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Saturday, February 07, 2004

The results for Michigan and Washington are in. They are good news for Kerry, and bad news for pretty much everyone else.

Michigan (100% of precincts reporting)

John Kerry - 51.7%
Howard Dean - 16.6%
John Edwards - 13.5%
Al Sharpton - 6.9%
Wesley Clark - 6.7%
Dennis Kucinich - 3.2%

Washington (92% of precincts reporting; percentages reflect number of delegates each candidate will receive to the state convention)

John Kerry - 48.5%
Howard Dean - 30.3%
Dennis Kucinich - 8.0%
John Edwards - 6.6%
Uncommitted - 3.3%
Wesley Clark - 3.3%
Al Sharpton - 0.1%

As he did in several states on February 3, John Kerry got around 50 percent of the vote in both of these contests. Dean won second in both, but they were distant second. Dean might get some delegates out of Washington, but being 18 points behind won't do much to give him momentum. Edwards and Clark were both weak in these states. Edwards got a respectable total in Michigan, but he was buried in the Washington results. Clark did horribly in both. Sharpton once again managed to beat one of the major candidates (Clark in Michigan), as did Kucinich (Edwards and Clark in Washington). This is Kucinich's best performance yet, and it might allow him to grab some more third and fourth places before he is finally forced to drop out.

The real winner is Kerry, and only Kerry. Dean can take consolation in the fact that he didn't do worse, and that he had the foresight to give up on these contests rather than fight hard, only to lose. Now he'll have to watch as several more primaries go by, as he prepares to make his last stand in Wisconsin.
--Posted at 11:14 PM | link

Today the Dean campaign suffered a huge setback when the AFSCME reportedly withdrew its support:

Gerald McEntee, head of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, delivered the news to Dean in a meeting with two other unions whose support has been propping up the former governor's campaign, said two Democratic officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The officials said McEntee is worried about the impact of Dean's ailing campaign on the union. McEntee voiced his concerns in a meeting during the day with Roy Neel, Dean's campaign manager, these sources added.
The results of the Washington and Michigan primaries are starting to come in, and I don't think that there's going to be a silver lining for Dean there.
--Posted at 6:50 PM | link

Friday, February 06, 2004

Dean hinted that he might accept the vice presidential spot on the Democratic ticket, but clarified that this should not be taken as a sign that he is giving up his quest for the nomination.

Asked by a Milwaukee radio station whether he would accept the vice presidential nomination, Dean said he would to the extent it would help beat President Bush. But when asked later if his comments meant he would consider the second spot on the ticket, the former Vermont governor replied, "No, I've got to win first."

Dean campaign spokesman Jay Carson said Dean's remarks should not be interpreted to mean he is considering the vice presidency.

"He's simply saying that he would do whatever is best for the Democratic Party to beat President Bush in 2004," Carson said. "He's always said he'll do whatever it takes to beat President Bush."
Perhaps Dean's main virtue as VP nominee is that he can win back anti-war voters who might be turned off by the nomination of a pro-war candidate. Many Dean voters are appalled by the sudden rise of Kerry, and his vote for the war is among their main grievances. Nonetheless, if Kerry wins the nomination, Dean's chances of being named the VP candidate are slim. It's unlikely that the Democrats want to have two Northeasterners with a "liberal" reputation on the ticket. Maybe if Edwards or Clark gets the nomination, Dean would have a better shot.
--Posted at 9:40 PM | link

Kos has polls from Wisconsin, Washington and Michigan. An EPIC/MRA poll taken after February 3 shows the following numbers:

Kerry - 62
Dean - 13
Edwards - 11
Clark - 5

Zogby's numbers for Michigan are as follows:

Kerry - 47
Dean - 10
Edwards - 8
Clark - 4

In other words, Dean isn't getting Michigan, unless a miracle happens for him. In Washington, the pre-February 3 numbers looks like this, according to the Elway Poll:

Kerry - 40
Dean - 13
Edwards - 11
Clark - 8

A poll taken after February 3 would probably show Kerry with an even greater lead. So it looks like Dean will come up winless in the February 7 primaries, and Kerry will add another two states to his list of victories.

