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Campaign Rally With Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), Democratic Nominee for President

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Date:
Location: Springfield, MO


CAMPAIGN RALLY WITH SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT

PARKVIEW HIGH SCHOOL

Copyright ©2008 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500, 1000 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC 20005 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service at www.fednews.com, please email Carina Nyberg at cnyberg@fednews.com or call 1-202-216-2706.

SEN. OBAMA: Hello, Springfield! (Cheers, applause.) Wow! (Cheers, applause.) Look at this! (Cheers, applause.) Look it here! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you! (Cheers, applause.) I didn't see you guys up there!

Thank you, everybody! Thank you so much! What a crowd here in Springfield, Missouri! (Cheers, applause.) Wow!

I know you guys came to see Sasha and Malia -- (cheers, applause) -- and Michelle. (Cheers, applause.) I'm the least exciting Obama -- (laughter) -- but I am so grateful to all of you for taking the time to be here tonight. It is a beautiful evening and a remarkable crowd and just good spirits all around.

I want to give a special thanks to somebody who has just been a fierce warrior on behalf of this campaign; somebody who was there from the start; somebody who was with us through thick and thin! She is one of the finest new senators that we have ever seen! She is fighting on behalf of the working people of Missouri each and every day! Please give Claire McCaskill a big round of applause! (Cheers, applause.)

I want to thank the next governor of the great state of Missouri! He is going to do an outstanding job with your help. Please give it up for Jay Nixon! (Cheers, applause.)

And this whole family has been, you know, really the first family in Missouri, just dedicated in so many ways to public service. And I am grateful for all of them. We have here tonight one of the most gifted, young elected officials in the country. So please give a big round of applause to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan! (Cheers, applause.)

It is great to be in Springfield! (Cheers, applause.) And Missouri, I just have two words for you tonight: Three days! (Cheers, applause.) Three days! Although somebody just -- you know, somebody just yelled out "show me!" I like that too. Show me! You're showing me something tonight! (Cheers, applause.) You're showing me something tonight. You're showing the nation something tonight here in Missouri.

But after decades of broken politics in Washington; after eight years of failed policies from George W. Bush -- (boos) -- we don't need to boo! We just need to vote! (Cheers, applause.)

After 21 months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coasts of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are three days away from changing America -- (cheers, applause) -- right here in Missouri! (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

SEN. OBAMA: Yes, we can!

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

SEN. OBAMA: You know, in three days you can turn the page on the policies that put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street ahead of the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street! (Cheers, applause.) In three days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class and create new jobs and grow this economy so that everybody has the chance to succeed -- not just the CEO, but the secretary and the janitor; not just the factory owner, but the men and women on the factory floor. (Cheers, applause.)

In three days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that pits region against region and city against town; and Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we really need to hope! (Cheers, applause.)

In three days, Springfield, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change that we need. (Cheers, applause.)

And you know, it's fitting that we're here in Springfield, Missouri, because we began this journey in the depths of winter nearly two years ago on the Old State Capital steps in Springfield, Illinois. And back then -- (cheers) -- back then we didn't have much money; we didn't have many endorsements; and we weren't given much of a chance by the polls or the pundits. We knew how steep our climb would be.

But I also knew this: I knew that the size of this country's challenges had outgrown the smallness of our politics! I was convinced that the American people of every political stripe were hungry for new ideas, new leadership, a new politics: one that favored commonsense over ideology -- (cheers); one that focused on the values and ideals that we have as Americans! (Cheers, applause.)

See -- see, I knew that the American people were a decent, generous people willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations. And I was convinced that when we come together -- the way we're coming together tonight -- our voices are more powerful than the most entrenched lobbyists in Washington; the most vicious political attacks -- (cheers, applause); the status quo in Washington that wants to keep things just the way they are!

You are stronger than what's going on in Washington right now! And you're about to bring change! (Cheers, applause.)

So here we are 21 months later and my faith in the American people's been vindicated! That's how we've come so far and so close -- because of you! That's how we'll change this country -- with your help!

