POLITICO Playbook: GAME DAY! Fox plots tough Qs — POLITICO POSTGAME: Join our livestream at 11 p.m.
DRIVING THE DAY: FIGHT NIGHT! Preseason ends at 9 p.m. — “5 things to watch: Several rival campaigns say they’re expecting Donald Trump to be on his best behavior. But they have contingency plans just in case he’s not,” by Alex Isenstadt in Cleveland: “1. The Trump scouting report … 2. Jeb vs. the world … 3. The education of Scott Walker … 4. Christie vs. Rand … 5. Moderators itching for a fight.” http://politi.co/1KSz3YD
THE BIG PICTURE — “How Jeb and the GOP Got Trumped: The establishment wanted a sweet ‘16, not a 17-candidate pileup. Here’s what happened,” by Glenn Thrush and Alex Isenstadt: “Trump’s rise has coincided Bush’s awkward return to the national stage, and he has proven to be gaffe-prone … The party’s conservative primary voters remain lukewarm and as importantly, he hasn’t scared rivals out of the race despite a massive $100 million-plus fundraising haul … As much as anything, this is the story of 2016 so far. The proliferation of 17 candidates-a mob so big it needed to be subdivided into two separate debates-is a symptom of a deeper dynamic-the absence of a true frontrunner capable of uniting the party. …
“Trump is besting Bush so far, but it’s hardly a lock that this is anything more than summer fling. So far, The Donald has been immune from the backlash that typically kills mouth-driven campaigns … But he shares a characteristic with all those lesser-known candidates who have also flooded in: … He sees a vacuum at the top.” http://politi.co/1IJtTYd
— “Big GOP donors uncommitted before debate,” by Tarini Parti, Ken Vogel and Theo Meyer: “Only 10 of the top Republican donors from the 2014 cycle have so far contributed at least $1 million to the presidential hopefuls and the outside groups … 45 deep-pocketed donors who didn’t give much in 2014 have stepped up and written those checks early in the race, including Toby Neugebauer, co-founder of a private equity firm and son of GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas, energy company executive Kelcy Warren and Dallas entrepreneur Darwin Deason.” http://politi.co/1HsIFSn
NEW THIS A.M.: “Top five most talked about political topics on Facebook in the U.S.,” per Andy Stone of Facebook Policy Communications: “1. Racial issues … 2. Mexico … 3. The economy … 4. LGBT issues … 5. Immigration.”
PLAYBOOK BREAKFAST, livestreaming at 8: Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald marks one year in office by telling us about the “customer-service” approach he is taking to straightening out veterans’ health care, his plans for the remaining backlog of 110,025 cases, and why he gave out his real cellphone number on live TV.
— Then at 8:45: DAVID BROCK, who has proudly embraced Maureen’s description of him as the “rabid defender” of Hillary Clinton,” will talk media bias, Clinton strategery, and the left’s new tools for 2016. www.politico.com/livestream
Good Thursday morning. Alex Isenstadt sends Playbookers a postcard on the scene in Cleveland, ahead of tonight’stwo-hour 9 p.m. debate in “The Q” — Quicken Loans Arena, which will also be the site of next summer’s Republican National Convention: “The political universe gathered in downtown Cleveland for pre-debate parties. First up was a Facebook-sponsored party at Society Lounge, where attendees ate bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese and bruschetta. Among those gathered: Peter Hamby, Sara Sendek, Scott Sendek, Dylan Byers, Rob Saliterman, Zeke Miller, Rick Gorka, Rick Wiley, Katie Harbath, Benny Johnson, Alex Skatell, Michelle Jaconi, Tim Cameron, Daniel Huey, Chris Schrimpf, Brittney Bramell and Sara Armstrong. Then, the party moved across the street to Lola, for a GOPAC-sponsored gathering.”