What about Wisconsin, the state that Dean has declared that he must win? Things aren't looking too good in this pre-February 3 Badger poll:

Kerry - 35
Clark - 11
Edwards - 9
Dean - 8

Kos also points out that the poll shows high unfavorable ratings for Dean (18% favorable, 34% unfavorable). And there's no reason to think that these numbers have gotten better after February 3. Dean is facing a very difficult uphill battle.
--Posted at 10:20 AM | link

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Kerry campaign got another boost today, winning the endorsement of Dick Gephardt.
--Posted at 8:47 PM | link

Dean is still trying to win Washington state, but he says that he won't quit if he comes up empty handed this weekend. He is planning to hold out until the Wisconsin primary on February 17. His campaign is in bad shape, but it's not finished yet. Although he is low on money and is having trouble getting media attention, he is still holding on to his 37 congressional supporters and his endorsements from SEIU and AFSCME. The president of SEIU says that he will continue supporting Dean through Wisconsin.
--Posted at 10:39 AM | link

As I suspected, Clark is choosing his campaign strategy in part based on the fact that he has little money left.

WASHINGTON - Wesley Clark's campaign staff agreed Wednesday to forgo pay to help him afford campaign ads after poor showings in several delegate contests took a toll on his fund raising.


Clark, who barely edged Edwards in Oklahoma on Tuesday for his first victory, has at least enough money to get through next Tuesday's primaries in Tennessee and Virginia, spokesman Bill Buck said. The staff at his Arkansas headquarters agreed to go without pay for a week so Clark can afford to go back on the air in Tennessee with a $133,000 radio and TV ad buy for this week, Buck said.


Before Clark's New Hampshire loss, the campaign had been drawing about $60,000 to $80,000 a day over the Internet. After that, it slowed to around $40,000 to $50,000 per day, Buck said.

Online donations picked up after Clark's Oklahoma win, with the campaign taking in $60,000 by late Wednesday afternoon and expecting at least $100,000 by day's end.
The post-Oklahoma bounce is good news for Clark, assuming he can keep the money coming in over the next week. Edwards raised about twice as much as Clark on Wednesday, which makes sense, given that 1.) People seemed to consider South Carolina to be more important than Oklahoma, 2.) Edwards won South Carolina with a much larger lead than Clark's in Oklahoma, and 3.) Edwards had more momentum than Clark going into the February 3rd primaries.
--Posted at 1:56 AM | link

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Here's the current delegate count. Now, it's actually starting to matter.

Kerry - 248
Dean - 121
Edwards - 102
Clark - 81
Lieberman - 25
Gephardt - 5
Sharpton - 5
Kucinich - 2

This includes "superdelegates" as well as those won in primaries and caucuses.
--Posted at 12:02 PM | link

Clark plans to focus on winning Tennessee next, instead of contesting Michigan, Washington, and Maine. He's also "largely bypassing" Virginia. I suppose he's running out of cash--or maybe he's just trying to keep expectations low. Most likely, it's both.
--Posted at 11:47 AM | link

Now we have nearly complete results. Kerry won Delaware, Missouri, and North Dakota with 50 percent or more of the vote, and New Mexico and Arizona with more than 40 percent. Edwards won South Carolina with 45 percent to Kerry's 30 percent, and took second in Missouri and Oklahoma. Clark managed to win Oklahoma by a very small amount, less than 300 votes ahead, and he placed second in North Dakota, New Mexico, and Arizona. Clark's victory in Oklahoma is not official yet. The race was so close that the result has to be certified by the state elections board next week. I guess that means it's still theoretically possible for Edwards to pull ahead.

Now what? With solid victories in 5 out of 7 states, Kerry would be in a strong position no matter what. But he will also benefit from having so many rivals still in the race. Lieberman is out, but Edwards, Clark, and Dean are still in. That means that any anti-Kerry sentiment will be divided until some other candidates start dropping out. Edwards got one state last night, and nearly got Oklahoma too. That means he stays alive, and he might have a good chance in the southern primaries (Virginia and Tennessee) next week. If he loses these, then he's probably finished. Clark will need to win something else soon to stay in the race. Oklahoma is great, but he won't get as much out of it as Edwards will get out of South Carolina, because he came so close to losing it. On the plus side, he was the second choice in several of the states that Kerry won.

