The Tritest Phrases You'll Hear Tonight at the Debate

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The first presidential debate will cover weighty matters. But it will also have a lot of predictable throat-clearing and posturing. Here are some examples.

Every great debate has its share of stock phrases and generic pleasantries that debaters trot out for the sake of politeness or as they stall for time and gather their thoughts. Don't be surprised tonight if you hear:

"That's a great a question, Jim..."

"With all due respect..."

"I'm so glad you asked..."

"During my time as governor..." (Romney)

"Let me be clear..." (Obama)

"An extraordinary...." (Romney)

"I'll answer the second part first..."

"But first, let me address what my opponent just said..."

"Let me finish..."

What are some of the other debating tropes and stock phrases you've noticed? What non-policy words and phrases do Obama and Romney always use (and we're not talking a/the/and/etc. here)? Leave your predictions for the most predictable ones in the comments, below.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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