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Category “2010 WI-08 Race”

Already a Classier Form of Congressman

Amaz­ing, a White House Visit story from the 8th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict that doesn’t involve bath­rooms, wife’s being mis­named, and other aspects of tales told long, long ago.

Even before he arrived in Wis­con­sin Wednes­day, Pres­i­dent Obama was field­ing per­sonal reminders of the Chicago Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Pack­ers Sunday.

The Pres­i­dent hosted a White House recep­tion Mon­day night for new mem­bers of Con­gress, and when Reid Rib­ble was intro­duced as the con­gress­man from Green Bay, he let out a soft groan.

He said ‘Oh, no,’” said Rib­ble, who brought a present for Obama, a Pack­ers tie. The Pres­i­dent good-naturedly held it up over his own tie and posed for pic­tures, Rib­ble said.

He was a good sport,” said Rib­ble, a Republican.

Rib­ble actu­ally brought two Pack­ers ties. He left one with the Pres­i­dent. The sec­ond one was signed by Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Biden. Rib­ble also signed it, and said he plans to have the state’s two US Sen­a­tors sign it, then present it as a memento to a sol­dier recu­per­at­ing  at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter in D.C.

A slightly bet­ter idea would be to auc­tion the tie off and use the money to buy gifts and other things for recov­er­ing sol­diers from Wis­con­sin who are recu­per­at­ing at Wal­ter Reed.  A tie is nice, but the other idea puts a smile on more than one indi­vid­u­als face.

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Let’s Not Mince Words Here

From the Wis­Pol­i­tics blog cov­er­ing the 2010 DPW Convention:

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen told del­e­gates he ran for Con­gress to oppose a pair of wars being waged “a pres­i­dent who couldn’t think things through.”

He said he wants to stay to ful­fill the promise of health care reform and help rebuild the nation’s econ­omy. He stressed that he has voted “no to bailouts; yes to jobs,” and said he was proud to deliver on a promise of leav­ing no patients behind with the pas­sage of health care reform.

But he also said that his con­stituents are “con­fused,” and he needs Democ­rats to help him in the 8th CD.

“They actu­ally believe what they see on TV and think it’s real­ity,” Kagen said. “We have to work hard to get our mes­sage through.”

(Empha­sis mine)

Trans­la­tion: My own polling says I’m losing.

Never really wanted to say this, but I’ve been privy to a few polls — NRCC, that crazy McCormick poll, a poll from another politi­cian run­ning for another office in the Green Bay area — and they all pretty much say the same thing: Kagen’s re-elect num­bers are bad.  Never really wanted to believe any of them because 1) the GOP Pri­mary is still going on in WI-08 and generic num­bers, even in the his­tor­i­cally GOP-leaning 8th CD, are mean­ing­less until the match-up is set;  2) Kagen’s been more than coy about his even run­ning for his own re-election; and  3) While Kagen’s fund-raising isn’t great, he’s going to have an advan­tage in money in the bank and free media by Sep­tem­ber 15th, the day after the pri­mary.  It’s just one of the pluses of being the incumbent.

That being said, I really won­der if Kagen’s ready to run a cam­paign with­out John Gard to vil­ify and a Demo­c­ra­tic wave to his back.

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Scared Democrats Avoiding Constituents

So much for rep­re­sen­ta­tive government…

If the time-honored tra­di­tion of the polit­i­cal meet­ing is not quite dead, it seems to be tee­ter­ing closer to extinc­tion. Of the 255 Democ­rats who make up the major­ity in the House, only a hand­ful held town-hall-style forums as leg­is­la­tors spent last week at home in their districts.

It was no sched­ul­ing accident.

With images of over­heated, finger-waving crowds still seared into their minds from the dis­con­tent of last August, many Democ­rats heeded the advice of party lead­ers and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer ses­sions. The rec­om­men­da­tions were clear: hold events in con­trolled set­tings — a bank or credit union, for exam­ple — or tour local busi­nesses or par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity ser­vice projects.

