BOSTON (CBS) — Jon Keller sat down with body language expert Don Khoury to discuss the body language of Democratic presidential candidates.
Khoury said body language during debates can be used to predict that candidate’s success.
Analyzing the confrontation between former V.P. Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, Khoury said, “From what I’ve seen of this interaction, she’s very prepared for this. It seems very rehearsed and it comes across that way and I don’t think that necessarily appeals to the independents, although it will appeal very much to the base.”
He said it appeared Biden was listening and then wanted to laugh it off. In Biden’s response, he uses an open palm which appears authoritative but not aggressive. Meanwhile, Harris’s movements become jerkier and she shows anger.
Khoury’s conclusion about the interaction? “I think for her base, she won but for independents, he won.”
He added, in general, candidates try to avoid bringing their hands up to head-level because it appears “a little too chaotic for the voter’s taste.”
On to Sen. Bernie Sanders: “He is extremely authentic. His authenticity overweighs any mistakes he is making,” said Khoury. “He believes what he’s saying. And the person who believes what they are saying is going to outweigh anybody who might be trying to get one over them.”
Khoury has been critical of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s television body language in the past. “She’s very jerky. This head movement that she has is very off-putting…Again, her base will love it but the independent voters will not.”
“The independent voters want a very even-keeled vocal pitch and tone, very even-keeled in their non-verbal behavior, their body language, and [Warren] doesn’t have that.”
Khoury also described a confrontation between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. “[O’Rourke] is having a hard time, he’s in these jerky movements, he’s really trying to defend himself. De Blasio, if you look at his expressions, he’s got this quick smile, this duping delight like he’s somehow getting one over on him.”
Then former Congressman John Delaney jumped in. Khoury thought he did well but will never have enough traction to be the nominee.
Julian Castro also went after O’Rouke. “The difference between Castro and de Blasio is Castro is very even-keeled, deliberate, slow and methodical,” Khoury said.
Meanwhile, O’Rouke bowed his head and licked his lips multiple times, which are both bad signs.
Khoury also had a prediction: “I don’t think Hilary Clinton lost because she was a woman, I think she lost because she was a bad candidate. I think Amy Klobuchar, should she get the nomination, will destroy President Trump in a general [election].”