And Dean? He's focusing on Michigan and Washington, so he had better win one of them. If he doesn't, I suppose it's possible that he might stay in the race in a quest for delegates. But realistically, he's not going anywhere in this contest if he doesn't pick up a state in the next few days.
--Posted at 8:41 AM | link

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

100% of the North Dakota results are in. The percentages are as follows:

Kerry - 50%
Clark - 24%
Dean - 12%
Edwards - 10%
Kucinich - 3%
Lieberman - 1%
Sharpton - 0%

North Dakota isn't as big a deal as, say, South Carolina or Missouri, but it does add one more state to Kerry's list. Along with Delaware and probably Missouri, North Dakota gave Kerry half of its votes. Even if Kerry loses New Mexico and Oklahoma, he can at least claim that he lost those states by small margins, whereas he had landslide victories in most of the states he won.
--Posted at 10:26 PM | link

Early results from New Mexico (10% reporting) show a three-way tie emerging between Kerry, Dean, and Clark. Dean might win a state after all tonight. And Clark might have a shot at first place in a state other than Oklahoma (which is still an extremely close race). Kerry is going to win a majority of states tonight no matter what, but obviously winning six states would make him much stronger than winning four.
--Posted at 10:18 PM | link

Delaware is the first state with 100% of precincts reporting. According to CNN, the final tally is:

Kerry - 50% (16,729)
Lieberman - 11% (3,683)
Edwards - 11% (3,657)
Dean - 10% (3,439)
Clark - 10% (3,145)
Sharpton - 6% (1,885)
Kucinich - 1% (343)

Lieberman was a mere 26 votes ahead of Edwards. It didn't matter, with Kerry winning half the vote, but second place would have been a minor symbolic victory for Edwards.
--Posted at 9:59 PM | link

Bob Dole is on Larry King Live right now, and he asked John Edwards what he thought of Terry McAuliffe's statements (that Bush was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard). Edwards didn't respond right away, and he looked for a second like he was having trouble hearing. Then he responded that he didn't know enough about the statements to comment. The Democratic candidates really need to have a quick response to this sort of question. Either decide to stand by the AWOL charge, or find a smoother way to avoid endorsing it. Claiming ignorance won't work forever. On the other hand, I'm not sure why Republicans want to keep bringing it up. Drawing attention to Bush's military record is not a good strategy when John Kerry is the likely nominee.
--Posted at 9:53 PM |

Joe Lieberman is dropping out of the race. Delaware was a huge victory for Kerry. With 97% of precincts reporting, Kerry had 50% of the vote. Second place is essentially a four way tie. Lieberman is in second place with 11 percent, but he's less than 100 votes ahead of Edwards. Clark and Dean each have 10 percent.
--Posted at 9:15 PM | link

About half of South Carolina's precincts have reported by now, and Edwards still has a nearly 15 point lead over Kerry. This is far above expectations, at least as measured by most of the polls in the state. Meanwhile, 5% of Oklahoma's precincts have reported, and so far it looks like it's going to be a close race between Clark, Edwards, and Kerry.

UPDATE: 52% reporting in Oklahoma, and it's still too close to call. Edwards and Clark are within a few hundred votes of each other, and Kerry is falling behind. We might not know the outcome of this until every precinct has reported.
--Posted at 8:37 PM | link

CNN has declared Kerry the winner in Delaware and Missouri. As I write this, no precincts in these states have reported. I guess Kerry's margin of victory in these states must be huge.
--Posted at 8:07 PM | link

With only 149 of 2008 precincts reporting, the AP has declared Edwards the winner in South Carolina. Several other major news organization have done the same. Right now, he's winning by a huge margin (around 45 percent compared to 30 percent for Kerry), but this could change. No other states have reported any results yet.
--Posted at 7:32 PM | link

As far as I know, Wesley Clark hasn't said what his plans are if he doesn't win a primary tonight. But Clark's son has a suggestion:

Wesley Clark Jr. a 34-year-old screenwriter, in a meeting with reporters while his father called voters from a phone bank, said; "I'd like to see him win today. If he doesn't win I don't want to see him stay out there.

"It's a really disillusioning experience."

"You go out and see the way politics really works. It is a dirty business filled with a lot of people pretending to be a lot of things that they are not," he said.