And that's why, Springfield, in these last three days, we can't afford to slow down or sit back or let up for one minute, one day, one second in these last few days! (Cheers, applause.) Not now, not when there's so much at stake! (Cheers, applause.) Not when there's an election to win right here in the state of Missouri! (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

SEN. OBAMA: We are -- we understand the sense of urgency that's required, because we're in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

And I don't need to tell you this, because many of you are living it. We are seeing jobs vanish, going overseas. We are seeing pensions disappear. People are losing their health care. We have the highest rate of foreclosure since the Great Depression. Everywhere you go, people's wages and incomes are flat. Businesses and families can't get credit.

So it's harder and harder to save; it's harder and harder to retire; it's harder to make the mortgage or fill up your gas tank or even keep the electricity on at the end of the month.

So look, at moments like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired old, stale economic theories -- (cheers, applause) -- that say we should give more and more money to billionaires and millionaires and big corporations and hope that prosperity trickles down on everybody else.

AUDIENCE: No!

SEN. OBAMA: The last thing we can afford is four more years where we don't even try to regulate what's happening on Wall Street and lobbyists are running amuck and investors and consumers are put at risk.

Now, those economic theories are what got us into this mess in the first place. They have not worked! It is time for a change! And that's why I'm running for president of the United States of America! (Cheers, applause.)

Now, let me say this: John McCain has served this country with honor and distinction. He can point to a few moments over the past eight years where he's broke from George W. Bush. But when it comes to the economy; when it comes to the central issue of this election, the plain truth is, is that John McCain has stood with this president every step of the way! He hasn't been a maverick! He's been a sidekick! (Cheers, applause.)

He voted for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that he once said were irresponsible. He voted for the Bush budgets that spent us into debt; called for less regulation 21 times just this year, when everybody knows that what happened on Wall Street was the result of a lack of oversight. Those are just the facts!

Now, after 21 months and three debates, John McCain still has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing he'd do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy. (Cheers, applause.) Not one thing! (Cheers, applause.)

I mean, think about it! You've been seeing a lot of ads here in Missouri. You know what John McCain has to say about me, but you don't know what he's going to do for the country! He doesn't have a plan! (Cheers, applause.)

You know, and when it comes to his economic plan -- I know we just passed Halloween, but John McCain's been out there dressed as George W. Bush for a pretty long time! (Cheers, applause.)

When John McCain wants to give a $700,000 tax cut to the average Fortune 500 CEO, that's not change! When he wants to give $200 billion to the biggest corporations or $4 billion to the oil companies -- when ExxonMobil just made record profits -- that's not change! (Boos.)

It's not change when he wants to leave out 100 million Americans from tax relief under his plan. That's not change!

AUDIENCE: No!

SEN. OBAMA: That's the same old, same old.

It's not change when he offers a health care plan that would tax your health care benefits for the first time; and when he has no plan to make college more affordable. That's what we've been getting for the last eight years! (Cheers, applause.)

Now, President Bush is sitting out the last few weeks of the election -- (laughter) -- but earlier today, Dick Cheney -- (boos) -- Dick Cheney -- (boos) -- don't need to boo, just need to vote!

Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location -- (laughter) -- and he hit the campaign trail. He said that he is, and I quote Dick Cheney here, he is "delighted to support John McCain."

So I would like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement! (Cheers, applause.) Because he really earned it! (Laughter.) That endorsement didn't come easy! John McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with Bush and Cheney to get that endorsement.

He had to serve as Washington's biggest cheerleader for going to war in Iraq. He had to support economic policies that have gotten us into this mess! So Senator McCain worked hard to get Dick Cheney's support. It finally paid off!

But here's my question for you, Missouri: Do you really think that Dick Cheney is "delighted" to support John McCain, because he thinks John McCain's going to bring change?

AUDIENCE: No!

SEN. OBAMA: Because he thinks that somehow that McCain is going to really shake things up and put Halliburton on the sidelines and get rid of all the lobbyists and old boys' network in Washington? Come on, Missouri! We know better! (Cheers.) We're not going to be hoodwinked!

AUDIENCE: No!

