Optics Override True Debate Performances by Obama, Romney — PICTURES

Oct. 3, 2012, 8:23 p.m.

The de­bate that the Den­ver live-audi­ence saw on Wed­nes­day night between Pres­id­ent Obama and Mitt Rom­ney may have looked drastic­ally dif­fer­ent from the one seen by mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans on tele­vi­sion.

On TV, many saw Obama with his head down, look­ing vaguely dis­in­ter­ested. But in Den­ver, Obama was seen tak­ing notes at the po­di­um and dir­ect­ing his an­swers mostly to the audi­ence. Rom­ney, mean­while, looked dir­ectly at the crowd and at Obama when he spoke, giv­ing off an air of con­fid­ence and en­ergy that the pres­id­ent largely lacked.

Need proof? Check the screen­grabs be­low.