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Santorum reads nuke polls, applies the brakes
The Hill ^ | 4/21/2005 | Alexander Bolton

Posted on 04/21/2005 6:51:36 AM PDT by wjersey

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the “nuclear” poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party. David Winston, head of the Winston Group, which conducts Senate GOP polls, did return phone calls seeking comment.

Confirming public disquiet over the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option, Santorum said, “Our polling shows that.” But, he added, public thinking had been muddied by what he called false Democratic arguments that checks and balances were being eroded.

“People see checks and balances as Democrats checking Republicans, not the legislative checking the executive or the judiciary checking the legislative,” Santorum said. Filibustering presidential nominees was not something the Founding Fathers envisioned as a tool for balancing power between the branches, he argued. In other words, Democrats have managed to convince the public of their right to check Republicans in the Senate.

Santorum’s raising of reasons that Republicans should delay the constitutional option may surprise conservative activists who count him as one of the most passionate advocates for the tactic in the Senate.

“There is no doubt that Santorum was the backbone of this from the very beginning, and he continues to be,” said Manuel Miranda, head of the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters, an alliance of more than 200 conservative groups working on the judges issue.

Many Republicans and conservative activists had thought the Senate GOP leadership would trigger the tactic next week to end the judicial filibuster. The nominees considered most appropriate for such a historic procedural maneuver, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, are expected to be discharged from the Judiciary Committee later this week.

Conservative activists said they received word last week to ramp up their communication efforts on the constitutional option with the goal of having their activity peak next week, before the May recess. Also last week, a New York Times report citing senior Senate lawmakers bolstered the expectation that the showdown would happen next week.

Santorum said he has left the timing to Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

“I’ve been suggesting one way or the other we need to make a decision. I haven’t said [a] longer or shorter” timeframe should be followed, he said.

But GOP aides said Santorum has made known to the leadership reasons for why Republicans should not move forward on the nuclear or constitutional option.

“He was concerned that too many things are competing in the same area and you couldn’t get a clean shot at it,” a GOP aide said. The aide cited the “fallout” from congressional Republicans’ intervening in a Florida court’s decision to remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube and the subsequent controversy caused by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) statement that “the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”

Democrats portrayed that statement as an incitement against judges, and it resulted in a spate of media critiques of DeLay and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who made a speech on the Senate floor raising the question of why judges are targets of violence.

Senate and House Democrats have woven the Republican intervention in the Schiavo issue, DeLay’s statement about judges who declined to save her life, and GOP consideration of the nuclear option into a broad message that Republicans are abusing power. John Bolton’s stalled nomination to become U.N. ambassador has also become a distraction.

“There’s not a clean slate and backdrop” for the nuclear option, a GOP aide said, summarizing Santorum’s observations. “But while Santorum is saying too many things are competing in the same realm, others are saying they highlight the issue” of judges by demonstrating how the makeup of the judiciary affects national debates, for example.

Another GOP aide said Santorum is less concerned with the fallout from the Schiavo case than with addressing several more items on the legislative agenda before Democrats tie the Senate in knots, as they have threatened to retaliate against a rule change.

“There’s important business our guys have to get out of the way,” the aide said, adding, “Our guys want to give every chance for some negotiated compromise to be explored” to avoid gridlock.

Santorum said, “We have a lot of work to get done.”

But the aide denied that the “messaging environment” is giving Republicans second thoughts about the nuclear or constitutional option. Republicans would craft their message to their actions, not their actions to a poll-tested message, the aide added.

But GOP polling shows that Americans have swallowed the Democrats’ and liberal groups’ message on the constitutional option, the sources say.

“If anything is bad, it is that the American public has bought the misinformation campaign that we’re trying to take away the filibuster,” the aide said. “The campaign has caused misinformation, and that’s where we have a messaging challenge.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: filibuster; ussenate
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Very disappointing.
1 posted on 04/21/2005 6:51:37 AM PDT by wjersey
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To: wjersey

Serenity now!


2 posted on 04/21/2005 6:54:30 AM PDT by Marylander
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To: wjersey

It's just reality.

And the reality is this. Republicans are going to be the Minority. I hope they are prepared for the bloodbath in '06. No action, no vote, no Majority, no re-election.


3 posted on 04/21/2005 6:54:36 AM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: wjersey

Most Americans are woefully ignorant on how government is supposed to work.


4 posted on 04/21/2005 6:54:48 AM PDT by dfwgator (Minutemen: Just doing the jobs that American politicians won't do.)
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To: wjersey

Another excuse to be spineless.


