Tuesday 21 February 2017

Pursed lips and clenched jaws - but no touching moments

Ruth Sherlock

Published 21/10/2016 | 02:30

Karena Virginia (right) speaks to the media as she identifies herself as victim of sexual misconduct by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images
Karena Virginia (right) speaks to the media as she identifies herself as victim of sexual misconduct by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images

They loathe one another so much they cannot even exchange looks, let alone touch.

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The drama began before the final debate could even get under way, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump refusing to shake hands.

After months of low blows and cheap hits that have seen Bill Clinton's affairs and Mr Trump's alleged groping of women dragged to the forefront, the rancour between the candidates was palpable.

Body language is often as telling a part of a candidate's debate performance as their words. Mr Trump spent this 90-minute debate trying to act presidential, toning down his bluster and generally waiting his turn to speak.

Mrs Clinton, by contrast, wore a Cheshire cat smile, an expression intended to be mocking of her opponent. That look may have worked during the last debate, but in the face of a new, calmer, Trump, it backfired and she became the butt of the joke.

Behaviour analysts also criticised the amount of time she spent looking down at the podium. "That conveys a lack of assuredness," said expert Michael Kelly.

Mr Trump had weak moments too. Perhaps it was exhaustion, but his first answers in the debate were uttered with a croaky voice.

Hatred is unbecoming, and unhelpful to a presidential candidate, so both contenders tried to keep their personal feelings about each other out of the conversation. But it showed regardless.

Both Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump's jaws were clenched, and their lips thinly pursed.

And then, when the debate was over, they left, again without shaking hands. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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