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Why Ayers And ACORN Have No Traction

The deep linkages of Barack Obama to both a domestic terrorist and a fraudulent ACORN organization have been made in the minds of the public. They have. The problem is that it just doesn't matter to enough people to reflect in their choices and thus in polls. Sad? Yes. Despondently so. But a fact that should be the clarion call to young conservatives regardless of victory or defeat in three weeks' time.

Ben Smith at Politico has a friend who is a Republican consultant. He showed a Midwestern focus group a hard hitting ad linking domestic terrorist Bill Ayers to Obama.

They believed it. And they got it. It just didn't matter.

Smith's friend sent him one of the most incredulous and direct e-mails you will ever read describing their reactions.

The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President."

The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."

I felt like I was taking crazy pills. I sat on the other side of the glass and realized...this really is the Apocalypse. The Seventh Seal is broken and its time for eight years of pure, delicious crazy....

The problem for them, and surely many like them, is that in their minds McCain is Old School Washington, from whom 'Change' may be in fact more likely, but more difficult for them to believe. Likewise, Obama is perceived as New School (pardoning the Manhattan leftist pun), from whom even they admit the 'Change' will be for the worse, but it won't be Old School.

It matters not that one thinks Reagan wrested control of US businesses from... US businesses. And it matters not that the other will trade acknowledged links to domestic terrorists for additional government handouts.

The problem is two fold, from a leadership perspective.

  1. Elected Republicans failed to govern as conservatives over the past decade (or more), whether in or out of the White House or in the majority or minority of either of the two Houses of Congress.
  2. Elected Republicans and the Republican Party leadership have utterly failed at communicating with the American public, in large part because more often than not core conservative principles had been abandoned and they had left themselves without a compelling message to communicate in any regard. Result: Tune-out.

To compound our own problems, for whatever myriad explanations, rather than choose a compelling candidate, we Republicans instead left ourselves with the last man standing in their national primary process. And we selected a man, indeed an honorable man of solid character, from the current pool of elected DC politicians that have amassed single-digit approval ratings as a lot over the past year.

All of that above, pleasant contemplation or not, is precisely why more than just a few people think the way the two quoted in the email do. They understand the danger and they understand the associations. But it just doesn't matter to them.

Unlike the Democrat candidate, they don't likely think that America is the cause of all the world's problems. Unlike his wife, they haven't likely had the epiphany of being proud of their country "for the first time in [their] lifetime" only recently. They have simply tuned out.

And that falls directly on Republican Party leadership and the principled professional conduct (or lack thereof) of those elected to represent us. And when those two fade and fail, communication is impossible, for words no longer possess the resonance of conviction.

Regardless of what happens on election day, these failures will not and cannot be corrected simply with a McCain victory and Obama defeat. We will have averted disaster while still owning an organizational mess. These failures will remain to be addressed.

And if the goal is to reach, inspire and impact those relegated to silence in the years since Ronald Reagan, it must be recognized that only fresh, new voices can carry that message (not to necessarily be confused with young voices, but simply fresh and new.)

And if this is not the goal, may our children forgive us for what we are about to cede that should have been rightfully theirs to inherit, just as we did and our fathers before us.


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Comments (32)

There's a simpler way of ma... (Below threshold)

There's a simpler way of making the point: most undecideds don't know what to make of Obama's connection to Ayers/ACORN as the whole thing comes across as muddy, with the GOP screaming and the Democrats deflecting... and even if it were spelled out for them, these voters consider these relationships as secondary, and very much so, to the good they think they're going to get from Obama becoming President.

They're going inflict Obama... (Below threshold)

They're going inflict Obama on all of us for 4 years in order to punish Bush who will be in Texas in 3 months regardless.

During the Clinton Impeachm... (Below threshold)

During the Clinton Impeachment, a friend from Canada told me, "Your President broke the law, and you're going to let him get away with it because the economy is doing well." I agreed.

That's where the country is. That is how low the country has sunk.

