CBS Body Language Expert: Obama Speech ‘Democracy At Its Best’

On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to former FBI agent and body language expert, Joe Navarro about some of the controversial scenery at the Obama speech: "What did you think about the open stadium? Was it too much? Too over the top? Or was it effective?" Navarro responded: "Absolutely not. You know, months ago they were talking about decisions were going to be made behind closed doors. This was democracy at its best." Rodriguez added: "Because so many people were involved." That prompted Navarro to declare: "Involved. You know, you look at the -- everything, the people, the surroundings, the colors, the imagery. It reminds you of Athenian democracy."On Wednesday, Navarro was on the show to analyze Michelle Obama’s body language during her convention speech: "I think it was a home run. She's a beautiful woman. You know, her hugs are genuine. She has those beautiful high cheek bones that we see in models. The broad shoulders. Look how wide her stance is. Her gestures are huge. They're very encompassing. These things draw us in."Rodriguez did raise the controversy surrounding Obama’s backdrop during his nomination acceptance speech: "That was one of the criticisms, though. You said Athenian, that the temples made it look -- I mean, the columns made it look a little bit too much like a temple, like this was meant to worship Barack Obama as a god." Navarro completely dismissed such criticism: "Not at all. This was about that, you know, we use the images of these columns from Athens to tell us about our history of democracy, about openness, about the people. And we have a great example of this where this has been opened up, I think, for the first time and may set a precedent for future conventions. Very powerful."Later, Navarro observed: "Well, you see them, and they're -- it's a similitude -- this is a similitude of the White House. And you see them walking off into -- right here. This is showing us, 'hey, we're normal. Just like you. We are a family.' Very, very powerful images here. We haven't seen these, by the way, since the Kennedys." Rodriguez agreed with that assessment: "Yeah. With the two little kids and the elegant wife, I sort of was reminded of that as well." Navarro concluded: "This is extremely powerful. They're going to be talking about this for a very long time. Very tough to top."Here is the full transcript of the Friday segment:

7:37AM SEGMENT: MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Now we're going to talk about Barack Obama's bold move last night, going from a convention center that held 20,000 people, to a stadium that sat 80,000. The lights, the fireworks, the superstar performers. Did it work? Joining us to analyze the imagery is Joe Navarro, former FBI agent and author of 'What Every Body is Saying.' Good morning, Joe.JOE NAVARRO: Good morning. RODRIGUEZ: Here we are again at our viewing station. And I want to look at the speech. What did you think about the open stadium? Was it too much? Too over the top? Or was it effective? NAVARRO: Absolutely not. You know, months ago they were talking about decisions were going to be made behind closed doors. This was democracy at its best. It's open-RODRIGUEZ: Because so many people were involved. NAVARRO: Involved. You know, you look at the -- everything, the people, the surroundings, the colors, the imagery. It reminds you of Athenian democracy. You-RODRIGUEZ: That was one of the criticisms, though. You said Athenian, that the temples made it look -- I mean, the columns made it look a little bit too much like a temple, like this was meant to worship Barack Obama as a god.NAVARRO: Not at all. This was about that, you know, we use the images of these columns from Athens to tell us about our history of democracy, about openness, about the people. And we have a great example of this where this has been opened up, I think, for the first time and may set a precedent for future conventions. Very powerful.RODRIGUEZ: In fact, you say that we see these columns -- you think about it, it's true, all over in Washington, D.C. NAVARRO: They're at the White House, they are at the Library of Congress, they are at the largest memorials, and they draw us in, and they remind us, this is about democracy. Extremely powerful images.RODRIGUEZ: There was a point in the speech I know you liked when Barack Obama and his family are walking off.NAVARRO: Yes.RODRIGUEZ: What image did that strike? NAVARRO: Well, you see them, and they're -- it's a similitude -- this is a similitude of the White House. And you see them walking off into -- right here. This is showing us, 'hey, we're normal. Just like you. We are a family.' Very, very powerful images here. We haven't seen these, by the way, since the Kennedys. And-RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. With the two little kids and the elegant wife, I sort of was reminded of that as well.NAVARRO: Yeah, and this looks like the White House. And when you see them walking away, you see that they fit in. They're comfortable here. We're comfortable with them. This is extremely powerful. They're going to be talking about this for a very long time. Very tough to top. RODRIGUEZ: Alright. We'll see how the Republicans do it next week in St. Paul. Thank you.NAVARRO: You're welcome. RODRIGUEZ: Appreciate it, Joe.

