Rick Perry Still Making English Teachers Roll Their Eyes

Although he has somewhat slowed down the use of his favorite verbal tics from 10 per debate to four, Texas Governor Rick Perry is still far and away the clubhouse leader in the GOP presidential debates when it comes to using clichés. Through the nine debates since Perry first took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, he has uttered hackneyed phrases that attempt to bolster his points (e.g. “the bottom line,” “at the end of the day,” “the fact of the matter,” “as a matter of fact,” “the fact is”) 54 times through the recent Iowa debate in Des Moines. Perry had used these phrases 31 times through just the first three debates, and ‘just’ 23 times over the last six. The only other candidate who reaches double digits during this span is none other than Newt Gingrich at 12, whose favorite such phrase is “The fact is.” Following Gingrich is Jon Huntsman with six, Rick Santorum with five, Ron Paul with four, Mitt Romney with three, and Michele Bachmann with two. Herman Cain, often applauded for his straight talk, did not use any of these trite phrases during the eight debates under analysis in which he participated.

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