This video clip has been getting quite a bit of play this week, certainly for its element of amusement among all else. A current and a former president together in the same place is often newsworthy, especially in the White House itself. In this case we get to see two distinct, and in some ways opposing, brands of charisma playing off of one another. It’s no doubt a moment that’s captured our attention.
What I found even more interesting yesterday was “body-language expert” Tonya Reiman’s analysis of the impromptu Clinton-Obama exchange. As she discussed with Bill O’Reilly on his show, there was definitely a series of power plays taking place. Specifically, Reiman believes President Obama was the alpha in this situation, in the way he put his arm around President Clinton and then pulled the former president’s hand close to his own body as he shook it. The two men also displayed very little if any eye contact with each other, indicating, according to Reiman, a minimal level of warmth or comfort between them.
Whatever the case, and for however much anyone wants to analyze it, this moment serves as a prime example of the many fascinating elements of body language. As in many different situations, there’s often much said that’s not said. What do you think?