 Here is the full transcript of the Wednesday segment:

7:01AM TEASER:MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: This morning, though, we're going to analyze whether her words were matched by her body language. We have looked at the speech with an expert and we will bring you his interesting observations ahead this morning.7:31AM TEASER:HARRY SMITH: And last night, of course, Hillary Clinton delivered her much-anticipated address. Threw her support behind Barack Obama. Did she mean it? We're going to talk to an expert on body language.7:36AM TEASER:RODRIGUEZ: Up next this morning, Hillary Clinton's big speech last night. Did her body language match her words? We'll ask an expert next. 7:39AM SEGMENT:MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Last night, Hillary Clinton called herself a proud supporter of Barack Obama. But did her body language match her words? Joining us is Joe Navarro, former FBI agent and now a body language expert. He's author of 'What Every Body Is Saying.' Good morning Joe.JOE NAVARRO: Good morning.RODRIGUEZ: Thanks for being here. We're going to look at the tape together. Everybody's saying her words, her speech, was a home run verbally, but you don't agree. NAVARRO: No.RODRIGUEZ: Why?NAVARRO: No, in fact -- well, what we wanted to see was a Churchillian speech, something that would move her candidate across that magic fence. And she delivered a speech, but the gestures that -- the non verbals that give us the emotion, really weren't there.RODRIGUEZ: What do you think she's doing wrong with her hands? NAVARRO: Well, one of the things that you see is she has very limited hand gestures. And we look for hand gestures to tell us what's important. So, you know, when we see them out, when we see them up, this is significant. And, you know, we saw them just a few times last night, but not enough. This was not an impassioned speech. RODRIGUEZ: When she was talking about things that were important to her. I did notice, like health care.NAVARRO: Healh care, There was a lot of self-touching. When she was talking about McCain there was a lot of emphasis, when she talked about her husband. We saw more nonverbals from the audience, in regards to these issues, than we saw from her. RODRIGUEZ: Well, you and I are Hispanic. So we use our hands for everything. But maybe not everyone expressed themselves with their hands. I noticed that she does something with her shoulders. Maybe that's how she emphasizes.NAVARRO: Well, one of the ways that we emphasize is by defying gravity and our shoulders come up or we stand on our toes. And she does that a little bit. But that's so -- that's so weak that we tend to miss it. Now towards the end of her speech, we saw her hands come up and high and so forth. This is where emotion was truly there. And I think her message was supposed to be, 'hey, go with me and let's vote for Barack.' There should have been a lot more emotive displays and we just simply did not see that.RODRIGUEZ: Alright, Joe. Let's talk about Michelle Obama watching. I don't know about you, but she was pursing her lips a little bit. Did you get the impression that she was a little uncomfortable? NAVARRO: Well, you know, it depends on when you see her. I think a couple of times there when they were picturing her, perhaps she was thinking, 'this should be a little better' and so forth. I think Michelle was very receptive. Her nonverbals actually were great at the beginning as she was, you know, you saw a lot of head tilt, which is indicative of, 'I'm receptive.'RODRIGUEZ: I'm receptive to you, Joe.NAVARRO: Yeah, exactly. And I thought she had a great outfit. But, boy, what a contrast nonverbally between Michelle's speech and Hillary Clinton's speech. RODRIGUEZ: You thought Michelle hit it out of the park? NAVARRO: I think it was a home run. She's a beautiful woman. You know, her hugs are genuine. She has those beautiful high cheek bones that we see in models. The broad shoulders. Look how wide her stance is. Her gestures are huge. They're very encompassing. These things draw us in. These are the things that we look for. Otherwise, just hand out a memo. We need nonverbals to tell us what is important, what is significant, and what should we be looking for. RODRIGUEZ: Alright, Joe Navarro, thank you. Thank you so much. NAVARRO: Okay.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC