Patti's Insights on the 2nd Presidential Debate - October 16, 2012

Shake with a one, two and three.

Obama and Romney circled and spared one another in last night’s Town Hall Meeting battle of the body language.


Romney jumped up out of his chair and ran to the front to answer the first question leaving President Obama sitting in his chair behind Romney making Obama look less powerful and ready to take action for the country.


Body language and Paralanguage (the nuances of the voice) affect the voter’s perception of first impression factors such as Credibility, Likeability, Attractiveness and Power. This opening made Romney win on Power.


Romney obviously was coached to smile as much as possible.  Romney has been practicing his smile.

Romney also did a good job of answering the first questions.


Did you see how Romney jumped out of that chair to answer the first question?

Interesting gestures being cut off on CNN.

Long answer - Romney is starting with a loud whisper.

2014 lots of smiling

 Obama is using his big booming voice.  It does not work when he is answering the first question.  He is not personal enough.

The resting face on Romney is a big smile. Very interesting change. He really has been working on it. He has been coached to smile whenever he can to counter that angry demeanor he had last time.

Romney faces toward Obama to engage about Detroit bankruptcy.

Obama’s energy is good but didn’t like that he turned around and walked away after his Detroit answer. He can‘t turn his body language on and off.  He has to stay engaged.  Body language of a battle. 

Watching Obama bring up his gestures. He is doing some great grabbing motions. It looks good. High and above the heart looks positive and winning.

Governor Romney is doing pushing down and away motion when he talks about Obama’s policies.

Romney knows how to do battle body language.

Romney is doing the counting with his fingers gesture as he talks about what he will do that I suggested today in my interview with the AP news wire.  That was what he needed to do to look like he had steps in mind.

Obama does a great, but too brief engagement in battle with Romney as he talks about Romney closing coal plant.

Think Obama does a great job with government owned lands for oil and gas. But then it goes to battle and Obama losses. Obama starts to interrupt and then backs down. Visually Romney is nice striking out with his hand and arm.

“What I want to do is create an economy that is strong” and Obama uses his strong, loud voice.

Romney is relentless.  He ignores the rules on the wind power.

 Obama even retreats, sits down and his head came down as he says he is used to being interrupted.  That is not powerful body language.

Obama is making some sour faces on deductions.  He is seething and holds a tight smile as he and his body is bouncing slightly showing he wants to be out of his chair answering.

Taxes Middle class families - he gestures with an interesting, reaching out, patting down motion that shows we can be hopeful but the taxes will come down.  Great power and forward movement and gesture as he talks about his philosophy about taxes,

Romney speaks on taxes - he does his nice, soft but loud voice his five point plan he counts again. That works for him.

Tax cut they are both smiling with their chins up. Oh my gosh they are matching each other What a great screen grab they are equal in battle power in that moment and they feel it. (About 25 minutes in)

Romany is doing his smarmy TV preacher smirk like smile as Obama talks about tax rates.

Romany does this gesture sweeping his left arm back to show how his discounts Obama.

Romney looks so rude.

Female’s 72 percent of what males counterparts earn.  Finally got a nice story in. She didn’t complain he does a tongue eraser that makes me think she did complain.

Woman increasingly the bread winners but didn’t answer the question.

60 billion dollars going to banks for Pell grants.

Both Romney and Obama are gesturing a lot more than in the other debates.

I am now so engaged I don’t want to stop watching to Type. That indicates the energy, passion, movement is intense.

Biggest difference from Bush.

 Last contraceptive care. Changes his mind. 

Romney getting his say in at the top of his response and Obama sitting there and letting him makes Obama look less powerful. Siting and standing so interesting nonverbally.

Small business plans - Obama needs to gesture back and pat down motions to Romney not gesture toward the audience.

 Earn my vote question - Needed more energy and smile and upward movement to look hopeful and positive.

Illegal immigrants - The camera on the listening Obama is shaking. That makes Obama look bad, like he is shaking.

 I like how both candidates are.

Obama goes back to his chair with his head down.

Romney uses a fencing move at the retreating Obama and Romney insists on having the last word. It looks and sounds like he wins the round but he has to have the last word in the round.

 In the pension battle Obama loses.  I do like that he stood but Obama looks at the moderator to “save him” and fight for him. The limbic brain of the viewer wants to vote for a president that looks like he can stand his ground and win.

Kerry Ladka, Libya state department, shows his disrespect for the president.
Obama stuttered his answer.

“When it comes to National security I mean what I say” the president did some rapid blinking that leads me to believe he doubts that rather than he means what he says.

Romney’s voice is very passionate in his response on this question. The day after the attack his fist down to those who committed this crime and his lips show he is holding his emotions.

The battle of the rose garden was so intense I wanted to leave the room where I was watching the TV.


 Romney – “government does not create jobs.”  Romney goes up not on his turn to disagree with the president.  He is not just rude but made me feel he was ready to hit Obama. He went in to disrespectfully close space.

“Promises failed to deliver” was strong for Romney.

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