eyes.” Ryan, like Romney at the end of the Presidential debate has more energy and love around him. He has so many family members around saying goodbye to him. Biden goes to say goodbye, but Ryan’s back is to him.

Another big video slice that will be discussed in the news. 
One small thing. Ryan’s little boy not going up out of the chair when Ryan pulls him.  Ryan’s son not quickly looking at his father as he approached. Instead staying hunkered down in the chair and smiling to the cameras, makes Ryan look less powerful than his little boy.  I am appalled at this behavior in his son. I think viewers might ask what is this? How can a child  being so attention seeking and disrespectful.  Obama’s daughter did this at the Democratic convention, now this. If a president and a vice presidential candidate can’t get respect and attention from their children what hope do we have in their abllity to lead us or hold or gain our respect. 
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at