And to reach thou­sands of con­stituents at a time, with­out the worry of being snared in an angry con­fronta­tion with vot­ers, more law­mak­ers are also tak­ing part in a fast-growing trend: the tele­phone town meet­ing, where chances are remote that a testy exchange will wind up on YouTube.

It should be noted, the only Wis­con­sin Rep­re­sen­ta­tive who appears to have held town halls last week was Paul Ryan, who admit­ted to dur­ing an hour-long inter­view on “The Rush Lim­baugh Show” when 1130 WISN’s Mark Belling was fill­ing in for the recently-wed Limbaugh.

There are lit­tle reports of what Wisconsin’s Demo­c­ra­tic mem­bers of the House did.

All I can find is a story last week about Steve Kagen going to Rhinelander where he was given the kid glove treat­ment by for­mer State Superinden­tant of Pub­lic Instruc­tion and WEAC pup­pet Eliz­a­beth Bur­mas­ter at Nico­let Col­lege in Rhinelander, where Bur­mas­ter now serves as Col­lege President.

The news­pa­per in Rhinelander points out Kagen only spoke with the school’s admin­is­tra­tive staff; not even the students.

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This Looks Familiar…

A press release this morn­ing from the Roth for Con­gress Campaign.

Apple­ton— Dur­ing his first run for Con­gress in 2006, Steve Kagen claimed he would “ stand up for true Wis­con­sin val­ues by bal­anc­ing the fed­eral bud­get, putting an end to pork, and enact­ing strict new spend­ing lim­its to bring down the record deficits we are inheriting.”

What a dif­fer­ence four years make.

With two terms in office, Steve Kagen has helped push our national debt past the $13 tril­lion mark, cham­pi­oned hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in pork bar­rel spend­ing, and con­tin­u­ally voted against the will of his con­stituents on major issues such as health care and cap and trade,” said state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Roger Roth, can­di­date for Con­gress in Wisconsin’s 8th District.

In the last three months, Steve Kagen has requested $113.7 mil­lion in spe­cial inter­est projects and helped add $230 bil­lion to the national debt by ignor­ing the Democrat’s own Pay-Go stan­dards and vot­ing lock step with Nancy Pelosi and the Demo­c­rat Major­ity in Congress.

Record debts, spe­cial inter­est projects and dis­hon­est gov­ern­ment aren’t ‘true Wis­con­sin val­ues,’ and they cer­tainly aren’t the val­ues the peo­ple of the 8th Dis­trict expect from their representative.”

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Roger Roth is a life­long res­i­dent of Apple­ton, Wis­con­sin. He has an ‘A’ rat­ing from the National Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion, a 100% vot­ing record with Wis­con­sin Right to Life, is a vet­eran of Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom and par­tic­i­pates in his family’s third-generation con­struc­tion business.

The quote in the open­ing line, is clear­ing taken from this post I penned ear­lier this week.

Lis­ten, I’ll tell the Roth Cam­paign the same thing I told the Rib­ble Cam­paign after they ran with a post I wrote last year regard­ing Kagen’s Con­gres­sional office spend­ing: You can use what­ever you want at any­time, but please, credit me or the blog as the source mate­r­ial.  It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

(By the way, that offer is open to all 8th Con­gres­sional Repub­li­can Can­di­dates, I’m not endors­ing any­one, I just want Steve Kagen gone.)

That, or tell Tom Erick­son at the NRCC to get off his butt in DC and have them hire me as a Researcher.  Either will work for me.

Pro Bono is not really cut­ting it any­more after nearly five years of this.  Trust me, I’m not scold­ing, and I don’t mind being here to help; just a lit­tle cour­tesy would be nice.

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Kagen Transparency Bill Going No Where

Rarely a day goes by over the past month where the Gan­nett Wis­con­sin papers in Green Bay and Apple­ton salute H.R. 4700, the “Trans­parency in All Health Care Pric­ing Act of 2010.”  (There was an edi­to­r­ial in the Post-Crescent recently, see at link.)   The bill is authored by Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton), and after three, long years of being ignored by House lead­er­ship, he’s finally got a hear­ing on his top leg­isla­tive agenda item: Health Care Transparency.

