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NBC - "NBC 4, AARP 15th Congressional District Debate"

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Location: Columbus, OH


NBC - "NBC 4, AARP 15th Congressional District Debate"

Below is a transcript of the 15th Congressional District Debate, presented by NBC 4 and AARP.

>> NBC4 AND AARP OHIO PRESENTS DECISION 2008 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 15 DEBATE.

>> AND TO QUOTE THE LATE DATE TIM RUSSERT, OHIO, OHIO, OHIO. OHIO IS GROUND ZERO IN THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. OUR STATE IS A BATTLEGROUND STATE AS THE POLITICAL PARTIES LOOK TO GAIN OR REGAIN CONTROL OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE. TONIGHT WE HIGHLIGHT ONE OF THOSE CRITICAL RACES HERE IN OHIO. THE RUN FOR OHIO'S 15th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. NBC4 AND AARP ARE SPONSORING THIS DEBATE SO YOU CAN GET INSIGHT ON STEVE STIVERS, MARY JO KILROY AND DON ECKHART. BEFORE THE BROADCAST OUR THREE CANDIDATES DREW STRAWS TO DETERMINE THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY WOULD BEGIN WITH OPENING STATEMENTS. FIRST RESPONDERS WILL ALTERNATE FROM QUESTIONS WE HAVE FROM NBC VIEWERS AND MEMBERS OF AARP. EACH CANDIDATE HAS TWO MINUTES TO PRESENT THEIR OPENING STATEMENT AND THEN EACH WILL HAVE 90 SECONDS TO ANSWER EACH QUESTION. FINALLY EACH CANDIDATE WILL HAVE 90 SECONDS FOR A CLOSING STATEMENT. WE WILL CLOSELY MONITOR THE TIMES AND ASK THE CANDIDATES TO RESPECT THE TIMES AS WELL. THE FIRST OPENING STATEMENT IS FROM MR. STIVERS, THEN MS. KILROY AND THEN ECKHART.

>> MY NAME IS STEVE STIVERS. I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT ME. I GREW UP IN LIP TON, OHIO IN SOUTHERN OHIO. MY PARENTS INSTALLED HARD WORK, PERSEVERANCE AND WORKING UNTIL SOMETHING IS DONE. I HAVE LIVED THOSE VALUES SINCE I WAS A PAPER BOY. WHEN I WAS AT OHIO STATE. WHEN I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL TO GET A MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. I LIVE WITH VALUES, HARD WORK ASK TEAMWORK WITH THE OHIO COMPANY AND BANK ONE. DURING THIS CAMPAIGN I HAVE BEEN ATTACKED FOR MY JOB AT BANK ONE. I'M PROUD TO BE PART OF A GOOD LOCAL COMPANY CREATING 1500 JOBS HERE IN OHIO. THIS IS REINFORCED BY MY YEARS IN THE OHIO ARMY NATIONAL GUARD. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THEY WERE DURING THE TOUR OF DUTY IN IRAQI FREEDOM. IN THE OHIO SENATE I HAVE WORKED WITH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO GET THINGS DONE LIKE PROMOTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CUTTING TAXES AND IMPROVING HEALTHCARE. WE WILL TALK ABOUT MORE, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT WHEN I WORKED WITH GOVERNOR STICKLAND AND HELPING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, NOT HAVING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GETTING A JOB OR GETTING HEALTHCARE. MELISSA IS IN THE AUDIENCE TONIGHT AND SHE BROUGHT THIS ISSUE TO MY ATTENTION AND WE GOT THIS DONE. MY WIFE IS IN THE AUDIENCE. I WANT TO THANK HER FOR HER SUPPORT. I WOULD BE HONORED TO REPRESENT YOU TO WORK WITH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TOGETHER TO GET THINGS DONE.

>> THANK YOU, MR. STIVERS. MS. KILROY.

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TO BEGIN WITH THE QUESTION WE BEGIN WITH MR. STIVERS TONIGHT.

