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Updated Oct 16, 2012 - 9:39 am

Body language has impact on presidential debates

PHOENIX -- Candidates could reveal a lot not by what they say, but rather what they show.

Body language expert Patti Wood said President Obama looked submissive in Denver during the first debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

"He's got to gain ground by forceful gestures," Wood said. "I'm specifically interested to see if Obama will actually engage Romney by gesturing out, away from his body towards Romney. That symbolically looks like an attack."

Wood said tonight's debate is more critical for the president, who needs a strong bounce back performance from the first presidential debate.

"Romney is a great debater and a great fighter so I'm interested to see if he can also engage the audience," Wood said. "The anger and that power he used in the first debate won't play off the same way with an audience present."

Inspiring, personal stories will likely come up during the debate. Wood said both candidates can use storytelling to their advantage.

"If Romney has the opportunity to tell stories, his voice can become much more real and sincere when he does that," Wood said.

"Obama is a great storyteller, so I'm interested to see how those two storytellers will play off each other."

Both candidates will be taking questions directly from an audience of undecided voters.

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