Clock ticking on Gardner’s opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from federal personhood bill

(Will he or won't he? Does it even matter now? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

It's a big week for senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, as the clock ticks down on his opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from a federal personhood bill, which aims to ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

To get his name off the legislation, Gardner is required to make a speech from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to adjourn as early as this week. And it would not meet again prior to the election. So this is Gardner's last chance.

Fact checkers in Colorado (here and here plus yours truly) and nationally have concluded that the Life at Conception Act, which Gardner cosponsored just last year, is substantive legislation, written and promoted by its sponsors to end a women's right to choose.

But, inexplicably, both Gardner and his spokespeople, like Owen Loftus,  have told reporters that the bill is symbolic. Most recently, Gardner told 9News' Brandon Rittiman, "There is no federal personhood bill." The bill he cosponsored "says life begins at conception," Gardner told Rittiman. Loftus once said, "The Democrats like to say that it is personhood but it's not."

Given these statements by Gardner, who's challenging pro-choice Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, you wouldn't expect Gardner to withdraw his name at this point, because he'd have a mouthful of explaining to do–like why he thinks his legislation is symbolic when no one else does.

Reporters should put that question to Gardner regardless of whether he removes his name form the bill in the coming weeks.  Why is he repeating the documented falsehood that the Life at Conception Act is symbolic, given the text of the legislation and the fact checks. With the deadline approaching, now would be a really great time to ask him.

Romanoff Breaks Down Issues in Clear Language

People are naturally cynical about politicians. Sometimes that cynicism is justified, and it can often result from a politician's inability to speak to voters about issues in a way that is relatable to them.

Elias Isquith of Salon magazine recently interviewed Democrat Andrew Romanoff about his effort to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Coffman. There are several interesting parts to Isquith's wide-ranging interview with Romanoff, but one particular exchange stood out to us as a great example of why Romanoff is such a difficult opponent for Coffman. Take a look at how Romanoff answered a question about Coffman's support for shutting down the government last October:

When Congressman Coffman and his colleagues in the House voted to shut down the government a year ago, that inflicted real damage on Colorado, and I suspect on every other state — and people remember.

To give you some examples: If you were doing medical research at the campus here in Aurora, it’s called the Anschutz Medical Campus, and you can’t get a grant continued and you have to turn patients away because of the government shutdown, you remember. If you’re an employee at the local Air Force base, also here in Aurora, and you don’t know whether you’re going to have a job in the morning because your own congressman shut down the government, you remember. If you’re a senior who doesn’t know whether your Social Security check is going to arrive because your congressman shut down the government, you remember that pretty clearly. [Pols emphasis]

I actually just had this conversation, literally the question you’re asking me, at … one of the doors I was knocking on over the weekend in our district. And a woman asked me, she said, “Why are we paying you guys?” Meaning Congress. “If I don’t do my job,” she said, “I don’t get paid. And I certainly don’t get a vacation or a raise.” And it’s a really basic question. It’s an excellent point, I thought. If Congress operated on a pay-for-performance level, they’d be broke.

So it’s very hard for me to understand, and very hard for my neighbors here to understand, why we’re paying a guy who can’t even keep the government functioning, much less advance the priorities that we happen to share … I’d be thrilled if Congress voted to increase the minimum wage, addressed the student loan crisis; it’d be terrific if Congress took action to close the pay gap between men and women, and certainly it would be a great success if Congress took action on immigration reform.

With just a few sentences, Romanoff clearly outlined how and why the government shutdown directly related to voters and residents in CD-6. Romanoff's straightforward way of speaking about issues and their local relevance draws an incredibly sharp contrast with Coffman and his love of word salads.

Election Models Show Huge Momentum for Udall

Udall-Gardner-Race

Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Rep. Cory Gardner (as well as Lincoln and…Jefferson?)

Big news this morning from our friends at the Washington Post blog "The Fix"

Democrats are now (very slightly) favored to hold the Senate majority on Nov. 4, according to Election Lab, the Post's statistical model of the 2014 midterm elections.

Election Lab puts Democrats' chances of retaining their majority at 51 percent —  a huge change from even a few months ago when the model predicted that Republicans had a better than 80 percent chance of winning the six seats they need to take control. (Worth noting: When the model showed Republicans as overwhelming favorites, our model builders — led by George Washington University's John Sides — warned that the model could and would change as more actual polling — as opposed to historical projections — played a larger and larger role in the calculations. And, in Republicans' defense, no one I talked to ever thought they had an 80 percent chance of winning the majority.)