Ayers and ACORN don't matter. Many average voters see a recession coming, and they blame the republicans for that recession. Since Senator Obama at least gives the appearance of caring about the economy while Senator McCain appears to be clueless, nothing else matters. You could produce a video of Obama giving cocaine to a 15-year old in exchange for sex, and the country will still elect him if they think that he can fix the economy.

Give it up, folks. The Ayers/ACORN/Wright business would have gained ground a few weeks ago. With the economy going down the drain, it's just noise.

I have to disagree with you... (Below threshold)

I have to disagree with your analysis. The attacks backfired because 1: There is no connection between Ayers and Obama and 2: There is no connection between Obama and Acorn.

The more McBush lies about it, the worse his approval ratings get. Plain and simple.

Steve - Do either ... (Below threshold)
Steve Schippert:

Steve -

Do either of the two quoted sound undecided? No.

And in any event, I am of the mind that focusing on undecideds - who may or may not be able to choose between an anchor or a raft when treading water astride the Titanic - as they key to winning an election comfortably deflects the cause on them, when the cause is on why they are undecided in the first place.

There will always be a number of undecideds. But the fact that the number is larger every presidential election cycle reflects a failure of the Republican Party to communicate with them and resonate with them compellingly between elections.

And that is the result of a lack of conservatism, an inevitable effect when conservatives cede Party control and direction to 'political strategists' who focus more on 'winning' rather than why there is the need to win. That's when the rudder gets (and has been) skewed.

It is intellectually lazy to blame the failure to resonate on Democrat Party hacks, lies, or whatever anyone wants to characterize it as. The opposition is to be expected to keep trying and learning.

And I am not espousing a Brother John Birch movement in the least. I am simply talking about a return to core conservatism founded upon the principles of smaller government (which means the courage to say 'no' and 'no more'), low taxation, the preservation and defense of liberty, and the defense of free enterprise based on equal opportunity not equally guaranteed outcomes or the insulation from failure.

That these principles, the very core of our founding, now are now popularly characterized as 'radically' conservative is a reflection of our ceding the initiative and the narrative. As is the popularly held definition of Conservative as simply 'Right-Wing' as opposed to an adherence to the Constitution, as well as the perception that 'conservative' is somehow more 'radical' than the concept of socialism in spite of an ignored Constitution.

These challenges we have created for ourselves.

Your average Obama voter wa... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

Your average Obama voter watches a debate or campaign ad and says "What are he and the government going to do for me?" Your average McCain voter says "How is he going to get the government out of my life?" This election is more than ever a vote between the takers (Obama supporters) and the doers (McCain supporters). The takers will win.

Steve: I agree, those voter... (Below threshold)

Steve: I agree, those voters aren't undecideds, but if an undecided voter isn't going to be swayed by ACORN, why should McCain expect any Obama voters to be? And it's not enough to have a conservative platform, we need to get the message out and by someone articulate enough to do so effectively. McCain has never stood for anything other touting his own horn as a former POW and running somewhat to the left of conservatives, thus, is it any surprise that in the absence of a conservative platform that McCain is left floundering? And with McCain floundering and not having anything to offer the American people, is it any surprise that Obama has been able to fill the void?

Steve Sturm, you said "... (Below threshold)
Steve Schippert:

Steve Sturm, you said "And it's not enough to have a conservative platform, we need to get the message out and by someone articulate enough to do so effectively."

Bingo. You are making my point about the centrality of communication, which must come from those with core principled and genuine conviction. Equally as important, it must also be perceived as such, which is why "fresh, new voices" must be the ones to assume the mantle. Familiar faces are increasingly seen as 'same old,' sometimes fairly and sometimes not.

I am just about to enter a ... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

I am just about to enter a program to get my graduate teaching license, ironically enough, in high school social studies. I am 42, and dumbfounded that anyone could even IMAGINE that Reagan did what that dumbass "undecided voter" says he did with business in the 80's.