5 posted on 04/21/2005 6:54:55 AM PDT by agitator (...And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark)
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To: wjersey

I think The Hill might be off base here.
Let's see how next week develops.


6 posted on 04/21/2005 6:56:03 AM PDT by brothers4thID (I have knocked on door of this man's soul- and found someone home.)
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To: wjersey

Just bring back the real filibuster.

You can delay a vote, but you have to keep talking.

"We are restoring a great tradition of the Senate"


7 posted on 04/21/2005 6:56:19 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: wjersey

Hey Rick. Looking out for yourself again?


8 posted on 04/21/2005 6:56:24 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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To: wjersey

No guts. No glory. No gonads.


9 posted on 04/21/2005 6:56:46 AM PDT by dc-zoo
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To: Soul Seeker

I am very much afraid you are correct.

The Republican Party once again has squandered the Golden Opportunity given to it by the voters.


10 posted on 04/21/2005 6:57:01 AM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: Soul Seeker

You are 100% correct.

I refuse to vote for spineless people.


11 posted on 04/21/2005 6:57:18 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: wjersey

Rick Santorum is morphing into Bob Dole, without the combat decorations. I'm sick of his wishy washy carcass!


13 posted on 04/21/2005 6:57:55 AM PDT by pissant (Fishing is a man's sport!)
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To: wjersey

I am shocked that the polling came out this way. Afterall, the Dems have been hitting this issue hard, constantly putting their spin on it. In vigorous response the Republicans have been. . .(insert crickets here). Seriously, the Republicans have to hit this issue harder than just assuming everyone will see it there way. I think they are starting to do this now, i.e. sending Thune and others out to spread the word. But, once again I have to ask, where is the President on this one?


14 posted on 04/21/2005 6:58:45 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: wjersey

Playing a prevent defense is the surest way to lose.


15 posted on 04/21/2005 6:59:01 AM PDT by aynrandfreak (When can we stop pretending that the Left doesn't by and large hate America?)
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To: wjersey
G.O.P. Grand Ole' Pussies.....
16 posted on 04/21/2005 6:59:09 AM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society "( Robert Heinlien).)
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To: Soul Seeker

Correction, Republicans ARE the minority now, 2006 will just make it official.


17 posted on 04/21/2005 6:59:26 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: wjersey
"Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls."

Another GOP pro-life cut and run like Schiavo law.

18 posted on 04/21/2005 6:59:56 AM PDT by ex-snook (Exporting jobs and the money to buy America is lose-lose..)
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To: dc-zoo

Santorum lost his gonads when he got re-elected the first time.

There ARE good Republicans in the Senate (Coburn, Inhofe) and even more in the House (Pence, Chabot), but unfortunately for the most part they aren't in positions of influence.


19 posted on 04/21/2005 7:00:40 AM PDT by RockinRight (Conservatism is common sense, liberalism is just senseless.)
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To: Soul Seeker; All

We should start preparing to get our A$$es kicked in 2008 if we don't watch out! Republican Congress Critters are getting tooo sure of themselves and lazy! NOT A GOOD SIGN!


20 posted on 04/21/2005 7:01:02 AM PDT by areafiftyone (The Democrat's Mind: The Hamster's dead but the wheel's still spinning!)
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To: wjersey
“If anything is bad, it is that the American public has bought the misinformation campaign that we’re trying to take away the filibuster,”

It seems to me that the Dems often win the PR battle because they have the strong support of the MSM. The strength of the Republicans is that they are willing to do the right thing whether it is popular or not.

My concern is that there seems to be some waffling by Republican senators and I am starting to wonder if a split is forming in the party.

21 posted on 04/21/2005 7:01:05 AM PDT by oldbrowser (What really matters is culture, ethos, character, and morality)
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To: wjersey
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Rick, Not one damn dime. None of the RNC can expect more than 9 cents from me this election cycle until they learn to act like a majority.

22 posted on 04/21/2005 7:01:23 AM PDT by NeoCaveman (habemus papum, Benedict XVI)
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To: wjersey
“There’s important business our guys have to get out of the way,” the aide said, adding, “Our guys want to give every chance for some negotiated compromise to be explored” to avoid gridlock.

As far as I can recall, 54 to 46 or even 50 to 50 with a tiebreaker is not gridlock especially when the president is on the side of the greater number. Change the freaking rules.