(Of course, never mind that still to this day, you can’t find what any­thing about costs on the Kagen Allergy Clinic, or it’s replace­ment, website.)

I will give Kagen credit, Health Care Trans­parency is a sound idea.  If I can go into a restau­rant and see what some­thing costs on the menu, auto body shop and get an esti­mate on my car, etc., why can’t I do the same with my health care.   How­ever, Kagen’s bill is seen as two things: 1) His magic bul­let to have some sort of actual leg­isla­tive achieve­ment under his belt, and 2) Likely not going any­where under the cur­rent Con­gress even after hav­ing a hear­ing on it, and two other like bills.

Why is it going no where?  Well, the like­li­est rea­son is because Democ­rats don’t want to have yet another vote on a health care bill before Novem­ber.  Frankly, any fight, at any level has them run­ning scared, and they seem to not want the has­sle.

Health­care reform fatigue has set in among Democ­rats, cast­ing doubt that Con­gress will move much health-related leg­is­la­tion the rest of this session.

Mea­sures in jeop­ardy include bills that would require more infor­ma­tion on health­care prices, empower fed­eral reg­u­la­tors to sign off on pre­mium increases and strip insur­ers of their exemp­tion from antitrust laws.

Democ­rats in the House and Sen­ate alike are eager to focus on vote-getting issues such as job cre­ation as the midterm elec­tions approach.

I have said for the last year and a half that we should be doing more on job cre­ation, and I hope that we do move on,” said Rep. Daniel Lip­in­ski (D-Ill.), a “no” vote on health reform. “I don’t think we’re going to be doing much more of any­thing on health­care reform for the rest of the year.”

So what of the Kagen bill?  Why does he keep push­ing it if every­one in DC knows it’s going no where?  Again, he needs it, think­ing it can help his re-election chances.  But those who’ve actu­ally read the bill; or have one of its sim­i­lar bills, say some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent than what “the good doctor’s” pre­scrib­ing for the rest of us with his diagnosis…

The Energy and Com­merce hear­ing focused on three bills that would require health­care providers to unveil their prices so con­sumers can make informed decisions.

The main vehi­cle, spon­sored by Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) and endorsed by 54 Democ­rats, is largely seen by lob­by­ists as hav­ing lit­tle chance of pass­ing; it would require all health­care providers — doc­tors, hos­pi­tals, drug­mak­ers, phar­ma­cies — to “pub­licly dis­close, on a con­tin­u­ous basis, all prices.”

Kagen, who faces a tough race for reelec­tion this Novem­ber, has been tout­ing the mea­sure. But providers argue that forc­ing them to dis­close their nego­ti­ated prices would drive costs up for consumers.

I really don’t think any­thing like [the Kagen bill] is going to move because of the short time that we have to get any­thing else done this year,” Lip­in­ski said. “I really hope there’s going to be a focus on jobs for the rest of the year.”

Two more mod­est bills spon­sored by com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans Joe Bar­ton and Michael Burgess, both of Texas, may yet have a chance as they have bipar­ti­san and indus­try support.

“I’m glad Con­gress­man Kagen intro­duced [his bill], because it makes ours look much more respon­si­ble,” said Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who has co-sponsored both alternatives.

Wax­man and his Health panel chair­man, Rep. Frank Pal­lone Jr. (D-N.J.), have stopped short of com­mit­ting to a markup.

Any­one can get a hear­ing.  Hell, most Con­gres­sional hear­ings are side shows any­way.  It’s get­ting the markup that’s the real kicker.  That’s the first legit­i­mate step to get­ting a bill actu­ally made law in the first place out in DC.

