Why Romney won first debate with Obama

 In Actors, Learning from Luminaries

In the first Obama/Romney debate, leaving aside who won the battle of the ideas – here are my thoughts on who won the battle of the body language, speech and words – consistent with that of a Commander-in-Chief, and a leader of state:

  • The overall score: Romney 8.5/10; Obama 7.5/10
  • Romney won because of several instances of conveying ‘perceived genuine passion’ and, for his ability to think on his feet and retort Obama’s statements. For example:

–       “President Obama is entitled to his own plane, but not his own facts”.

–       When he talked about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence his eyes in particular conveyed passion in combination with genuine warmth and care.

  • Obama’s best moment was when he talked about Lincoln with the phrase ‘gateways of opportunity’. His opening statement about his wife was inarticulate and his worst moment. He also repeatedly gazed downward while Romney talked. With this downward gazing he seemed intimidated by Romney.
  • Romney won the opening of the debate because of the energy and structure of his speaking.
  • He won the closing because of his decisiveness in gaze and the measured energy in his voice and body. (Obama finished his closing with an element of pleading to the electorate to vote for him, in contrast to Romney’s decisiveness).
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