"There was a lot of sneering and whispering going on by columnists and talking heads. ... It is all a horse race. No-one is talking about the issues."
Clark might already have plans to drop out if he doesn't win Oklahoma. His son's statements only make it harder for him to stay in.
--Posted at 5:34 PM | link

It's being widely reported that Lieberman will withdraw from the race if he doesn't win a state today. But this is not official, and some from the Lieberman campaign are saying the opposite.

If Lieberman does not win at least one state--and his best hope is Delaware--he will make his concession speech there, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He then would head home to Connecticut for a formal announcement in Hartford Wednesday.

While campaign staff continued to insist that Lieberman was moving on to campaign in Virginia this week, others close to the senator confirmed they have been told about a tentative 3 p.m. event in Hartford on Wednesday.
Until later tonight, there's no way of knowing what Lieberman is really planning to do in case of defeat. But few people would be surprised if this turned out to be true. Lieberman put most of his energy into Delaware; losing it is another huge blow to "Joe-mentum." Sure, Lieberman could hang in there and hope that things sort themselves out so that he's the only person left standing to challenge Kerry (or whichever candidate is the frontrunner at the end of the week). Maybe if Clark drops out after losing tonight, and Dean quits after Michigan/Washington, and something makes Edwards unpopular, but Kerry is still vulnerable, then maybe, just maybe....nah. One can dream up situations that would make Lieberman a serious contender, but they just aren't likely enough to justify staying in the race. Lieberman could also imitate Kucinich and Sharpton by staying in just to draw attention to his issues, to nag the other candidates about things they are neglecting. This has been, sort of, what he's been doing recently anyway. But I'm going to guess that the sources predicting that he will drop out are correct. If they aren't, then they probably should be.
--Posted at 4:10 PM | link

For what it's worth, we're starting to get exit poll results, even though the polls won't be closed everywhere for hours.
--Posted at 3:14 PM | link

National Review Online has started publishing anonymous letters that make Democratic candidates look bad. For example, one reader claimed that John Kerry tried to jump to the front of the line at a Barnes and Noble, saying to the clerk "Don't you know who I am?" Of course, this sort of anonymous letter is completely unverifiable and thus meaningless. Anyone could write a letter making up some anecdote that reflects poorly on a candidate, and NRO would apparently publish it without demanding proof. Presumably, NRO's intent is to get stories like "I met candidate X and he was rude to me" out there, without concern for their validity, so that voters will have a negative impression of that candidate's personality. If the stories were bigger ("Enraged Joe Lieberman kills 10 staff members"), people might be more skeptical, but minor stories are less likely to be questioned. (Also, this particular story about Kerry is suspiciously similar to an urban legend that's been around for ages. Couldn't they be more original?)

One blogger has an idea to put a stop to this sorry excuse for journalism. Basically, he encourages people to submit phony anecdotes to NRO (blind carbon copied to himself), to see what gets published. At some point, he will expose the fake letters, embarrassing NRO in the process. I like it. If the NRO commentators aren't going to hold itself to higher standards, this is exactly what they deserve.

UPDATE: Apparently, National Review is on to them. Too bad.

UPDATE #2: Okay, I thought that the National Review people were just practicing bad journalism. It turns out that they're completely insane. They're currently discussing which corpses they would like to dig up and posthumously hang. Included are a former president, a former prime minister of Canada, nine Supreme Court justices, and numerous intellectuals and scholars. Think I'm kidding? Read for yourself if you like.
--Posted at 1:33 PM | link

Here are the final Zogby poll results for this set of primaries, with leaners included.

South Carolina

Edwards - 36 (30)
Kerry - 32 (25)
Dean - 8 (10)
Clark - 8 (10)
Sharpton - 8 (7)
Lieberman - 5 (6)
Kucinich - 0.1 (1)


Kerry - 56 (50)
Edwards - 17 (15)
Dean - 9 (9)
Clark - 6 (4)
Sharpton - 4 (3)
Lieberman - 3 (4)
Kucinich - 0.1 (0.1)


Clark - 31 (28)
Kerry - 29 (27)
Edwards - 26 (19)
Dean - 6 (6)
Lieberman - 6 (7)
Sharpton - 1 (1)
Kucinich - 0.1 (1)


Kerry - 42 (40)
Clark - 28 (27)
Dean - 15 (13)
Edwards - 7 (6)
Lieberman - 6 (6)
Kucinich - 1 (1)
Sharpton - 0 (0)

The next numbers you see will be the actual results.
--Posted at 10:41 AM | link

There's a chance that Bush might be facing a challenge from the religious Right this fall. Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court justice who refused to remove a Ten Commandments monument from public property, has declined to rule out a run for president.