SEN. OBAMA: After all, it was just a few days ago that Senator McCain said that he and President Bush share a common philosophy. And we know that when it comes to foreign policy, John McCain and Dick Cheney share a common philosophy that thinks that you can just talk tough and somehow that's going to fix all our problems; and a war without end in Iraq is the way to defeat bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorists who are in Afghanistan and Pakistan where we should have been focused on in the first place! (Cheers, applause.)

So George Bush may be in an undisclosed location, but Dick Cheney's out there on the campaign trail, because he'd be "delighted" to pass the baton to John McCain. Actually, the truth is, Bush and Cheney -- they've dug a deep hole. So what he really wants to do is pass a shovel to John McCain -- (cheers, applause) -- to dig that hole deeper!

Dick Cheney knows that with John McCain you get a two-for: George Bush's economic policies and Dick Cheney's foreign policies. And that's a risk we cannot afford to take! (Cheers, applause.)

It's time for change! That's why I need your help so that I can bring about that change in the White House! (Cheers, applause.)

Look, Missouri --

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

SEN. OBAMA: We have tried it John McCain's way. We've tried it George Bush and Dick Cheney's way.

I mean, it's not as if we haven't conducted a 16-year experiment. We have! We had Bill Clinton for eight years -- (cheers, applause) -- all right? And during those eight years, we created 22 million new jobs. We took -- we went from deficit to surplus. Everybody did well. Workers did well, rich people did well, the economy grew. And the average family income, when the Democrats were in charge, went up $7,500. Your average income went up $7,500.

Now, under George Bush, the average income has gone down $2,000! And we've gone from a surplus to over half-a-trillion dollar deficit and we've loaded up an additional $5 trillion -- we've doubled the national debt since George Bush took office. The first 42 presidents, they amassed $5 trillion and one president did another whole $5 trillion! (Boos.)

Now, I don't know about you, but if I keep on hitting my head against a wall it starts to hurt. And I say to myself, "that's it. I'm going to stop. I don't want to do that anymore."

We can't keep on doing what we've been doing the last eight years if we want to make a stronger America! (Cheers, applause.) Can't do it!

And you know, Missouri -- I mean, this the "show me" state, right? (Cheers.) So what I'm saying is, we have shown you what happens when you've got a theory of the economy that we grow from the bottom up or a theory that says we've got trickle down economics.

We've got a comparison that you can look at.

And deep down, John McCain knows that, which is why his campaign said that if we keep on talking about the economy, we're going to lose! And that's why I keep on talking about the economy -- (cheers, applause) -- because they deserve to lose! (Cheers, applause.)

That's why McCain's spending these last weeks calling me every name but a child of God -- (laughter) -- because that's how you play the game in Washington! You know, if you can't win with your ideas, then you just try to tear the other guy up. You try to make a big election about small things.

So I'm sure we're going to see a little bit of that over the next couple of days. More of the "slash and burn", say "anything goes" kind of politics that just divides and distracts us; that tears us apart instead of bringing us together. But that's not the kind of politics that the American people are looking for right now.

See, the people of Missouri, they want to just solve problems. They don't want name-calling! And in this election, we have the chance to do more than just beat back that kind of politics for the short term. We can put an end to it once and for all! We can prove that the American people want something better! They deserve something better and that is why I am going to need all of you to turn out in record numbers on November 4th! (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

SEN. OBAMA: Yes, we can!

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

SEN. OBAMA: Now, we can prove that we're not as divided as our politics would suggest; that we're more than just a collection of red states and blue states. We're the United States of America! (Cheers, applause.)

We can steer ourselves out of this crisis with a new politics for a new time. We can build a future we know is possible as one people and one nation. That's why I'm running -- to bring us together!

Now, Missouri, I know these are difficult times. I know many of you are anxious. But I want to remind you: We've faced difficult times before. The American story has never been about things coming easy. It's been about rising to the moment when the moment was hard.

You think about a president that came from Missouri -- a haberdasher name Harry Truman. You think about the incredible — the incredible difficulties that he had to help usher us through after World War II.