It is not a matter of havin... (Below threshold)
A Stoner:

It is not a matter of having tuned out. It is a matter of, what does it matter? We get socialist elite or socialist light. We get someone who can tell us what we want to hear and do what we hate or we get the one that will tell us what we do not want to hear but does what we hate. I am so sick and tired of supposed conservatives telling us to trust them on this and trust us on that and trust us and then stabbing their constituents in the back, time and time and time again.
Prescription meds for seniors, sure, that is likely to buy alot of votes. Do not touch social security, how is that working out? Sure, we give money to acorn, do not want to look like racists pigs, not exactly turning out the way you expected? Sure, we can just simply do the least we can to 'try' and get reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, yup that sure as hell helped your re-election prospects, huh rejects? Well, how about a nice big $700,000,000,000.00 bail-out for wall street, do you think that will buy us a few votes in a few weeks? Maybe we can add in some tax breaks for wooden arrows, some lower taxes on imported rum, and you know, we really are going to get votes for having chosen to do the hardest thing any congresscritter could have ever done, we voted for extending the protection from the dreaded alternative minimum tax monster, you would think that would get us votes!!!! Oh, wait, we are not done yet, lets also give money to people who bought too much house, or refinanced (cashed out) their house for luxury items that other Americans have to earn through hard work and putting off pleasure until they can actually have earned and paid for it, yeah, I am sure thatdoing a bail-out for irresponsible buyers is surely going to get conservatives elected.
I am sitting this one out. I can survive in any America that ends up happening thanks to all of those conservatives having lost the election.

I can say exactly what would have turned this election into a cakewalk for the conservatives. CRA, ACORN, AYERS, Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Chriss Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid all balled up in every single add. But it has to be a story. Start off with "What Just Happened?" show the effects and then walk it back in each consecutive comercial through each of the bad actors. Ad one would be the $700,000,000,000.00 bail-out and the stock market crashing and retirement accounts tanking (15 seconds) followed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae being the cause (15 seconds). Ad two would be Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae executives talking about how good things are along with each CEO's pay-out (15 seconds)followed by Barney Frank and Christine Waters telling that there is no problem, especially at Fannie Mae (15 seconds). Ad three would be about McCain's proposed bill in 2005 (15 seconds) followed by Barack wrote a strongly worded letter (Leadership? Ready to Lead?) a strongly worded letter from someone who could introduce legislation?(15 seconds). Ad 4 would Go back to when Barack Obama was helping ACORN sue banks into making bad loans, include some wording indicating what happens when bad loans are made. Ad 5 would go back to the CRA and what it was really all about, making risky loans, followed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac required by law Barney Frank to buy as many bad loans as banks could produce, the greed was fed by Government mandate. The final ad would show Barack Obama working with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and would question if America can afford unfettered rule by the people who caused the financial meltdown.

Mr. Schippert,B... (Below threshold)

Mr. Schippert,

Besides being one of the most poorly written columns I have ever seen on Wizbang, grammatically speaking, the notion of 2 idiots in a focus group being solid "proof" that Obama is a shoe in, is rediculous. It is true, however, that there has been a total absence of leadership from a conservative standpoint. That is why we love Sarah, she gives us hope and allows us to dream a little in a very dismal political environment.

The lamestreamers dominance cannot be underestimated when it comes to public opinion. Hugh Hewitt interviewed some big liberal elitist a couple of years ago who got caught being honest when he admitted that the media is worth at least 15 points, to the left(obviously), in any given election. Americans don't want to be "taxed into prosperity". At least not in the majority. Did you see the poll out today that says most people think McCain will raise taxes MORE THAN obama!?! Amazing.

I know people like that woman. Good people. Church going folks who love God and country. I'm sorry, but they are idiots and I do not want my candidates trying to "reach out" to them. The greying of the line between right and left that has happened as a result of "conservatives" like W, McCain, etc. trying to appease dopes like that has put America in this position to begin with.

(I wouldn't have complained about the grammar, but it even leaked into your blockquotes, and it actually made it impossible for me to understand some of your points. It's more of a plea for improvement than a knock.)

The McCain campaign believe... (Below threshold)

The McCain campaign believes they can scare people out of voting for Obama by linking him to a boogie man (Ayres).

The problem is there is something a lot scarier going on right now. People are scared that they are going to lose their homes, their jobs, and their retirement savings.