Boy, that quote from Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gress­man Green of Texas is a real killer for Kagen’s chief leg­isla­tive agenda item.  Pity some­one like me had to find it…

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Obey to Retire

Yeah, I’m late to the party on this.

Bone-tired and fac­ing a tough polit­i­cal land­scape at home, House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man David Obey announced Wednes­day that he won’t seek re-election, end­ing a 41-year House career stamped by his unique tal­ent and tempestuousness.

Rarely does a com­mit­tee chair­man of such power just walk away, and Obey’s deci­sion is both a blow to Democ­rats and marks the pass­ing of one of the last major lead­ers of the 1970’s reforms that reshaped the mod­ern House.

I am ready to turn the page, and frankly, I think that my dis­trict is ready for some­one new to make a fresh start,” Obey said in an after­noon press con­fer­ence in his committee’s meet­ing room.

Despite poor polls at home, he insisted that could win re-election in Novem­ber but admit­ted he feared another reap­por­tion­ment fight in the next Con­gress and a shift in the pub­lic mood against the aggres­sive pub­lic invest­ments which have been his trademark.

I do not want to be the posi­tion as chair­man of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee of pro­duc­ing and defend­ing low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor leg­is­la­tion that is inad­e­quate to that task,” Obey said, “And given the mood of the coun­try, that is what I would have to do if I stayed.”

The chairman’s retire­ment is not entirely a sur­prise, but as of late Tues­day night, Obey’s staff had insisted he was run­ning aggres­sively and had hired cam­paign staff. Only Wednes­day morn­ing did a per­son close to him con­firm to POLITICO that he was leav­ing, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was only informed then as well.

Let’s state the obvi­ous here: This is huge news in Wis­con­sin, no mat­ter what your polit­i­cal align­ment.  Obey was a fix­ture (an angry, fire­brand of a fix­ture) for over forty years and it will feel odd with him not being there.  It is odder still that he’s retir­ing, just like that.  A part of me always felt the only way David Obey was leav­ing Con­gress was in a pine box.

Let’s go over the basics of this new par­a­digm in Wis­con­sin pol­i­tics shall we.

1) Mike Tate, please go change your pants.  No one will blame you if you need to.

Makes you won­der if the wun­derkind best known for false robo-calls to the elderly was expect­ing both Doyle and Obey to step aside in 2010 when he was anointed last summer.

2) Duffy Cam­paign take the vic­tory lap, you’ve earned it.

I hon­estly grew to believe as this cam­paign between Duffy was gear­ing up, that Obey had for­got­ten how to cam­paign over the years.  Then add in the new mod­ern envi­ron­ment of cam­paigns with web­sites, blogs, social net­work­ing, and the like and you won­der how he was going to han­dle it all.  My friend Patrick Ruffini (a Duffy cam­paign con­sul­tant for his web­site and new media) told me at CPAC that the Obey cam­paign had finally set up its first cam­paign web­site in Jan­u­ary and that prior to this cycle, Obey had never felt the need to put one up.

That fact alone, if true from what Ruffini told me, was itself telling.

3) If you know who the Democ­rats are going to run in Obey’s stead, please call me.

Going through the num­ber of Democ­rats in the 7th, I look at who not only could run, but could win.  Log­i­cally, since he’s cov­eted the seat for years, State Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield) would make sense…if it weren’t this year.  Now he’s got bag­gage from this past leg­isla­tive ses­sion — $5 Bil­lion in new taxes for starters — that would give off a stink and it will effect not only him, but all leg­is­la­tors from North­ern Wis­con­sin as well.

My early guess of who runs? A mayor or vil­lage pres­i­dent from the district.

One does won­der if they’ll be a pri­mary up there …

Democ­rats in the 7th — hell the entire state — are deal­ing with the loss of their God­fa­ther.  It’s going to be odd to see once the griev­ing process is over.

4) Kagen Must Really Be Scared Now.