SPOTTED there: GOPAC Chairman David Avella, American Freedom Builders’ John McClelland, Kirsten Powers, Kristen Soltis Anderson, David Drucker, Rick Santorum, Todd Harris, Jason Roe, Anna Epstein, Christian Ferry, Caitlin Huey Burns, Alexis Levinson, Jon Ward, Jenna Gibson of CBS, Megan Brown, Julie Talarico, Alice Stewart, Rob Saliterman, Peter Hamby, Natalie Cucchiara, Chris Wilson, Tory Maguire, Molly O’Driscoll, Danny O’Driscoll, Chris Byrne, Jeff Miller, Michael Beach, Zac Moffatt, Amos Snead, Vincent Harris, Abe Adams, Scott Conroy, Kevin Sheridan, Michael Steel, Gerrit Lansing, Kurt Luidhart, Ryan Meerstein.
POLITICO POSTGAME: Tonight at 11! Hop on POLITICO.com or click our livestream link on Twitter to see our after-action reports, with sneak peeks at stories posting in the morning. Mike Allen is ringmaster from World HQ in Rosslyn (our first live shot from the new newsroom), Manu Raju checks in from Cleveland, and the last-call patrons in our virtual bar include Isaac Dovere, Lauren French, Hadas Gold, Anna Palmer, Glenn Thrush and more. Plus your tweets and emails. (And maybe the return of CharlieCam™.) Matt Sobocinski makes it all possible.
— POLITICO Debate Central http://politi.co/1K4KO8E
SOCCER MEETS GOP — MATTHEW MILLER, partner at Vianovo and former DOJ and DSCC, on Medium, “What if each GOP Presidential Candidate was an English Premier League Team?”: “The First Tier … Jeb Bush-Manchester United. A once-storied brand that has fallen on hard times … Donald Trump-Chelsea. Brash and obnoxious, they are largely despised by the rest of the league … Scott Walker-Manchester City. This blue-collar team from a working class region of the country has risen rapidly … Marco Rubio-Arsenal. On their day the most captivating team in the league, they can also be the most disappointing. http://bit.ly/1P7DbTm
FIRST LOOK — Hillary for America video, “#GOPTBT — Throwback Thursday debate” http://bit.ly/1IYoIKh
TWEETS DU JOUR — @RandPaul: “It’s vital to have a good meal before [the] @FoxNews debate and this is just the appetizer! #GOPDebate.” http://bit.ly/1W388g6
— @ZekeJMiller: “Hillary Clinton won’t be watching the debate live, per campaign staff — she’ll be on a plane.”
— @HenryJGomez: “Rick Perry visited Johnny’s Little Bar in Cleveland this afternoon. Best burger in town.”
— @alexis_levinson: “It’s paleo night at the restaurant where Rubio’s holding his rally in Cleveland. Jeb could grab dinner here.” http://bit.ly/1K4CZjq
** A message from Qualcomm: Mobile data usage is exploding. The mobile industry is preparing for a 1000x increase. Qualcomm is developing solutions to meet this challenge. By inventing technologies that create as much capacity as possible for consumers, we hope to meet, and actually exceed, the world’s wireless data needs. Why Wait™. http://bit.ly/1Gw9FCU **
JEB PLAYBOOK — Be the adult.
MARCO PLAYBOOK — Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan to email supporters this morning: “Marco’s strategy tonight is to stay positive, and talk about his vision for a New American Century. He will offer ideas to create more good-paying 21st Century jobs and help people get the education and skills they need for those jobs. He’ll talk about the need for American leadership around the world, and the need for a strong national defense. With millions of people watching, Marco will share his family’s American journey: Only in America can the son of a bartender and a maid stand on the same presidential debate stage as those born into wealth and power.”
WALKER PLAYBOOK — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Mary Spicuzza and Patrick Marley: “Walker has a premier spot … next to … Trump, who has … spent some of his time trashing Walker … Bush — another frequent target for Trump — is to stand on Trump’s other side … Though Walker could take some incoming fire, he is not expected to return in kind. He has limited his criticisms of other candidates and said he will focus on telling voters what he stands for. …
“Walker will start his day … by kicking off the Wisconsin State Fair. From there, he will head to Cleveland … He is also making a campaign stop at a Cleveland restaurant on Friday, underscoring the importance of Ohio.” http://bit.ly/1MQYsl1
FIRST LOOK — 2016 PLAYERS: “Matt Connelly begins as traveling press secretary for Governor Walker and his first trip is to the #GOPDebate in Cleveland. Matt Connelly most recently served as the press secretary at the NRSC for the 2016 cycle and for Cory Gardner’s successful 2014 Senate campaign. He is a veteran of the RNC where he was a regional press secretary during the 2012 presidential campaign and also worked on Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign.”