That trumps being scared of a guy who belonged to a defunct group that hasn't done anything scary in decades. Most voters under the age of 40 have no memory of anything that happened when the Weather Underground was active.

They probably studied it for a couple of days in a high school history class. And since it's relatively recent history, they probably did late in the spring, when the sun was shining, and they were just putting in their time until summer vacation. As far as they are concerned, it rates a big "So what?"

"Well, I don't know much... (Below threshold)

"Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy

Holy cow! So this ad campaign by Republicans has made people think Obama USED TO BE IN A TERRORIST GROUP, and that's not the thing you have a problem with?!

Anyway, the Obama-Ayers connection is being unraveled day-by-day. The reason it has no traction is because those pushing it don't seem to realize how desperate it makes them look in the eyes of the independent voter.

Well, you cite antecdotal e... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Well, you cite antecdotal evidence, as will I. I heard 4 old ladies talking today about their friend that is an obama nut. They were talking about how crazy this lady gets when she starts talking about obama. I heard the one lady say "I don't know if i really believe the emails that are going around about obama, but alot of the other things i've heard about him really scare me". I don't know what "other things" she has heard, but i think the ACORN and Ayers things are getting through to alot of people. The fact that 99% of the country is not outraged is a sad fact, but it's a harsh reality.

Many people don't get this information, or only get snippets of it as a brief mention (if it's mentioned) on CNN. The media has put the responsibility of finding information upon the end user. Their job is to provide information, to do the digging and to use their resources. Unfortunately for our country, a radical leftist is extremely close to becoming the 44th president. I think we NEED to keep hammering all the Ayers and Acorn points home. The more people hear it, and from different sources, the better. If you listen to hannity's radio show, it's been repetitive for the last year or so. Most people would think "oh there goes shawn again", but add fox news, add limbaugh, start adding newspapers, start adding people's congressmen and senators bringing this up, start adding in the blogs. The more sources that bring this up, the better.

I think you are 100% right that republicans just do not communicate their message. They have gotten lazy. They've let the blogs and talk radio do all of the heavy lifting for far too long and they are very close to being pushed right out the door in washington. You would think 06 would have been a wake up call, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I would love to see my local representatives up screaming on their soap box about obama and acorn and blowing the whistle on the democrat "culture of corruption" in the same way the dems did in 06 about mukaka and foley. These guys need to run to those microphones and make it known who the bad guys in washington are before we all have to learn it the hard way.

The reason the Obama-Ayers ... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

The reason the Obama-Ayers connection is getting no traction is because most Americans are apparently ready to try a European nanny state model of government, so they just don't care who Obama has hung out with in the past. Middle class welfare payments (also known as refundable credits in Obamaspeak) trumps Marxist/socialist connections these days. I fully expect that on November 5, the president-elect will move to change the name of his party from Democratic Party to the Socialist Worker's Party.

There's a third reason I ca... (Below threshold)

There's a third reason I can think of why the Republicans have failed. With the exception of a very brief period immediately after 9/11/01, Republicans in Congress have given absolutely no support at all to Bush, who is the leader of their party. They never once gave any impression of party unity or a sense of direction for the country.

You can bet your ass the libtards will have a plan once they get their hands on a fillibuster-proof majority in Congress. Grab your ankles.

The McCain campaig... (Below threshold)
The McCain campaign believes they can scare people out of voting for Obama by linking him to a boogie man (Ayres).

It's not that simple, the influence runs deep:

Obama raised $1 million for foreign thug's election~Democrat joined Libya's Gadhafi among top contributors to Odinga


scroll down and read the Oct 10 post:


Obama & Manufactured Crisis Strategy

Obama raised $1 million ... (Below threshold)

Obama raised $1 million for foreign thug's election~Democrat joined Libya's Gadhafi among top contributors to Odinga

And McCain's transition chief worked for Saddam.

You keep trying to make it a game of associations. No one cares.

Republicans in Con... (Below threshold)
Republicans in Congress have given absolutely no support at all to Bush, who is the leader of their party. They never once gave any impression of party unity or a sense of direction for the country.