So, what exactly has changed to move the Election Lab projection? Three big things:

* Colorado: On August 27 — the last time I wrote a big piece on the model — Election Lab said Sen. Mark Udall (D) had a 64 percent chance of winning. Today he has a 94 percent chance…[Pols emphasis]

…Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model now has Republican chances of winning the Senate at 55 percent, down from 64 percent 12 days ago. "The two states with the largest shifts have been Colorado and North Carolina — in both cases, the movement has been in Democrats’ direction," writes Silver. "That accounts for most of the difference in the forecast."

The extent to which Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is a bit surprising, though we've been saying for weeks that Udall has all the momentum in this race; last week we increased Udall's odds of winning to 65% in our latest election "model" (The Big Line) . This new prediction about the Colorado Senate race is also not an outlier compared to recent news reports; late last week national media outlets were noting that Udall's campaign was starting to pull away from Gardner. As we wrote back in August, Gardner's campaign has been throwing all sorts of different messages at the wall in hopes of getting something to stick — a lack of direction that usually indicates a campaign that is neither comfortable nor confident in its approach this late in the game.

What do Female Voters REALLY Care About? The Keystone Pipeline!

Pipelines for Women

According to the GOP, female voters are really interested in the Keystone Pipeline. Also, they want to hear candidates talk about car engines and fantasy football.

Further underscoring the news that Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Rep. Cory Gardner in the race for the U.S. Senate is this ridiculous new TV ad from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS group that attempts — and fails — to divert the narrative that Udall is a better choice than Gardner for Colorado women. From Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:

The ad never mentions Personhood or contraception. Instead, it obliquely refers to Dem attacks as “political scare tactics,” even as the featured women declare they want “a real conversation about issues that matter,” such as the economy. But, as Rebecca Berg writes, this ad actually “underscores the challenge Republicans have faced this year appealing to women voters.”

Now, it’s true that the economy is the top concern. But it’s obvious the Personhood movement (which declares that full human rights begin at the moment of fertilization) has, in fact, dogged Gardner. Last spring he disavowed his support for a previous state Personhood effort, admitting it “restricts contraception.” But Dems have pointed out that Gardner still supports a federal Personhood measure that would raise the same possibility of restrictions to some forms of contraception. Gardner has tried coming out for over-the-counter contraception, but he currently trails Dem Senator Mark Udall by double digits among women.

This new ad, which you can view after the jump, is a desperate attempt to change the subject from issues like Personhood and contraception that are absolutely burying Gardner's campaign. For just one example of how women's issues are crippling Gardner, take a look at Shaun Boyd's fact check of a Gardner ad for CBS4 Denver that we discussed yesterday. As Boyd concluded in her story:

Finally, you should know that Gardner is sponsor of a federal Personhood measure that could outlaw many types of birth control including the pill. Bottom line, this isn't about birth control, it's about the female vote. Cory Gardner wants to be seen as pro-women, but his overall record on birth control is not the best example of that.

So, if you're Karl Rove and you want to help Gardner try to prevent a mass exodus of female voters, what do you do? Why, you talk about how Udall voted against the Keystone Pipeline, of course! The entire premise of the ad is absurd, to be sure, but the Keystone Pipeline reference is really the icing on this crappy cake; we see four women standing around a kitchen talking about the election, and we're supposed to believe that they are primarily concerned with Udall's vote on an oil pipeline that won't come anywhere near Colorado? Yeah, right.

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Don Suppes Joins Ready, Dr. Chaps, in the “WTF Gang”

Don Suppes

TUESDAY UPDATE: It now appears as though both of Suppes' Twitter accounts (@DonSuppes and @DonSuppes2014) have been deactivated. Perhaps the links below were just the tip of the ol' Twitter iceberg for Suppes.

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UPDATE: Don Suppes appears to understand the problem with his social media posts, though it seems he is still trying to figure out how to deal with this problem. Earlier, we wrote that the Twitter accounts @DonSuppes2014 had been disabled, leaving only @DonSuppes as a Twitter account for the candidate. Well…now things have reversed, for some reason. The @DonSuppes account is inactive, but the @DonSuppes2014 accounts has been re-activated. In retrospect, perhaps Suppes should have just refrained from sharing stories about white supremacists and wild conspiracy theories altogether.

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TheWTF-Gang

Tom Ready, Don Suppes, Gordon Klingenschmitt, and Nate Marshall

Republican Don Suppes is running against Democrat Kerry Donovan in SD-5, a huge, meandering Senate district in central Colorado that is one of the most hotly-contested races in 2014.

Suppes is apparently the Mayor of a Western Colorado town called Orchard City, and he likes to say that he is the "most conservative mayor in Colorado." We don't know if that statement contains any truth to it or not, but we won't try to refute it since we've only been aware of the existence of Orchard City for a few hours now. However, we can confidently say that Suppes is not one of the smartest mayors in Colorado, and you'll probably agree after reading this. 