INSIDE FOX PREPS: Pep talk from Roger — N.Y. Times p. A19, “Fox News Moderators Look for Ways to Keep 10 Candidates on Their Toes,” by Ashley Parker in Cleveland: “To keep the debate on schedule, the Fox team was … discussing … the actual shot clock buzzer used during Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games … ‘You could make it about synergy in that arena: Use the very same buzzer that LeBron James hears on the court when the shot clock runs out,’ said [Bret] Baier …
“The moderators have spent weeks writing (and rewriting) about 100 potential questions, roughly half of which will actually be asked. … [T]hey have eight to 10 broad topics they plan to raise, including immigration and the economy … ‘Everyday I spend a fair amount of time on my iPhone tightening them, … further researching them, bolstering them, eliminating them,” [Megyn] Kelly said. …
“In addition to the buzzer, the network will have a staff member in the control room with a stopwatch, … making sure that everyone is receiving roughly equal … time. … [T]he moderators dialed into a New York editorial meeting led by Roger Ailes[:] ‘Fifty years ago, the broadcast networks owned politics and the presidential debates, and now our one cable channel that we built less than 20 years ago  is where everyone turns to watch these events.’” http://nyti.ms/1IJe3Nn
COVERING THE COVERAGE — MSNBC’s debate plans: “MSNBC will be live from East Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland. Andrea Mitchell will host ‘Andrea Mitchell Reports’ (12–1 p.m. ET) and Steve Kornacki will host ‘MSNBC Live’ (4–5 p.m. ET). Then, Chris Matthews … two-hour edition of ‘Hardball’ (7–9 p.m. ET) and … a live post-debate ‘Hardball’ (11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET). On Friday morning, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist will be live from Flannery’s Pub.”
WHERE THEY STAND — “The GOP 17: How to tell them part,” by Timothy Noah: “disagreement on … immigration, trade, education, minimum wage and … ethanol subsidies. Squint a little, and the GOP 17 start to emerge as individual people who differ not just in personality but also in their ideas about how to govern. Those differences could become magnified with a fickle GOP base that is ready for fresh blood — and looking for reasons to dismiss candidates.” http://politi.co/1ImRxg0
50 YEARS AGO TODAY: LBJ signed Voting Rights Act — Donna Brazile emails: “Doing a tweet session, conf call and visit to White House where POTUS will make remarks. Marking the day trying to help reshape the landscape for the future. Sent from Donna’s I Pad.”
70 YEARS AGO TODAY — AP: “On August 6, 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, resulting in an estimated 140,000 deaths. (Three days later, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki; five days after that, Imperial Japan announced its surrender.)”
— “AP was there”: original dispatches http://yhoo.it/1Dw9ie5
— Next day’s N.Y. Times, “FIRST ATOMIC BOMB DROPPED ON JAPAN; MISSILE IS EQUAL TO 20,000 TONS OF TNT; TRUMAN WARNS FOE OF A ‘RAIN OF RUIN’: NEW AGE USHERED … The announcement, first given to the world in utmost solemnity by President Truman, made it plain that one of the scientific landmarks of the century had been passed, and that the ‘age of atomic energy’ … was at hand.” See the page. http://bit.ly/1MOxYBA
SUNDAY is 1st anniversary of Ferguson — NYT Quote of the Day, SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-Mo.) on the year since Ferguson was torn by unrest: “A lot of pent-up frustration has now really come forward, and that doesn’t get well in 12 months.”
