Among his favorite phrases -- “make no mistake,” “whole host,” “change isn’t easy” -- one is President Obama’s obvious favorite: “Let me be clear.” He uses it -- deliberately and extemporaneously -- when making what he obviously feels is his main point.
So too, annoyingly, does much of his administration. Senior adviser David Axelrod employs it -- or the variation “let’s be clear” -- constantly. So does Vice President Joe Biden, press secretary Robert Gibbs, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. During an interview on NPR last Wednesday, HUD secretary Shaun Donovan used the phrase at least eight times in 20 minutes.
The aggregate effect? Nothing so much as condescension: The subtext of this phrase, used over and over and over, is, “You, the masses, are quite likely misunderstanding everything I’ve heretofore been plainly discussing in our native tongue. Allow me to further simplify it for you.”
It’s equal parts amusing and frustrating to watch seasoned journalists on the Sunday shows or in the press room be on the receiving end of this insulting verbal tic and not once snap back. Making things clear, after all, is the essence of journalism.
All presidents have their verbal tics -- Bill Clinton had a version of “make no mistake,” which was similarly interpreted as intellectual hauteur. What’s unusual about Obama’s tic is its viral spread throughout the White House, and its unchallenged use by the very people meant to be challenged.
So, let us be clear: We’re over it. (Source)