>> THANK YOU, CABOT. I THINK A JOB IS BETTER THAN ANY GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. WE CAN'T JUST TAX OUR WAY OUT OF THE PROBLEMS WE FACE. WE FACE REAL PROBLEMS IN THE ECONOMY. I THINK THERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN DO TO HELP WITH JOBS. FIRST I BELIEVE WE CAN HELP PRIVATE BUSINESSES CREATE JOBS. I DON'T MEAN THE GOVERNMENT WILL CREATE THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE, I MEAN PRIVATE BUSINESS WILL CREATE THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE. WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE THE HELP FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. I HAVE A ENERGY PROGRAM TO WORK WITH ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. THERE WAS A STUDY LAST WEEK THAT SAID 2 MILLION JOBS HERE IN AMERICA. ALSO WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH SERIOUS PROBLEMS LIKE HEALTHCARE. I TALKED TO A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER WHO TOLD ME HEALTHCARE IS CAUSING PROBLEMS IN CREATING NEW JOBS. I THINK CONGRESS NEEDS TO DEAL WITH THE JOB TRAINING EDUCATION PROGRAMS. PEOPLE ARE IN UNEMPLOYMENT NOT RECEIVING JOB TRAINING. KIDS COME OUT OF K-12 ARE NOT READY FOR JOBS OF TODAY AND TOMORROW. I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE SHOULD FOCUS ON FOR JOBS.

>> THANK YOU, MR. STIVERS. MS. KILROY.

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NOW MOVE ONTO THE NEXT QUESTION FROM DR. MARLENE TALBOT GREEN WHO SENT US THIS E-MAIL. MY LAST REPRESENTATIVE NEVER RESPONDED TO MY QUESTIONS. MAY I COUNT ON YOU TO BE MORE RESPONSIVE TO ME AS MY SENATOR IS TO BE MY REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS? WE BEGIN WITH MR. STIVERS.

>> I WILL ABSOLUTELY REPRESENT THE PEOPLE I'M ELECTED TO REPRESENT AND BE RESPONSIVE TO THEM. I HAVE FOUND SOME OF MY BEST LEGISLATIVE IDEAS ARE FROM CONSTITUENTS. I TALKED ABOUT MELISSA DAY HERE TODAY. THAT INVOLVES PEOPLE WITH MEDICAID AND ON DISABILITY NOT HAVING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A JOB AND GETTING MEDICAL CARE. THE OTHER ISSUES FROM JOHN FROM UPPER ARLINGTON, THE SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME. HIS DAUGHTER CLAIRE WAS SHAKEN AS A YOUNG CHILD. HE HELPED ME SET UP A SYSTEM TO TRACK SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME AND EDUCATE FOLKS TO PREVENT IT FROM THE FUTURE. I BELIEVE YOUR VALUES ARE MY VALUES. THOSE THINGS THAT MY CON AT THIS TIME UNITS CARE ABOUT IS WHAT I CARE ABOUT. I REPLY TO EVERY E-MAIL, LETTER AND PHONE CALL. I HAVE KNOCKED ON DOORS, 60,000 DOORS IN THE DISTRICT. I WILL LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, KNOCK ON DOORS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND BE RESPONSIVE TO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE BECAUSE I LIVE HERE AND CARE ABOUT THE SAME THINGS YOU DO. THANK YOU. >> AND MS. KILROY.
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>> THANK YOU, MR. ECKHART. WE THANK YOU, CANDIDATES FOR YOUR ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS. VIEWERS, OHIO VOTE 2008 THE RUN FOR THE 15th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. IT WILL CONTINUE WITH QUESTIONS FOR OUR CANDIDATES FROM AUDIENCE MEMBERS IN THE FAUCET SCEPTER. WE WILL HAVE THAT FOR NEW A MOMENT WHEN WE RETURN.

>> AND WE WELCOME YOU BACK TO THE FAWCETT CENTER AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY WHERE TONIGHT THE THREE LEADING CANDIDATES FOR THE 15th DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL SEAT ARE ANSWERING QUESTIONS RELEVANT TO CENTRAL OHIOIANS. DEMOCRAT MARY JO KILROY, INDEPENDENT DON ECKHART AND REPUBLICAN STEVE STIVERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERING QUESTIONS. NOW WE OPEN QUESTIONS FROM AARP MEMBERS.

>> MY FIRST QUESTION IS, HALF OF OUR WORKERS HAVE NO ORGANIZED WAY TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT OTHER THAN SOCIAL SECURITY, AND NO PENSION OR PENSION PLAN OR 401K PLAN. WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU PROPOSE TO MAKE SAVING FOR RETIREMENT EASIER FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES?
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>> THANK YOU, MR. ECKHART. MR. STIVERS.