23 posted on 04/21/2005 7:01:27 AM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: agitator
“People see checks and balances as Democrats checking Republicans, not the legislative checking the executive or the judiciary checking the legislative,” Santorum said.

Where is the logic here? The public misunderstands so we can't do the right thing? That is not leadership.

24 posted on 04/21/2005 7:01:49 AM PDT by Marylander
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To: wjersey

I'm getting 2-3 fund raising letters from the RNC every week. I'm sending them all back in their business reply envelopes with the message, "get back to me when you get some judges confirmed."

I'm disapponited with Santorum.


25 posted on 04/21/2005 7:02:14 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (Study Lie'brals - Know the enema you're fighting...)
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To: wjersey

Advice for Santorum: Do the right thing. Get our judges confirmed. And if you don't, then PROMISE to filibuster ALL liberal nominees in the future. ALL OF THEM!!!!! May they NEVER get another one of their activist judges confirmed. EVER!


26 posted on 04/21/2005 7:02:15 AM PDT by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Legislatures are so outdated. If you want real political victory, take your issue to court.)
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To: wjersey

I was polled last week by the RNC on Bushs overall job performance. Approve-Disapprove-Undecided. I told them undecided. He's really pissing me off over the border issue. I could not say I approve.


27 posted on 04/21/2005 7:03:00 AM PDT by Ron in Acreage (Democrat or Communist? Is there a difference?)
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To: wjersey
If the Republicans in the Senate don't get something done on Judicial Nominees and immigration they run the risk of low turnout from the base.

The real problem in both the house and senate is the turnover. These folks hardly ever get voted out so they have no reason to respond to the will of the voters. They are more interested in pleasing the Washington press and power brokers.
28 posted on 04/21/2005 7:03:08 AM PDT by CHUCKfromCAL
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To: dfwgator
Most Americans are woefully ignorant on how government is supposed to work.

And Republicans are woefully paralized and mute to explain.
29 posted on 04/21/2005 7:03:11 AM PDT by demkicker (Support DeLay, the Hammer, and the filibuster ban on judicial nominations!)
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To: Preachin'
I refuse to vote for spineless people.

They never seem to learn that when they LEAD, people follow.
At present, the GOP HAS no leader.

30 posted on 04/21/2005 7:03:21 AM PDT by MamaLucci (Mutually assured destruction STILL keeps the Clinton administration criminals out of jail.)
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To: wjersey
while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate

What the heck does "accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate" mean? They took a poll on this?!?!? What a bunch of chocolate-covered manure.
31 posted on 04/21/2005 7:03:22 AM PDT by advance_copy (Stand for life, or nothing at all)
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To: wjersey

These gutless wonders should get out of Washington and find out what the people in the red atates think.


32 posted on 04/21/2005 7:03:48 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: Preachin'
Hey Rick. Looking out for yourself again?

Another poll watching politician bites the dust....
33 posted on 04/21/2005 7:04:44 AM PDT by demkicker (Support DeLay, the Hammer, and the filibuster ban on judicial nominations!)
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To: MamaLucci

We'd be better off with James Inhofe as Senate Majority Leader and Mike Pence as Speaker of the House, but I digress...


34 posted on 04/21/2005 7:05:38 AM PDT by RockinRight (Conservatism is common sense, liberalism is just senseless.)
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To: clee1; Preachin'

I have stated since election day while most were obsessed over Hillary, that she wasn't an issue. All the Republicans needed to do was what was promised in the campaign and she was toast. I stated re-election was dependant on Republican action, not on fear of Democrat's mythical powers. A lot of people preferred to fear the Mrs. rather than realize what the true threat to Republican Majority was. Now people are waking up, sadly, because it's proving very accurate.

They will be the Minority and it isn't because Democrats called them mean names and tricked us simpletons into believing wrong was right. It won't be because the country is tilting Leftward. It will be because Republicans cannot keep their word. And why can't they keep their word? Because they are spineless jellyfish that care more about fixed polls or the cover of the NYT's than they do about listening to our wishes that they do what is right.

I can tolerate policy defeats. I can even tolerate dissent. I cannot tolerate wimps.


35 posted on 04/21/2005 7:05:51 AM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: wjersey
The Dems got out their twisted message on the nuclear option early, often and vehemently.

The Pubs, never the masters of communications, still haven't gotten their message out on this.

No wonder the polls say what they say.

I'm sick and tired of the abdication of the art of political offense by Republican party leaders......from the top on down.

What the heck did we work our tushies off for......when those we elected are too good, too lazy or too cowardly to do what we did.

