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ATLANTA -- As debate prep coordinator for Herman Cain during the Republican presidential primary race, Clark Barrow knows what it's like in the trenches leading up to the big night.

"We realized we had to let Herman be Herman," Barrow said.

Barrow saidhe tried role-playing and policy cram sessions but found it more effective to practice trick questions.

"The purpose of each question was to irritate and frustrate him because that's what was happening on stage," Barrow said.

Barrow said one-liners didn't always work for Cain, but he thinks they could make a real difference in Wednesday's presidential debate.

He expects they're part of Mitt Romney's debate prep plan.

"If Romney doesn't have any zingers or doesn't make President Obama look bad or step above him, I don't see how these debates will be a win," he told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.

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Barrow said the race is so close, the first debate is critical, despite the fact that President Obama's campaign team is downplaying expectations.

"You do that, so if you do reasonably well, you can say we did better than expected," Barrow said. "That can be your response to the debate."

Barrow believes both men need a gaffe-free debate.

Barrowstill works for Herman Cain as his policy and research assistant.

Cain plans to watch the presidential debate with students at Arizona State University.

He'sbeen usingTwitter @THEHermanCainto give debate advice to Mitt Romney.