>> THANK YOU, HEIDI, THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION. CURRENTLY WE HAVE A NEGATIVE SAVINGS RATE IN THE COUNTRY. YOU'RE RIGHT WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH ORGANIZED OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE TO SAVE. ONE OF THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO, FIRST THING, ALLOW PAYROLL DEDUCTION FOR IRAs. IT MAKES IT EASIER FOR FOLKS. THE SECOND THING THAT MULTIPLIES ON THAT IS AUTO ENROLLMENT. AUTO ENROLLMENT IS INSTEAD OF FILLING OUT A FORM FOR AN IRA DEDUCTION IT AUTOMATICALLY HAPPENS. NATIONWIDE DID THAT AND IT TOOK THE ENROLLMENT UP TO 97%. IT NEARLY DOUBLED. IT WORKS, WE KNOW IT WORKS. MY DAD USE TO TELL ME WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, PAY YOURSELF FIRST. IN OTHER WORDS, SAVE MONEY. WE KNOW IT WORKS. THE THIRD THING IS WORK AS REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TO HELP TAX PEOPLE SAVE. I HAVE WORKED WITH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS MY ENTIRE CAREER AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING TOGETHER TO GIVE PEOPLE AN ORGANIZED OPTION TO SAVE. I HAVE WORKED WITH PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY. I HAVE WORKED WITH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS LIKE MARY JO KILROY ON ISSUES OF THINGS THAT DEAL WITH CHILD CARE, AND SO I WILL WORK WITH ANYBODY, I WANT TO GO TO WASHINGTON TO WORK FOR YOU. I THINK THAT'S A IMPORTANT ISSUE TO WORK ON. GIVING PEOPLE AN EASY WAY TO SAVE. THANK YOU, HIEDE .

>> THANK YOU, MR. STIVERS. NOW IT'S TIME FOR OUR SECOND QUESTION.

>> MY QUESTION IS 90% OF OHIOIANS PREFER TO AGE AT HOME. WHAT IDEAS DO YOU HAVE TO HELP MAKE THAT POSSIBLE?

>> AND WE, WE BEGIN WITH MR. ECKHART.
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>> THANK YOU, MR. ECKHART. NEXT IS MR. STIVERS.

>> THANK YOU, VERY MUCH FOR THE QUESTION, AND I HAVE BEEN COMMITTED TO PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO LIVE INDEPENDENT LIVES IN MY TIME IN THE SENATE. I HAVE WORKED HARD THEY LIVE INDEPENDENT PRODUCTIVE LIVES. I OFFER THE BILL TO BRING THE PACE PROGRAM TO CENTRAL OHIO. THIS IS A PROGRAM THAT WILL ALLOW PEOPLE TO GET HEALTHCARE IN THEIR HOMES, MEALS IN THEIR HOMES, PERSONAL CARE, HOUSEHOLD HOPE, AND THEY WILL BE ABLE TO AGE AT HOME WHERE THEY WANT TO BE. I HAVE ALSO WORKED DURING MY TIME FOR THE LEGISLATURE INCREASING FUNDING FOR PASSPORT. MOST KNOW WHAT THE PASSPORT PROGRAM IS. IT GIVES YOU HEALTHCARE IN YOUR HOME AND PERSONAL ASSISTANCE THINGS IN YOUR HOME. IN EVERY BUDGET I HAVE BEEN IN THE LEGISLATURE WE HAVE INCREASED THE FUNDING ON PASSPORT BEYOND THE LEVEL OF WHATEVER GOVERNOR REQUESTED. WE NEEDED TO MAKE SURE WE NUMBER ONE GOT RID OF WAITING LISTS. NUMBER TWO, MAKE SURE THE PROGRAM IS THERE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANTED IT. IN FACT WE HAVE TAKEN PEOPLE OUT OF NURSING HOMES AND PUT THEM IN THEIR HOMES BECAUSE OF THE FUNDING WE HAVE GIVE TO PASSPORT. I THINK WE ALL NEED TO BE COMMITTED. IT'S NOT A DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN VALUE TO LET PEOPLE LIVE IN THEIR HOMES. I WANT TO WORK IN CONGRESS TO MOVE THAT FORWARD. THANK YOU, VERY MUCH MUCH FOR YOUR QUESTION.
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>> ACTUALLY WE HAVE A QUESTION FIRST. WE WANTED YOU TO ASK THE QUESTION AND ANSWER THE QUESTION. SPREAD WE'RE GOING TO TURN IT BACK OVER TO THIS WONDERFUL WOMAN AT THE MICROPHONE.