During a question-and-answer period, Mr. Moore was asked if he would run for president. "Not right now," he said, noting he is still appealing his dismissal from office for violating a federal court's order to remove the monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building. "I have to wait till all these things are done to decide my future." His friends say he is undecided about whether to run for president or to wait two years and seek Alabama's governorship.
Obviously, a Moore candidacy could be a big deal if it happens. He wouldn't win, but he could take votes that would have otherwise gone to Bush. He could also force Bush to move right on social issues during the general election, which might persuade social moderates to vote Democratic. But it's not yet time for Democrats to celebrate, or for Bush-supporting Republicans to panic. Moore still hasn't made any decisions yet, and we can be sure that the Bush campaign will do everything in its power to keep him out of the race. He plans to finish his appeal, and he could miss his chance to run if this takes a while. Even if he does run, I think there's a good chance that the religious Right would stay loyal to Bush. (After all, Pat Robertson says that God told him that Bush will win in a landslide.) Moore would have to tap into some populist sentiment that would help him overcome the opposition of the religious conservative establishment. Otherwise, he'll become a marginal figure, grabbing only a tiny number of votes in states where Bush can afford the loss, and thus having little impact on the race.
--Posted at 2:46 AM | link

Monday, February 02, 2004

Two SurveyUSA polls show Edwards gaining strength in Oklahoma and South Carolina. According to the South Carolina poll, Edwards is beating Kerry by 17 points, and Kerry is only beating Clark by one point. In Oklahoma, Clark leads with 29 percent, followed by Edwards with 27 percent and Kerry with 26 percent.
--Posted at 11:26 PM | link

Two polls today show Kerry beating Bush in hypothetical matchups. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows Kerry with a 53-46 percent lead. A Quinnipiac University poll gives Kerry a 51-43 percent lead. If nothing else, this is great news for anyone who wants to show that Kerry is the most "electable" of the Democratic candidates. Bush beat all the other Democrats in both polls, except for Edwards (49-48) in the CNN poll.
--Posted at 9:18 PM | link

Dean made some comments about the FCC's decision to investigate the exposure of Janet Jackson's right breast during the Super Bowl halftime show.

"I find that to be a bit of a flap about nothing," the former Vermont governor said. "I'm probably affected in some ways by the fact that I'm a doctor, so it's not exactly an unusual phenomenon for me."

"In general, I think the FCC does have a role in promoting some reasonable standard of decency," Dean told reporters aboard his campaign plane. "However, considering what's on television these days, I think the FCC is being pretty silly about investigating this."

Dean, who does not have cable television at his home in Burlington, Vermont, said Americans could inadvertently turn on "far worse things" while "cruising through cable at regular viewing hours."

"I don't find it terribly shocking relative to some of the things you can find on standard cable television," he added. "I think the FCC probably has a lot of other things they should be pursuing."
Dean has a point; an instant of breast exposure is hardly the most corrupting influence that you can find on television these days. But I am a bit puzzled about the "doctor" comment. Do you really want people to think about the fact that you've seen plenty of breasts during your career as a doctor?
--Posted at 9:04 PM | link

ARG updated two of its tracking polls today. (Yesterday's numbers in parentheses.)

South Carolina

Edwards - 31 (30)
Kerry - 24 (23)
Clark - 11 (12)
Sharpton - 10 (10)
Dean - 9 (9)
Lieberman - 4 (3)
Kucinich - 1 (1)


Clark - 28 (25)
Kerry - 25 (23)
Edwards - 21 (18)
Dean - 8 (8)
Lieberman - 7 (8)
Kucinich - 1 (1)
Sharpton - 1 (1)

For New Hampshire, ARG and Zogby tended to show very different results. For this set of primaries, they seem to be a little more consistent with each other.
--Posted at 3:48 PM | link

Kerry continues to dominate in Monday's Zogby polls. "Leaners" are counted as supporters.