Suppes is the latest Republican candidate to join the group that we'll (not-so-affectionately) call "The WTF Gang" that includes Pueblo County Commissioner candidate Tom Ready; HD-15 Republican nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt; former HD-23 candidate Nate Marshall; and a host of other characters whose public statements are often met with a similar response from average Coloradans: "WTF are they talking about?"

Following on the heels of the recent idiocy perpetrated by Tom Ready comes a video (after the jump) in which it is revealed that Don Suppes has some, well, interesting, views on race and is really concerned about one of our favorite ridiculous conspiracy theories — the United Nations is coming to steal your guns treaty.  

Don Suppes Twitter

The Twitter account above was deleted sometime in the past few days.

Suppes only recently deleted the Twitter account @DonSuppes2014, presumably to try to scrub the Internet tubes of some horrifying links that the Orchard City Mayor thought were worth considering.

Just last May, for example, Suppes Tweeted the comments, "Interesting read," in linking to Suthenboy.com, a white-supremacist website that predicts "The South Shall Rise." 

You know what is really interesting about this, Don? That you would think nothing of sharing information about white supremacists as both a sitting mayor and a candidate for State Senate.

In conservative Tea Party parlance, which Ready and others have used before, "Interesting information" or "worth of discussion" has become the conversational equivalent of saying "No offense" before saying something mean and/or inappropriate to another person. Check out the video after the jump for more of Suppes' "ideas."

 

 

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NextGen Climate Releases New Television Ad: “Choices”

(The wrath of Tom – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

NextGen Climate today launched its second television ad against Congressman Gardner, highlighting his extreme positions on issues ranging from climate to women’s health.

The 30-second ad, titled “Choices,” delves into decisions Coloradans face, and the choices Congressman Gardner wants to make for them.

“From the doctor’s office to Colorado’s environment, Congressman Gardner consistently puts his extreme views ahead of those of Coloradans,” said Abby Leeper, spokesperson for NextGen Climate Colorado. “No matter how hard he tries, he can’t outrun his voting record, which has been far outside the mainstream. We’re confident that Coloradans will reject Congressman Gardner and his far right record.”

The ad highlights Gardner’s ongoing support for a federal personhood measure and his polluter-friendly voting history including; his vote to repeal EPA findings on the harmful effects of carbon pollution; and his vote to allow unlimited pollution from power plants while taxpayers and our kids pay the price.

For more information, visit www.KeepCoryOut.com 

Monsanto Operatives Threaten Lawsuit, Illegally film Citizen Panelists

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Proposition 105, the GMO Labelling Initiative, will be on your Colorado ballot in November 2014. Proposition 105 is not a ban on GMO products – it asks voters if foods modified or treated with genetically modified materials should be labeled “Produced With Genetic Engineering” starting July 1, 2016. To view the official ballet language visit www.righttoknowcolorado.org.

As part of the initiative review process, a Citizens Initiative Review panel was selected, and began meeting in September 2014.  The intent of the CIR process is to produce a nonpartisan "voter guide" with pro and con statements about a given ballot initiative. 

Then, Monsanto sent in a camera crew and legal representatives to film citizen participants, possibly to gain material for their own anti-Prop 105 advertising. Here's the story as told on the Natural Grocers blog.

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Caption This Photo: ¡Los Dos Payasos!

This weekend at an event in downtown Denver, what will surely go down as one of the most memorable images of the 2014 election season in Colorado was recorded for posterity and forwarded to us. The event was the Fiestas Patrias festival in Denver's Civic Center Park, celebrating Mexico's Independence Day. The candidate was GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez.

The unforgettable photo was made possible by Bob's friend Ronald McDonald.

beauprezclowns

Ordinarily, we would say a photo like this should never, ever see the light of day, as long as the politician depicted in said photo retained any desire to ever be elected to political office again.

But folks, this is the politician who allowed himself to be photographed in a black hat next to a horse's ass.

And apparently, eight years of ridicule taught Beauprez no lessons on being more careful with one's image.

So don't feel bad about the captions, gentle reader. He's got them all coming.

Ethics Watch Calls Out Coffman’s Frequent Franking

coffmanfrankmilitary

A press release today from Colorado Ethics Watch announces that group's request for an investigation by the U.S. Office of Congressional Ethics of GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, citing what they consider excessively heavy–and excessively political–use of the so-called "franking privilege," or free mailings to constituents that aren't supposed to be related to electioneering.