>> I'M DOLORES FROM COLUMBUS. WHAT ARE BASIC NON PARTISAN SOLUTIONS THAT YOU WOULD SUPPORT TO BREAK THE GRIDLOCK AND MAKE HEALTHCARE FOR AFFORDABLE?

>> AND WE BEGIN WITH MR. STIVERS.

>> THANK YOU FOR YOUR QUESTION. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT HEALTHCARE AFFORD ABILITY IS A IMPORTANT ISSUE IN THIS ECONOMY. PEOPLE ARE FACING VERY DIFFICULT CHOICES BECAUSE OF THE EXPENSIVE COSTS OF HEALTHCARE. I BELIEVE WE NEED TO FOCUS ON INNOVATION AND TRY TO FOCUS ON COST SAVINGS. I BELIEVE THERE ARE ANSWERS WE CAN FIND IF WE WORK TOGETHER. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE WE SHOULD ALLOW OUR SENIORS TO GET CHEAPER DRUGS FROM CANADA, TO SHOP IN CANADA IF THEY WANT, BUY THEM ON-LINE, IF THEY CAN FIND SAVER CHEAP DRUGS. I DISAGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS IN CONGRESS ABOUT THAT. I THINK IT'S A WAY TO BRING COST SAVINGS TO THE SYSTEM. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD ALLOW SMALL BUSINESSES THAT HAVE JUST A FEW EMPLOYEES TO BAND TOGETHER TO GET THE BUYING POWER OF LARGER BUSINESSES SO THEY GET MORE AFFORDABLE INSURANCE RATES. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THINGS LIKE WHAT GOVERNOR STICKLAND TALKS ABOUT, INSURANCE EXCHANGE, MAKING INSURANCE MORE PORTABLE. WHEN YOU LOSE A JOB YOU SHOULDN'T LOSE HEALTHCARE. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO DEAL WITH ISSUES OF HIGH RISK POOLS. 37 STATES HAVE FIGURED OUT A WAY TO DO THAT. CONGRESS NEEDS TO ENCOURAGE THE OTHER STATES INCLUDING OHIO, WE HAVE WORKED ON ONE BUT IT'S NOT DONE. WE NEED TO GET THAT DONE. PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS SHOULD NOT LOSE INSURANCE. I THINK WE NEED TO FOCUS ON COST SAVINGS AND LEGAL REFORM. WE'RE PAYING $500 BILLION A YEAR TO ATTORNEYS INSTEAD OF DOCTORS IN HEALTHCARE.

>> THANK YOU, MR. STIVERS. NOW MS. KILROY.
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>> MY NAME IS RON. I'M ONE OF YOUR WESTERN CONSTITUENTS FROM UNION COUNTY. THE SOLVENCY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM HAS BEEN MENTIONS AND THE QUESTION OF THE SOLVENCY. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO BRING NEW REVENUE INTO THE SYSTEM?

>> WE BEGIN WITH MISS KILROY.
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>> THANK YOU, MR. ECKHART. NOW MR. STIVERS.

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION. SOCIAL SECURITY IS IMPORTANT TO AWFUL US AND ALL OF OUR FUTURES. IN A POLL I SAW MORE YOUNG PEOPLE BELIEVE IN UFOs THAN THOSE BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE THERE FOR THEM. WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT. I WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE DOES UNDERSTAND THERE IS A PROBLEM THAT WE'RE FACING. WHEN SOCIAL SECURITY WAS STARTED THERE WERE 47 WORKERS TO EVERY ONE RETIREE. NOW THERE ARE 3 HAD THE 4 WORKERS TO EVERY RETIREE. WE HAVE 77 MILLION BABY BOOMERS ABOUT TO RETIRE. WHILE I'M OPPOSED TO PRIVATIZATION OF THE SYSTEM I THINK PRESIDENT BUSH WAS WRONG ON THAT. I THINK WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER AND STOP POLITICALIZING SOCIAL SECURITY AND CONGRESS HAS TO STOP SPENDING THE MONEY IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND. WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER AND FIND OUT WHAT IS PASS ALIBLE TO EVERYBODY. WE NEED TO BRING EVERYTHING IN THE SYSTEM AND MAKE SURE WE KEEP THE PROMISES WE HAVE MADE. PROMISES MADE NEED TO BE PROMISES KEPT. I WORK WITH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TO KEEP SOCIAL SECURITY VIABLE. THANK YOU.

