Appearances count in debates, as GOP candidates discover

“I told the guy, ‘Do you realize that Perry is trying to look like Ronald Reagan?”

Towery, who is based in Atlanta, Ga, is a former national debate champion, and one-time debate coach for his former boss, Newt Gingrich. Sensitive to non-verbal nuances, Towery immediately picked up on Perry’s gesture, and its echoes of his party’s icon.

“Every time someone says something, he cocks his head with a little smile on his face,” said Towery. “Reagan would always move his head to one side and act as if he couldn’t quite believe what the other person was saying. I guarantee that’s what he’s trying to do.”

. . .

As the only woman in the race, Michele Bachmann faces the double standard that plagues female candidates.The Minnesota congresswoman’s deep-set eyes are noticeably enhanced by false eyelashes, and she has good hair days and bad hair days. In an August debate in Iowa, she frequently left the stage to freshen her makeup and was late returning once, prompting the incredulous moderator to ask “Are we actually missing a candidate on the stage?” In a debate earlier this month at the Reagan Library, Bachmann’s hair was more teased than usual.

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