— NYT’s Monica Davey on p. A1, “Ferguson Sees Change, but Asks if It’s Real: Year After the Killing, Reforms Are Matched by Doubts.” http://nyti.ms/1Mcf6fT
“JON STEWART” MARATHON: Classic “Daily Show” episodes run continuously all day on Comedy Central, 10:28 a.m. to 8:56 p.m.
— FINAL EPISODE at 11 p.m. — The Wrap’s Tony Maglio: “Stewart’s final … episode is set to run about [50 min., which is] 20 minutes longer than normal … [A] one-hour special, ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: News Your Own Adventure’ [airs at 9:20 a.m. and 8:56 p.m.] … Stewart started as host on Jan. 11, 1999. South African comedian Trevor Noah will take over … Sept. 28.” http://bit.ly/1IYqKdo
— LATE-NIGHT BEST — “[Jon] Stewart Realizes That Despite Web Headlines, He Didn’t Actually ‘Eviscerate’ Anyone” — Video http://bit.ly/1SRCTWq
FOURTH QUARTER — WSJ 5-col. lead, “Obama Frames Iran Deal as Choice: Diplomacy or War,” by Carol Lee: “Obama’s nearly hour-long speech at American University was aimed less at winning over critics … and more at giving Democrats a salable defense … The president was at times acerbic in dismissing critics’ assertions, … and those critics later returned fire angrily. The exchange set an unusual tone for a debate on an important foreign-policy issue.” http://on.wsj.com/1IYoRO6
— HAPPENING TODAY: CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviews Obama about the Iran deal for “GPS,” airing Sunday.
IF YOU ONLY CLICK 1 THING — Vanity Fair September issue, “The devil and Chelsea Clinton … A Clinton to the Core … How Chelsea Clinton Took Charge of Clintonworld,” by Evgenia Peretz: “Gone is the Chelsea who tried to blend in as just another Stanford-educated grind. She has fully embraced being a Clinton and is now deliberately, willfully, on the road to greatness. She recently admitted that running for office one day is ‘absolutely’ a possibility. … But the question of whether Chelsea can lead remains to be seen, and if ever there were a moment to show some creative vision, it would be now.” http://vnty.fr/1KS5mEe
— WashPost A4, “Trump talked politics with Bill Clinton weeks before bid,” by WashPost’s Robert Costa and Anne Gearan: “Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump … Trump allies and one Clinton associate … said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape. … [I]’s almost impossible to imagine Chelsea forgoing the chance to have a major hand in her mother’s administration. As a source close to the Clintons points out, ‘The ultimate foundation is the U.S. government.’” http://wapo.st/1MccH4A
INSIDE HILLARYLND — “Clinton confronts her negatives: There aren’t any outward signs of panic, but the Clinton campaign has made a $2 million, early-state ad buy featuring biography-heavy commercials,” by Gabe Debenedetti and Annie Karni: “From June through July, she’s gone from 44 percent favorability to 37 percent — a shift that saw her net favorable score go from +4 to -11 — and Quinnipiac surveys show a similar fall, from 45 percent to 40 percent. …
“Clinton aides … privately acknowledge concern about her inability to control the narratives that drive national coverage … but they insist that she’s in good shape as long as she continues to lead her potential GOP rivals in nationwide polls. …
“On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, top Clinton campaign strategist Joel Benenson attributed the dip to the candidate’s return to full-time politics … and also to unfavorable and at times adversarial news coverage … Clinton has ratcheted up her anti-Republican rhetoric on the campaign trail, repeatedly attacking Bush, Walker and other … GOP … candidates.” http://politi.co/1eUy7Vn
AIR WAR — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, bottom of p. 1A, “Walker super PAC plans $7 million ad buy: Blitz of television and radio spots planned for Iowa,” by Mary Spicuzza and Patrick Marley: “Unintimidated PAC … ads are scheduled to begin airing Sept. 8 in [six markets in] Iowa. … The $6.8 million buy also includes cable TV and statewide radio … The group also is planning major ad buys in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada … in the next few weeks.” http://bit.ly/1MQYsl1