In Coffman's case, Ethics Watch alleges, the franking has gone well beyond any reasonable level:

Today, Colorado Ethics Watch asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to determine whether Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) abused the Congressional franking privilege, using tax dollars to support his re-election campaign.

Between January 2013 and the present, residents of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District have been receiving unsolicited “Official Mail” from Rep. Coffman, which has cost the taxpayers in excess of $260,000.  Ethics Watch’s request asks the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate evidence that the majority of the unsolicited mass mail is for political rather than official purposes, noting that the timing and increased frequency is likely in response to Rep. Coffman having a challenger for the 6th District, former Speaker of the Colorado House Andrew Romanoff. 

Before the race became competitive, Rep. Coffman used the franking privilege properly to communicate information about services and specific accomplishments as a Member of Congress.  After the race became competitive, Coffman went from being Rep. Coffman to candidate Coffman.  Instead of talking about specifics, the mail turned into campaign pieces meant to persuade the reader.  

“If you compare the pieces of mass mail the Congressman sent before he had a legitimate opponent for CD-6 and after he had a competitive race with the entry of Romanoff, it does not pass the smell test,” said Luis Toro, Director of Ethics Watch.  “Any reader who compares the pieces, as the Congressional Franking Commission should have, can tell when Congressman Coffman changed his tactics."

Coffman's total expenditures on franking communications with his constituents since 2013 appear to be well in excess of the average among members of Congress who send mass mailings at all (only 80% or so do accounting to the Congressional Research Service). But in addition to that, Ethics Watch says the content of Coffman's taxpayer-funded mailings is unacceptably close to Coffman's campaign message materials for re-election.

The fact is, most members of Congress take advantage of the franking privilege. But the combination of Coffman's far heavier use of taxpayer-funded mailings since his district became more competitive in the 2011 redistricting process, with what certainly looks to us to be a straightforward election-season message…well, yes. We could see the Office of Congressional Ethics reasonably taking an interest in this complaint.

Even if they don't, or more likely don't before the election, it's another bit of evidence of Coffman's deep concerns about survival in a district that no longer fits his brand of beet-red conservative politics. Coffman barely stayed alive in 2012 against a comparatively weak opponent, and even with a major PR offensive with his new constituents, 2014 is looking like the fight of Coffman's political life–with a very good possibility of unemployment in January.

Obviously, if the PR offensive itself becomes a scandal, that won't help.

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Deleted article stubbornly remains in library’s Denver Post digital archive

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I was perusing the Denver Public Library’s Denver Post archive, on NewsBank, and smiled when I saw an article by former Post reporter Kurtis Lee titled, "Coffman shifts on abortion, personhood."

That's the story Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett removed from the Post's website hours after it was published April 16.

I clicked on the article, and there it was, complete and unabridged. It noted that "not long ago, Coffman won praise from hard-line pro-life groups for his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and support of personhood initiatives that effectively would have outlawed abortion in Colorado." And it included Coffman's response when asked to elaborate on why he abandoned his longstanding support for a personhood abortion ban: "There are parts of it that are simply unintended. … I think it's too overbroad and that the voters have spoken."

You recall the short-lived publication of the piece unleashed long-winded criticism from progressives, and, to his credit, Plunkett responded with blog posts of his own, explaining his decision to un-publish the piece and offering Coffman's quotes and other new information in the disappeared article. But Lee's original piece was never re-published on The Post's website or in the newspaper.

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Denver Post For Sale: Anschutz? Polis? Gill? Citizen Kane?

denverpost

Fascinating speculation on the possible fate of the state's newspaper of record The Denver Post, via Aldo Svaldi:

Digital First Media's decision to pursue "strategic alternatives," including a possible sale, could result in The Denver Post, and 13 smaller newspapers in the state, operating under local ownership by early next year, media analysts predict…

Rick Edmonds, an analyst with The Poynter Institute, said wealthy investors have purchased the flagship newspapers in Washington, Boston, Minneapolis and Anchorage, Alaska, under what he calls the "Black Beauty" strategy.

"You might end up with a nice owner who gives you a warm stall," he said. "There are good odds that there might be someone in Denver and San Jose who would have that feeling."

The person most likely to fill that bill in Colorado is Philip Anschutz, whose holdings include The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City and The Gazette in Colorado Springs, predicts Mutter.

If that sends a shiver down your left-leaning spine, you may not be alone:

A bid by Anschutz, known for his conservative views, could potentially trigger a rival offer from millionaires on the other side of the political spectrum.

They include Internet entrepreneur turned Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, and Tim Gill, who made his fortune in software publishing program Quark.

