Non-Verbal Cues in Obama/McCain Debate

A few non-verbal tidbits that stuck out in my head during tonight's debate…

  1. At the beginning of the debate, McCain immediately started scribbling notes and the debate had not even started.  What did he write?
  2. As McCain had the mic and made points, Obama was loose and would sometimes smile, relishing his chance to rebut.  Classic Obama.
  3. When Obama spoke, McCain stood stiffly and had his arms semi crossed.  Occasionally he would turn away from Obama towards the crowd and slightly smile as if to say "this guy's so full of $hit."
  4. At the end of the debate, Obama goes to shake John McCain's hand, McCain puts his hand on Obama's back then turns away, leaving Cindy in between the two.  Obama then shakes Cindy's hand and touches her shoulder. 

    This sequence shows McCain's disdain for Obama and leads to Obama's attempt to make up for the snub by "claiming" Cindy McCain via the shoulder touch.

These are all subtle messages but we all pick up these cues and they factor into our decision making processes, whether we know it or not.



Replies to observation question #1 via Twitter:

What did McCain write?

@SharonMcP Look for the earliest opportunity to slip in "that one" comment.

@Franca He wrote " HELP – I'm a goner"

@ifeelgod how about attack the issues not the man – even though I do not like him at all !! <><


Maybe John McCain wrote his name on his notepad

5 thoughts on “Non-Verbal Cues in Obama/McCain Debate”

  1. If he was writing his name, perhaps he was writing “President John McCain”?

    More than likely , he was writing a shopping list.

    Interesting observations Jesse… remind me to post link to blog that also address body language in the VP debate. (I have to go re-find it.)

  2. @Flowersbyfarha, the body language was very interesting. I’m starting to realize the importance as I work with my Labrador. Dogs don’t understand the majority of what we say, they understand what we do.

    Humans get “feelings” about certain behaviors but we’ve learned to dismiss them.

    Please send me the link to your article, sounds interesting.

  3. McCain just scares me, and all that close talking….FREAKED ME OUT. This is a pretty interesting article on McCain from Rolling Stone. If you were not scared before you will be after you finish it!

  4. Julie, the close talking is a trick of persuasion. Politicians need to “connect” with people so they face them square on, make full eye contact, and keep looking at them until they are at the next person. Clinton is very good at that sort of thing.

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