Let us be clear: The phrase is as inextricably associated with the president as lip-biting is with Bill Clinton and jelly beans are with Ronald Reagan.
A good political catchphrase can attain iconic status and last forever: "I feel your pain." "Read my lips." "There you go again."
But then again, so can an anodyne, practically meaningless placeholder. Take, for example, "Let me be clear," which has become as inextricably associated with Barack Obama as lip-biting is with Bill Clinton and jelly beans are with Ronald Reagan. It's a favorite stalling mechanism for the president and a favorite crutch of the worst Obama impersonators (which -- let me be clear -- is all of them, but in particular Jay Pharoah and Fred Armisen). The folks at Time produced this excellent supercut, complete with edgy soundtrack, to show the range of occasions, inflections, and deployments Obama has for his phrase.
Now, let me be clear: Nothing in this post should be taken to mean that you should pay any attention to Time's Person of the Year.
Hat tip: Vulture