It's awkward. I'd never used it. I think it's silly because "in itself" and "of itself" mean the same.
A: I have some interesting news. I was out jogging today, and ...
B: You were out jogging?! This is extraordinary news in and of itself!
With a negative:
A: Something startling happened today! I was eating breakfast [pause] ...
B: I would not call that startling in and of itself!
It doesn't have to be used pre-emptively:
A: Did you hear? Gaddafi has quit, and now Libya is a liberal democracy.
B: Gaddafi quit? This is extraordinary news in and of itself!
Student or Learner