Svaldi reports that wealthy Rep. Jared Polis was "coy" when asked about the possibility of buying the Denver Post. We're not privy to any discussion about this one way or the other, although news of the Post going up for sale was not itself a surprise. It's no secret that the newspaper business has been in decline for many years, and digital revenues haven't replaced the old subscription model enough to keep them profitable. Meanwhile, competition from other media for long-format detailed coverage via online publishing has eaten away at the major newspaper's traditional role as the principal contemporary historical record.

That said, acquisition of institutions like our state's biggest newspaper for any ideological purpose, left or right, could reasonably be considered troubling to those who would like to simply get straight undoctored news. That may be as old a fear as William Randolph Hearst, and partisan Denver Post political news editor Chuck Plunkett may have rendered the question irrelevant for time being anyway–but that doesn't make it sit much better with us. We can say that the Colorado Springs Gazette, a major daily paper in Colorado owned by Anschutz, has a newsroom that in our experience unflinchingly covers bad stories Republicans like Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt. The editorial board of the Gazette is conservative, but so is the market they serve.

One thing's for sure: we can't afford to buy the Post. Perhaps we'll buy a lottery ticket.

Jefferson County Democrats honor Mary Ann and Dennis Larsen with Lifetime Achievment award

The Annual Jefferson County Democratic party of Colorado is having it’s 40th annual Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner. At this Dinner, the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was given to Mary Ann and Dennis Larson.
I asked them what this meant to them.

Question “Why is this so important to you, why does this inspire you to work for the Democrats?”

Mary Ann Larsen

When we moved here, I can remember the spot where I was, I was driving and I heard that there was some people in Congress who said that
‘No, Women don’t deserve Equal Rights’
and I stopped my car and I said
‘Am I not a human being?’
‘Am I not a citizen of the United States?’

Why do I have to spend my time and my money to fight for something that should just be mine. That was the turning point for me.
I want something better for my daughters, granddaughters and all the other women of the World.

Dennis Larsen

With Regards to Veterans, I’ve always been concerned with how they are treated after they’ve left service.
(I’ve worked on) Getting people that are like minded that want to support candidates that support Veterans issues.

Question
“How has this area changed since you moved here”

Dennis Larsen

When we first moved to this area, (Jefferson County) you could not get elected as a Democrat.

Mary Ann Larsen

There have been a lot of good leaders in the Jeffco Democrats and I want to thank everyone of them and I want to thank all of the politicians.

Dennis Larsen

We really feel privileged that we have been given the honor to represent all of the volunteers that are out there because they’re hard working and they’ve given a lot of their time and even their money to make this a better World.
Because of the honor that has been bestowed upon we give thanks to the Democratic Party of Jefferson County.

Big Line Updates: Udall, Romanoff Growing Lead

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we'll be updating The Big Line on a weekly basis.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado:

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

We don't see either Udall or Gov. John Hickelooper losing in November, but for the first time, we have Udall as a slightly bigger favorite in his respective race. Gardner's campaign has been an absolute mess, and national politicos and reporters are coalescing around the idea that Udall is in the driver's seat now.

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

We have this race tightening a little as Gov. Hickenlooper works his way out of a summer-long campaign funk. For Beauprez, this comes down to a lack of time — too much needs to happen in the next 4-6 weeks for Beauprez to have a realistic shot at knocking off Hickenlooper.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has not had a good month, but he's still favored to beat Democrat Betsy Markey. Meanwhile, we have the AG and SOS races as toss-ups at this point, primarily because it's difficult to determine whether any of the candidates can do much to control their own destiny; the amount of money pouring into the races for Senate, Governor, and CD-6 will make it nigh impossible for lower-tier statewide candidates to get their message out.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior of late. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff has nudged ahead as Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

Boyles says “illegals” bring “bed bugs” and “weird” disease to America

(The always classy Peter Boyles – promoted by Colorado Pols)

KNUS talk-show host Peter Boyles continues to find new ways to bottom feed on KNUS 710-AM in the mornings, saying Thursday that "illegals" are bringing weird "respiratory diseases" and "bed bugs" into America.

Boyles: I am not convinced this weird disease that’s hitting the little kids across the country. There’s stuff that hasn’t been—like bed bugs. That stuff hasn’t been in this country. Bed bugs are back. This disease. Respiratory diseases. And it’s coming in with the illegals. Of course it is.

Caller: And our kids are not used to that—

Boyles: Of course they’re not—

Caller: Because they haven’t grown up with those viruses. And their bodies haven’t had the chance to react.

Boyles: It’s like introducing alcohol to the Native Americans. They didn’t have it. It killed them. Bob, I love your call. This is insanity. It’s absolute insanity.

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