Admit­tedly, this demand by Marc Savard for Kagen to fol­low Obey’s lead and resign from Con­gress is about the dumb­est thing I’ve read today, but the adding on from a num­ber of 8th Con­gres­sional cam­paigns (Wis­Pol­i­tics links to press releases by Trager and Rib­ble) is just a reminder to Kagen that it’s going to be a tough year for Democ­rats on the Con­gres­sional level.

When you have Dave Obey bail­ing on re-election, what does it say about Kagen’s chances?

5) Duffy’s the Front-Runner.

That’s pretty much assumed at this moment by every­one, and it will be inter­est­ing to see what the var­i­ous polit­i­cal hand­i­cap­pers (Cook, CQ, Rothen­berg) now list WI-07 by the end of the week.  For now, Duffy has the cash, the name expo­sure, the good mojo, a new baby, and the Democ­rats are search­ing for a can­di­date or two to raise money for.

Not a bad month.

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Quote of the Day

From FoxPolitics.net, a busi­ness­man who attended a dis­cus­sion Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton) held last week on the effects of the health care bill on small busi­nesses.  (Reports from Fox 11 on Green Bay show it was not the event Kagen’s ego — or the state AP which just rehashed Kagen’s press release — made it out to be.)

Kagen has crossed the Rubi­con. He’s help­less. He’s useless.

Some points from the meeting:

  • If you are keep­ing score, it’s Kagen 3, Pelosi 0.” That line drew groans. And laugh­ter from a couple.
  • CBO esti­mates are accu­rate accord­ing to Rep. Kagen. When pressed he just said, “we didn’t cook the books”. Uh huh. Right.
  • They are cre­at­ing a mar­ket­place for health­care. Cre­at­ing a mar­ket­place? Jeebus.
  • Kept talk­ing about trans­parency. WOW.
  • Peo­ple that attended — all 12 of us were very unhappy about the infor­ma­tion about the meet­ing. I found out at 8:30am today and most peo­ple found out Fri­day after­noon. When we asked Craig [Moser, Kagen’s in-state “Con­stituent Ser­vices Direc­tor], he said, “It’s in the paper today.” Dumb.
  • The good doc­tor was 25 min­utes late for the meeting.
  • Your health relies on your neighbor’s health”. He talked of lim­it­ing body mass index. I kid you not.

I am objec­tive (or at least try to be) — all I see from this man is arro­gance and lies. He has gone from rep­re­sent­ing the 8th con­gres­sional dis­trict to just another hack politi­cian who rep­re­sents the Demo­c­ra­tic Party. He has no inter­est in debate. I don’t even think he believes what he says. Very con­tentious … once again.

Kagen 3, Pelosi 0?’  Note to self: See if I still have that Heller car­toon from 2007.  You know, the one with Kagen sport­ing the big head.

One thing I keep won­der­ing; espe­cially with the non-stop help the Cap Times seems to be giv­ing Kagen in ador­ing edi­to­ri­als, Nichols columns, and sud­den attacks on Rep. Roger Roth (R-Grand Chute), is when will John Nichols write the one thing every­one who’s watched the 8th CD dynamic for these past five years knows: The only way Steve Kagen wins, is if John Gard is running.

It was easy for Kagen to vil­ify Gard the past two cycles.  John’s may be a great guy, a good friend, and a won­der­ful fam­ily man, but his polit­i­cal career was a walk­ing cliche.  Hell; I’m half won­der­ing when our side does the same the Left did to Gard to Tom “Call Me Thomas” Nel­son.  That guy is just, just…wow…

Kagen won’t have that help this time around.  Oh, he’s try­ing to turn Roth (through the Cap Times) into this cycle’s Gard for him if you believe the Kagen Cam­paign blog.  I’m sure he’ll do the same if Reid Rib­ble or Marc Trager win as well.  It’s the Kagen cam­paign M.O.; so full of pro­jec­tion and lies you won­der if even the reporters cov­er­ing it believe them anymore.