South Carolina

Edwards - 30
Kerry - 25
Dean - 10
Clark - 10
Sharpton - 7
Lieberman - 6
Kucinich - 1


Kerry - 50
Edwards - 15
Dean - 9
Clark - 4
Lieberman - 4
Sharpton - 3
Kucinich - 0.1


Clark - 28
Kerry - 27
Edwards - 19
Lieberman - 7
Dean - 6
Kucinich - 1
Sharpton - 1


Kerry - 40
Clark - 27
Dean - 13
Edwards - 6
Lieberman - 6
Kucinich - 1
Sharpton - 0

It's looking like Edwards will narrowly win in South Carolina, but Clark's victory in Oklahoma is less certain. If Clark loses, what happens to him then? Unlike Edwards, Clark isn't calling any state a must-win, at least as far as I know. But if he emerges from these contests with nothing more than a few second-place finishes, can he expect to catch up with Kerry in the flurry of primaries that will follow? Even if he does take Oklahoma, his chances aren't good. Kerry seems to be doing well everywhere, and Clark will have to split the anti-Kerry vote with Edwards (if he wins South Carolina) and possibly Dean (if he wins Michigan or Washington state). Of course, if Edwards gets knocked out in South Carolina, Dean's efforts on February 7th lead nowhere, and Lieberman stays stagnant, Clark might be left standing as the only alternative to Kerry. But that's quite an "if." It's more likely based on these polls that Edwards will win a state than Clark, which could effectively make Edwards the only challenger to Kerry.
--Posted at 11:19 AM | link

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Here are Sunday's Zogby polls:

South Carolina

Edwards - 24 (26)
Kerry - 23 (22)
Dean - 9 (9)
Clark - 8 (8)
Sharpton - 7 (6)
Lieberman - 4 (5)
Kucinich - 1 (0.1)


Kerry - 43 (46)
Edwards - 14 (13)
Dean - 8 (8)
Clark - 3 (4)
Lieberman - 3 (4)
Sharpton - 3 (2)
Kucinich - 0.1 (1)


Kerry - 25 (22)
Clark - 23 (25)
Edwards - 16 (16)
Dean - 6 (8)
Lieberman - 6 (6)
Kucinich - 1 (1)
Sharpton - 1 (1)


Kerry - 36 (36)
Clark - 24 (20)
Dean - 14 (12)
Lieberman - 6 (7)
Edwards - 4 (6)
Kucinich - 3 (3)
Sharpton - 0.1 (0.1)

Kerry has a slight lead in Oklahoma in these polls, and he is only barely behind in South Carolina. It looks like there some potential for a seven-state sweep. ARG has a new set of polls too, which put Edwards in a stronger position in South Carolina, but are otherwise similar:

South Carolina

Edwards - 30
Kerry - 23
Clark - 12
Sharpton - 10
Dean - 9
Lieberman - 3
Kucinich - 1


Kerry - 46
Edwards - 15
Dean - 7
Clark - 6
Lieberman - 3
Sharpton - 1
Kucinich - 1


Clark - 25
Kerry - 23
Edwards - 18
Dean - 8
Lieberman - 8
Kucinich - 1
Sharpton - 1


Kerry - 32
Clark - 21
Edwards - 11
Dean - 10
Lieberman - 9
Kucinich - 1
Sharpton - 0


Kerry - 27
Lieberman - 16
Dean - 14
Edwards - 9
Clark - 8
Kucinich - 1
Sharpton - 1

There's little doubt that Kerry will come out of this in a very strong position. Even if Edwards wins South Carolina and Clark wins Oklahoma, Kerry has the advantage. People in these seven states are not rallying behind any particular candidate other than Kerry. It seems to be an Edwards/Clark split, with Lieberman putting up a fight in Delaware and Dean lurking in the background, waiting to contest Michigan and Washington. In other words, there's no "anti-Kerry" yet, and there might not be one even after February 3rd.
--Posted at 1:08 PM | link

The Nation has published an open letter to Ralph Nader, urging him not to run for president this year.
--Posted at 2:51 AM | link

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