Plus, when the Republicans seized the congressional majority in 1994, they immediately started in with pork barrel spending, earmarks, lining their own pockets, and seeing how much tax money they could funnel to their own districts. In other words, they behaved like Democrats.

Which is why they got shellacked in 2006. The gutless cowards deserved to lose and good riddance to them.

Even cretins have the right... (Below threshold)
Thomas Jackson:

Even cretins have the right to vote. If they wish to vote waya the gifts they received from their parents it is their priveledge. If they wish to vote for a racist its their right. If they wish to vote for a man whom Ayers saw potential, it is their right to act in a foolish manner.

It is not their right to deny how they voted in four years time or complain about what Obama will do four years hence.

As for the trolls who knowingly support him and understand what he is about, they are beneath contempt and will wind up like all those Cubans who supported Fidel believing his lies till the pistol was put in the back of the necks.

I don't see how presenting ... (Below threshold)

I don't see how presenting and living conservative values can convince people who "think" like that.

Well, well, well, no... (Below threshold)

Well, well, well, no if this isn't a fine mess we are in. The Democrats blame the Republicans and the Republicans blame, uh, the Republicans.

During that time after Bush won, fair and square, the Dems blamed the Repubs. And they kept on blaming them, and blaming them and blaming them. Goebbels would have been proud.

And what did the Republicans do? Well, they decided to be BAD Democrats, spending more and more and more. On what? Well, the interest on the National Debt, Defense, Increasing the budgets of every Government Department on the books, pork, pork and more pork.

After Reagan went away, they had Newt, who imploded on his own ego. Then they had journeyman Hastert, whose style would put a ferret to sleep. Oh, yea, Boehner, who sounds just like Obama when he speaks. Sheesh.

Any terrorist shooting up a mall lately? Guess Bush did his job. Well, uh, he didn't, actually. See, it is the job of the President of the United States to COMMUNICATE with its people. And Bush is NOT a communicator. And all the while, the media and Dems are cranking out the message, over and over and over, the big lie.

We have been headed straight toward the current economic melt down since the middle 90's, or even backs as far as the middle 60's. If you don't now that, then join the ranks of the bobble heads. Until we change the way we do business, it isn't going to get better. So we try the Democrats for a while. As always, they will tax and spend their way into chaos and the Republicans will get another chance.

And that might not make a difference either unless we can find a communicator like Reagan to take over from Carter, oops, Obama, who is a Carter clone by any measure. Right now, Jindal and Palin look like our best bets.

But none of that is going to make a real difference unless Congressional Republicans are up to the challenge. So long as they act like back benchers, they will not get respect, nor will they deserve it.

Good read Steve. . .

Poor billy, not a brain to ... (Below threshold)
Firefighter 16:

Poor billy, not a brain to be found in his head. Hussein O has been connected to criminals and criminals only all of his adult life. The racist revrund Wright and Ayers have been his only friends for years and he helped train the jack boot 'get in they're face' thugs in ACORN. There is no way to break the link between Hussein O and terrorist all over the world. No matter what happens I'll laugh and watch as the dummies pay for their support of a Marxist.

Why does everyone who supports Hussein O show their stupidity in public every time they speak of post a comment on a blog? Billy is a prime example.

Of course the Ayers, ACORN,... (Below threshold)

Of course the Ayers, ACORN, etc... hasn't turned the electorate around, yet.

The McCain campaign is still in Phase I of this attack. They'll roll out a few more of the extreme Friends-of-Obama, one at a time at a pace that allows the electorate to absorb each one.

Then, in a couple of weeks, they'll roll out Phase II, which will explain to people why all these associations matter.

I don't know exactly what this part will look like, whether it's a "who would join Obama in the Cabinet and heading up the executive agencies" argument, or just a "who is the real Barack Obama" argument, but we shouldn't expect to see significant move in the polls from these arguments until McCain makes the Phase II argument.

I'd bet we'll see a shift among independents when he does. There's a serious argument to be made here, as people begin to get to know Obama's shady alliances, and have time to think about them.