TRAIL MIX — “Despite denials, … Walker was target of probe in 2011 ,” by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley and Jason Stein: “Walker was under criminal investigation … for misconduct in office — even as he insisted he wasn’t — over a proposed real estate deal when he was Milwaukee County executive, according to records filed Wednesday in federal court.” http://bit.ly/1gLITPs
— “Head of pro-Rand Paul super PAC indicted in payment scheme,” by Kyle Cheney, Manu Raju and Daniel Strauss: “Paul’s … campaign … struck a defiant tone, … calling the Justice Department’s indictment of a longtime Paul confidant ‘suspiciously timed’ for the eve of a presidential debate, while declining to address the substance of the charges. … Jesse Benton … was indicted … on charges that he bribed an Iowa state senator in 2011 to shift allegiances to Paul’s father, Ron.” http://politi.co/1W38Eef
MONEY HONEYS — “Walker prevails in Koch donor straw poll [in Dana Point last weekend],” by Ken Vogel: “In a closed-door session that included about 100 donors, … Frank Luntz asked donors to clap to indicate their choice for the Republican Party’s nomination. … Walker got the most applause, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who received roughly the same amount … The next most applause was for … Carly Fiorina.” http://politi.co/1M6x1mB
WHAT IOWA IS READING — Des Moines Register: “Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen … will return for the 2016 legislative session as a rank-and-file member to finish out his term. He will not seek re-election. The Republican was elected to the House in 2002 and became speaker in 2011.” http://dmreg.co/1hkwimr
HOUSE 2016 — “Chris Matthews’ wife Kathleen to air campaign ads … in Maryland,” by Hadas Gold and Kevin Robillard: “Kathleen is running in the Democratic primary to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s D.C. suburbs; her campaign has bought space during [the] GOP presidential debate on MSNBC, as well as Fox News and CNN.” http://politi.co/1MOkkyr The ad http://bit.ly/1Ilya79
VALLEY TALK — “Facebook launches feature to allow businesses to privately message users,” by Reuters’ Yasmeen Abutaleb: “Businesses can now include a ‘send message’ button in ads that appear in Newsfeed that allow Facebook users to click a button and send [private] messages … If users post a comment on a business’ Facebook page, then the business can privately message that person.” http://reut.rs/1Irj8L6
MEDIAWATCH — POLITICO launches in Florida and New Jersey, with Capital New York renamed Politico New York — Josh Benson, Tom McGeveran and Katherine Lehr to email the staff this AM: “As of this morning, you can officially add POLITICOs in Florida and New Jersey to the company’s growing list of outposts. Today’s soft launches in the states coincide with the renaming of Capital New York and the merging of POLITICO and Capital’s media desks. The new state teams in Tallahassee and Trenton are already looking unbeatable, with Marc Caputo, Matt Dixon, Christine Sexton, Jessica Bakeman and Bruce Ritchie in Florida, and Ryan Hutchins, Matt Friedman, Conor Skelding and David Giambusso in New Jersey …
“Before the end of the year we will also have launched Playbooks in Illinois, California and Massachusetts … with yet more … in 2016.
— “TMZ About to Get Taste of Own Bitter Medicine … From The New Yorker,” by Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni and Chris Gardner: “The New Yorker is finalizing its own aggressive exposé — more than a year in the works — about the unorthodox reporting tactics of the Warner Bros.-owned TMZ and its controversial founder. [Harvey] Levin, 64, has been warning TMZ employees both past and present not to speak to writer Nicholas Schmidle, whose … previous subjects include the hunt for Osama bin Laden … and war crimes in Kosovo.” http://bit.ly/1W37ajV
COMMERCE DEPARTURE LOUNGE — Stephanie Valencia emails friends and colleagues: “After nearly 8 years in the Obama Administration and 20 months at the Department of Commerce [Wednesday] is my last day. … The last 8 years have been a long and crazy ride filled with many ups and downs, little sleep and lots of laughter, but mostly I am beyond grateful that a little girl from a small town in New Mexico had the opportunity to serve in this way. I will be staying in DC.”