Leni

36 posted on 04/21/2005 7:06:30 AM PDT by MinuteGal ("The Marines keep coming. We are shooting, but the Marines won't stop !" (Fallujah Terrorists)
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To: wjersey

Chairman@gop.com Let them know how we feel about their spineless cowardice. I will not be voting GOP again. I will be staying home.


37 posted on 04/21/2005 7:06:32 AM PDT by Ron in Acreage (Democrat or Communist? Is there a difference?)
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To: FlipWilson

LOL I stand corrected.


38 posted on 04/21/2005 7:06:42 AM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: FlipWilson
"I am shocked that the polling came out this way."

Didn't republicans rag on Clinton for always checking the polls before he made decisions? No difference here. Santorum and his ilk will now be known collectively as the "Men Without Sacks". They've been selling wolf tickets for the last two weeks. Time to put up or shut up.

39 posted on 04/21/2005 7:09:03 AM PDT by blaquebyrd
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To: Soul Seeker
And the reality is this. Republicans are going to be the Minority. I hope they are prepared for the bloodbath in '06. No action, no vote, no Majority, no re-election.

Yep. If they can't lead, they deserve to be in the minority.
40 posted on 04/21/2005 7:10:23 AM PDT by Antoninus (Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, Hosanna in excelsis!)
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To: RockinRight
We'd be better off with James Inhofe as Senate Majority Leader and Mike Pence as Speaker of the House, but I digress...

Inhofe is one of my favorites. He'd be a great Majority Leader.....

41 posted on 04/21/2005 7:10:31 AM PDT by MamaLucci (Mutually assured destruction STILL keeps the Clinton administration criminals out of jail.)
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To: FlipWilson
The Republicans blew it by focusing on the wrong issues. If they'd kept Congress in session over Easter break to pass some more tax cuts (including ones that significantly benefit the middle class), then I'd want the concession to sell copies of Final Exit in front of DNC HQ.
42 posted on 04/21/2005 7:10:37 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: wjersey

You guys keep doing the same thing over and over again and somehow expect a different result.

If you want to get something different, you are going to have to DO something different.

http://www.constitutionparty.com


43 posted on 04/21/2005 7:10:43 AM PDT by Ahban
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To: FlipWilson
But, once again I have to ask, where is the President on this one?

Good question. Why can't the Republicans speak with ONE voice on issues this important? Talking points work! Where are the GOP's talking points? And can't our President PRACTICE a good speech on this very topic so that he gets his message across and the American people can see that the democrats are hijacking the judiciary?

This is important, damnit, and I'm sick of Republicans cowering away from a fight worth fighting!
44 posted on 04/21/2005 7:11:31 AM PDT by demkicker (Support DeLay, the Hammer, and the filibuster ban on judicial nominations!)
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To: All

Polls are not an excuse, 'k? We all have been around long enough to know how meaningless these polls are. It's nothing but a weak excuse for them not to do their job.

The base made their voice known election day. They voted on paper ballots in the ultimate poll to fix the filibusters against nominees. Everything else is meaningless.

Come '06 we'll make our votes known again, and they will pay for their cowardice.


45 posted on 04/21/2005 7:12:40 AM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: Soul Seeker

The GOP will probably enact controverisal measure too late, when it become an emergency, and it'll still be fresh on the voter's minds (due to the media accomplices on the left).


46 posted on 04/21/2005 7:13:41 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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To: wjersey
There was a thread yesterday about Santorum being in re-election trouble next year. After this, who cares? I hope the RINO loses to Democrat. Better the devil you know than one you don't.
47 posted on 04/21/2005 7:15:08 AM PDT by Sans-Culotte
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To: wjersey
"On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest, and resting, died."

- Author Unknown (but obviously someone who was familiar with Republican Senators)

48 posted on 04/21/2005 7:15:30 AM PDT by Charles Martel
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To: Antoninus

Exactly.

They want to be the Minority, we'll give them what they want. They can kiss their perks goodbye. They are going to be sent packing back home to their states.


49 posted on 04/21/2005 7:15:44 AM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: MamaLucci
"They never seem to learn that when they LEAD, people follow. At present, the GOP HAS no leader."


Frist has made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that he is running for the presidency.

The same media that's slamming him for considering the change in senate rules is the same media that will paint him as a lackluster leader in 2008 for refusing to do it.

The best bet is to enact the change now, so that it'll be old news in 2008.
50 posted on 04/21/2005 7:16:09 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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