Republicans in Congress ... (Below threshold)

Republicans in Congress have given absolutely no support at all to Bush, who is the leader of their party. They never once gave any impression of party unity or a sense of direction for the country.

Is that supposed to be a joke?

clintI don't think... (Below threshold)


I don't think your timeline works out BEFORE the election.

clintI don't ... (Below threshold)

I don't think your timeline works out BEFORE the election.

"My frendsh, I would rather loosh a campaign than win a debate...Um, that ish, I meant to shay, I would rather praish my friend and colleague, Shenator Obama, than come off ash shum short of ideologue or shumpshing...I mean, I'm gonna kick hish ash!

Don't forget America, vote for me, John McCain, and I will buy your ill conshieved mortgage."

Ladies and gents, your conservative maverick, John McCain!

Brian opined. . .<blo... (Below threshold)

Brian opined. . .

You keep trying to make it a game of associations. No one cares.

Heck, even my teenage son understands you are who you hang with.

And yea, Brian, you are mostly right, er, left. Which is par for the course. It is all about what is in it for me, and that means if you are Obama, you ride the bad economic news wave into the White House. Never mind that the seed (not the only thing, just the straw that broke the camel's back) problem was Fannie and Freddie.

And lemme just vent for a minute:

See, William Ayers stopped bombing and got smart. He got nearly 150 million to spend in schools and not one penny went for reading, writing, math or history.

It went for politics.

Which is why thousands of educators want to support Ayers. They believe that teaching entitlement, resentment, envy and gimme is far better than a real education.

Only problem with that is eventually we run out of gimme and have to crank up the printing presses. That doesn't work for long either.

After trillions, we lost the War on Poverty, but the War on Stupid was won, hands down. Voters in a democracy usually get the critters in office they deserve. So when a series of Obama voters in Harlem think that Sarah Palin was a great VP pick for Obama, that says it all.

Heck, even my teenage so... (Below threshold)

Heck, even my teenage son understands you are who you hang with.

If that's what you want to focus on, then go ahead. But know that Obama didn't "hang" with Ayers. And McCain does hang with someone who represented Saddam.

Never mind that the seed (not the only thing, just the straw that broke the camel's back) problem was Fannie and Freddie.

You mean the agencies whose chief lobbyists McCain hangs with?

So when a series of Obama voters in Harlem think that Sarah Palin was a great VP pick for Obama, that says it all.

Those people are just uninformed. What I find more incredulous are the McCain voters who still think that Sarah Palin was a great VP pick for McCain.

OK, So who wants a new cons... (Below threshold)

OK, So who wants a new conservative, constitutionalist party that believes in smaller government, less taxes, a strong military, border enforcement, no bailouts/handouts, and a balanced budget? I'm thinking about starting one, anybody interested? Obviously the one we have is busted.

Chad: a reasonable thing to... (Below threshold)

Chad: a reasonable thing to say. Cue DJ Drummond pointing out that, within the realm of mathematical certainty, it isn't yet over.

Brian: that's interesting, I didn't know that McCain worked so closely with someone who worked with Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was 21st century Hitler five years ago, as I recall. Why hasn't John McCain distanced himself from this despicable human being? What elements of the Baathist regime does McCain fancy in his imaginary hypothetical not-gonna-happen administration?

Hyperbolist, I'm not kiddin... (Below threshold)

Hyperbolist, I'm not kidding around. The problem is, the dems are even worse than the republicans. This country was built on it's constitution, and on limited government. In the last 30-40 years, we've thrown that away. I refuse to let it happen. This is not happening in MY country, on MY watch. I want my kids to grow up and be proud to be Americans, and beholden to none for the lives they've made their own. We should all feel that way. There are so few patriots, so few minutemen, so few TRUE BELIEVERS left. THIS IS STILL THE GRAND EXPERIMENT, LET'S NOT SCREW IT UP. Our system is busted, not because of the people, but because of the system. There should be NO professional politicians. This is a duty, a responsibility, not something you should profit from. This is where it has gone wrong. You should have to have a separate job to make it, not get fat off of taxes.






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