(Really need to ask that of the N.E. Wis­con­sin reporters I com­mu­ni­cate with on Twit­ter about that…)

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Costs Will Rise Under Health Care Bill

What was that line Rep. Steve Kagen, MD, (D-Appleton) said about the health care bill?  Some­thing along the line of “It’s a great bill, and it keeps get­ting bet­ter” if I recall?

Funny, one could say that — get­ting bet­ter — about the chances to replace him this Novem­ber.  He sure he read it?

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care over­haul law is get­ting a mixed ver­dict in the first com­pre­hen­sive look by neu­tral experts: More Amer­i­cans will be cov­ered, but costs are also going up.

Eco­nomic experts at the Health and Human Ser­vices Depart­ment con­cluded in a report issued Thurs­day that the health care remake will achieve Obama’s aim of expand­ing health insur­ance — adding 34 mil­lion to the cov­er­age rolls.

But the analy­sis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of con­trol­ling run­away costs, rais­ing pro­jected spend­ing by about 1 per­cent over 10 years. That increase could get big­ger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unre­al­is­tic and unsus­tain­able, the report warned.

The report also states that the Health Care Bill will explode the fed­eral deficit.  No won­der the Roth Campaign’s been spend­ing the last two weeks (with two more to go based on their count­down) point­ing out the flaws in the bill via press release.

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Portents of the Fall

In 2006, the elec­tion of Larry Nel­son in the City of Wauke­sha was seen by some as the first rip­ple bad things were com­ing for Wis­con­sin Repub­li­cans.  Nel­son was a Demo­c­rat — an unabashed one at that — in what is one of Wisconsin’s biggest Republican-leaning coun­ties and cities.

Last night, Nel­son got crushed.

Polit­i­cal new­comer Jeff Scrima, who ran a scrappy cam­paign built on objec­tions to Waukesha’s search for radium-free water at Milwaukee’s Lake Michi­gan shore, unseated first-term incum­bent Mayor Larry Nel­son Tues­day by a com­mand­ing margin.

Scrima, who also came in first in the five-way Feb­ru­ary pri­mary, won with 58% of the vote to Nelson’s 42%.

Obvi­ously the vot­ers wanted a change in lead­er­ship, and I cer­tainly accept their deci­sion,” Nel­son said. “I’m very proud of what I accom­plished dur­ing the last four years. The feed­back I’ve got­ten the past few weeks has been very pos­i­tive. It may just be a year when peo­ple give new­com­ers a chance and throw incum­bents out.

Nel­son said he thought the race would be closer.

Obvi­ously, it wasn’t.

Lastly, I want to point out some­thing from the Brown County Super­vi­sors races.  In par­tic­u­larly, Dis­trict 1.

Dis­trict 1
W-Mark Tumpach, 916
Adam Warpin­ski (i), 804

For those unaware, Adam Warpin­ski (see salary data here from Legistorm.com) is a full-time for Con­gress­man Steve Kagen (D-Appleton).  Apply all you want into that.

In other Brown County Supervisor/WI-08-related news, the Green Bay Press-Gazette doesn’t even men­tion Andy Williams vote total for his write-in campaign.

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Yeah, This Won’t Work

Some­times, when you lose, you just need to admit it, move on and stop being a pompous jerk.

This is appar­ently is not one of those times for this guy.

Brown County Super­vi­sor Andy Williams, who was defeated in the Feb­ru­ary pri­mary elec­tion, is stag­ing a write-in cam­paign to retain his seat. He reg­is­tered Thurs­day as a write-in can­di­date with the county clerk.

Williams is near the end of his first term rep­re­sent­ing the 18th Dis­trict in De Pere.

He was defeated in the pri­mary by Jack LeDuc and Kris Schuller, who will be on Tuesday’s ballot.

LeDuc earned 164 votes and Schuller took 154 votes in the pri­mary. Williams received 62 votes, and Troye Carter received 12.

Williams is also in the GOP Pri­mary for the 8th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, but has pretty much become an after-thought in the race.  He has no money or has raised very lit­tle accord­ing to the Fed­eral Elec­tions Commission.

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