TRANSITIONS — The Hamilton Project names Diane Schanzenbach as its new director: “Schanzenbach … will also [be] a senior fellow in Brookings’ Economic Studies program. Schanzenbach … is an associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.” http://bit.ly/1ImOzbx
SPORTS BLINK — Boston Globe p. A1, Ben Volin on Football column, “Bit by bit, [4,120 pages of] e-mail fleshes out a portrait of Brady”: “Brady went skiing in Montana after the Super Bowl, had a super secret meeting with members of the Vancouver Canucks, and spent more than $8,500 on a winter pool cover. Oh, so this is why Brady didn’t want to hand over his cellphone.
“All those minute facts … became public … when the NFL Players Association refiled an amended lawsuit against the NFL on Brady’s behalf. … He e-mailed back and forth with a specialist from designer Tom Ford, talking about size 12½ or 13 sneakers.” http://bit.ly/1E9TKaF See Brady emails. http://bit.ly/1Dslb4Y
ENGAGED: McCarthy alum and Franklin Square Capital Partners flack Erica Elliott and City of London Alderman Matthew Richardson got engaged Tuesday while on holiday in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Richardson proposed in the infinity pool overlooking the resort, following a morning of scuba diving, while the couple’s butler, Andrew, secretly filmed the entire proposal. The couple plans to wed in London in May 2016. Pic of the couple at the City of London State Banquet for the President of Mexico earlier this year http://bit.ly/1Mcd6En The ring http://bit.ly/1McdaUF
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): PBS Newshour’s James Blue … Matt Anderson, Obama Treasury alum and NYDFS spokesman (h/t Mark Paustenabch) … (was Tue.): Benenson Strategy Group’s Pete Brodnitz
BIRTHDAYS: Malika Saada Saar, the founder and executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights (hat tip: Autumn) … NYT’s Neil Irwin … David Maraniss, the pride of Madison, Wis., is 66 … Pete Snyder (h/ts Burson, Matt Mackowiak) … Jared Wise (h/t Deckard) … J.T. Rethmeier is 11, celebrating with friends on Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo (h/t Dad, Blain) … Tom Brandt, comms. director for House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins … Erin Karriker, design director at House Republican Conference … Lindsay Bembenek … Corey Jacobson of Rep. Ted Lieu’s office (h/t Katie Glueck) … Ally Freeman … Judicial Watch’s Jill Farrell … Jonathan Riskind, director of public affairs for American Council on Education … Anna Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice … “NewsHour” senior broadcast producer Mike Melia enters a new age bracket today (h/t Patrick Gavin, Lissy Melia, Nick Massella) …
… Ben Wieder, reporter for the Center for Public Integrity … Marta Dehmlow Hernandez … Ashley Carter, grassroots director for Independent Women’s Forum … Cherie Paquette of Fox News’ D.C. bureau … Keith St. Clair, acting comms. director for D.C.’s Dept. of Transportation, a former L.A. bureau chief for AP (h/t wife Christie) … Tara Sonenshine, former Obama Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and now a Distinguished Fellow in the School of Media and Public Affairs at GWU (h/t Jon Haber) … Nitzan Pelman … Jeff Person is 2–5 … Lyndsey Wajert of the International Center for Journalists … Nicole Cohen, senior legislative assistant for Rep. Joseph Crowley … Rem Rieder of USA Today … Ambassador Bruce Laingen , a survivor of the Iranian hostage crisis … Scott Ogden … Michael R. Glennon … Adjoa Adofo, consultant at IR Media and Schakowsky alum …
… Jeffrey Lerner, EVP at DKC Public Relations and Obama and DNC alum … Marta Dehmlow … Amalia Stott … Mary Elgar … Mia Terry … Doug Mataconis … Amanda Brown, exec. director at National Women’s Business Council … Dr. Alan Lipman … Cameron Lynch … Michael Gill … Jenny Mayfield … Ellen Dadisman … David Nolte … Mike Friedman … children’s performer Ella Jenkins is 91 … actor Benito Martinez is 47 … rock singer Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes) is 34 … Eric Roberts (Gym Class Heroes) is 31 (h/ts AP)
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