>> ALRIGHT. THANK YOU, VERY MUCH, MR. STIVERS.

YOU HAVE DONE A WONDERFUL JOB. TIME IS QUICKLY WANING HERE TONIGHT. WE HAVE TIME FOR ONE QUICK QUESTION I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THE PANEL. THEN GET THEM TO RESPOND ON THIS.

IF YOU COULD USE ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A LEADER, IN WHATEVER OFFICE YOU MAY HOLD, WHAT WORK WOULD THAT BE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF? THEN I WANT TO YOU TAKE ABOUT 30 SECONDS TO TELL ME WHY.
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>> THANK YOU, MS. KILROY. NOW MR. STIVERS.

>> THANK YOU, CHANNEL 4 AND THANK YOU AARP FOR HOSTING THE DEBATE, THANK YOU ALL FOR WATCHING. I HAVE SHARED A LITTLE BIT OF MY VISION TONIGHT. CONGRESS NEEDS TO ROLL UP THEIR SLEEVES AND GET TO WORK. PERSEVERANCE WE NEED TO WORK THROUGH THE ISSUES, TOUGH WORK, AND TEAMWORK. WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER. THE THEME OF THE DEBATE IS "DIVIDED WE FAIL." IF WE CAN'T WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS WE WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE. I HAVE WORKED WITH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS WITH ENERGY SECURITY TO REGULATE ENERGY HERE IN OHIO AND BUILD CLEAN ENERGY BY 2025. I HAVE WORKED AROUND ECONOMIC SECURITY TO HELP GROW OUR ECONOMY WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO THERE BUT WE HAVE STARTS. I HAVE WORKED AROUND OTHER HEALTHCARE ISSUES INCLUDING SOME OF THE THINGS I HAVE TALKED ABOUT TONIGHT. MEDICAID, BUY IN AND OTHERS. WE HAVE OTHER WORK TO DO IN WASHINGTON. WE DO NEED CHANGE. WE NEED FOR PEOPLE WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS. WHEN PEOPLE SAY CHANGE THEY CAN'T SAY I WANT TO CHANGE THINGS AND RUN THE SAME NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN THAT'S BEEN RUN SINCE 2006 AND CONTINUE RUN THE SAME NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNS. WE HAVE GOT TO WORK TOGETHER. I HAVE THE SKILLS TO DO IT, INTEREST TO DO IT, I WILL DO IT. I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU. I ASK FOR YOUR VOTE TO BE YOUR NEXT CONGRESSMAN. THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU, MR. STIVERS.

IT HAS BEEN ENLIGHTENING TONIGHT. WE HOPE THOSE IN THE AUDIENCE AND AT HOME HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE A LITTLE INFORMATION DOWN AS WE GET TO KNOW EACH OF THE CANDIDATES, WHAT THEY STAND FOR, WHAT THEIR VISION IS FOR THIS COUNTRY. WE CERTAINLY KNOW OHIO IS IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF OUR NATION. WE WANT TO SAY THANKS TO SENATOR STIVERS, COMMISSIONER KILROY, AND MR. ECKHART FOR BEING HERE, SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND VISIONS FOR THE 15th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. THANKS TO AARP FOR PARTNERING WITH NBC4 IN THIS CANDIDATES FORUM. THANK YOU AT HOME FOR WATCHING TONIGHT. WE HAVE A COMPLETE LIST OF CANDIDATES BY THE WAY AND ISSUES. THAT'S NBC4I.COM. THE KEY WORD POLITICS, BRILLIANT. THAT'S THE KEY WORD. WE HOPE TONIGHT'S DEBATE HELPS YOU PREPARE TO VOTE NOVEMBER 4th. HAVE A GOOD EVENING, EVERYONE. [ APPLAUSE ]


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