You know, I mean, we've always had a way, when we needed to, of rejecting fear and division for unity of purpose. That's how we overcame war and depression. That's how we won great struggles for civil rights and women's rights and workers' rights in this country. (Cheers, applause.) That's how we're going to write the next great chapter in the American story! (Cheers, applause.)

But if we want to meet the challenges of this moment, then we're going to need to not just change new policies. We're going to have to change how we do business and get beyond the old, ideological debates and divides between left and right.

You know, we don't need, for example, bigger government or smaller government. That's an old argument! What we need is better government, smarter government, more competent government! (Cheers, applause.) That's what we need!

The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts or no tax cut. That's an old argument! McCain and I both want to give tax cuts. The difference is who we're going to give it to! He wants to give tax cuts to the same folks that have been living high on the hog on Wall Street.

I think we should be rewarding work and the workers who created wealth! (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: That's right! (Cheers, applause.)

SEN. OBAMA: And that's why I want to give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get their taxes taken out of their paychecks every single week! (Cheers, applause.)

I want to give a tax break to the nurse and the teacher -- (cheers, applause) -- and the construction worker; the laborer! I want to give a tax break to folks who are really working hard, but things are slipping away from them. And I'll help pay for this by asking the folks who are making more than a $250,000 a year -- a quarter-million-dollars a year -- to go back to the tax rates they were paying back in the 1990s. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, I just want to see a show of hands -- it looks like we've got about, what, 40,000 people here -- that's a pretty good sampling -- (cheers, applause). I want to see a show of hands: How many people here make less than a quarter-million-dollars a year? (Cheers, applause.) All right -- now, remember what you're seeing right here.

Ninety-eight percent of small businesses make less than a quarter-million dollars a year; 99.9 percent of plumbers make less than a quarter-million dollars a year! (Cheers, applause.)

So don't be fooled -- don't be fooled by what McCain's talking about!

AUDIENCE: No!

SEN. OBAMA: Don't fall for this old tactic! No matter what John McCain may claim, here are the facts: All of you who raised your hand making less than a quarter-million-dollars a year, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime -- not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax. No tax! (Cheers, applause.) We're not going to raise taxes on the middleclass! We're going to cut taxes for the middleclass. That's the change we need!

Now, you know what else we need? We can argue all we want about taxes, but what we also need is jobs. (Cheers.) And the choice in this election is not between putting up a wall around America or standing by and do nothing. Look, the truth is, we're going to have to compete in this global economy. Everybody knows that! We know we're going to have to compete and what that means is that we're going to have to engage in trade -- nothing wrong with that.

But you know what? There's a way of making sure that our trade agreements are good for American workers and American businesses; that there are worker protections and environmental protections; that they are letting our products in if we're letting their products into our country! There's a way of making sure that we're not giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas like John McCain supports! (Cheers, applause.) And that we make sure that we're giving tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States of America, right here in Missouri, right here in Springfield! (Cheers, applause.)

We need to create -- we can create 2 million new jobs just by building our infrastructure -- our crumbling roads, our bridges, our schools. We can create 5 million new jobs by investing in the new energy economy over the next decade! (Cheers, applause.) Jobs that pay well! Jobs that can't be outsourced building solar panels, building wind turbines, creating new biofuels! (Cheers.) Building the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow not in Japan, not in South Korea but right here in Missouri, right here in the United States of America!

When it comes to health care, we don't have to choose between a government-run health care system and the unaffordable one we have now. That's the old argument!

Here's what we need to do: If you already have health insurance, the only thing I'm going to do is I'm going to work to lower your premiums -- (cheers, applause) -- because premiums have doubled since George Bush took office -- doubled!

Now, if you don't have heath insurance, we're going to let you buy the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves! (Cheers.) That's only fair! (Cheers, applause.

)

And as somebody who watched my mother on a hospital bed argue with insurance companies because they said her cancer was a preexisting condition and maybe they didn't have to pay for her treatment, I am going to make sure that insurance companies can't discriminate against people who are sick and need care the most! That's the change we need! (Cheers, applause.) That's why I'm running for president! (Cheers, applause.)

When it comes to giving every child a world-class education, the choice is not between more money and more reform -- that's the old argument! Our schools need both! There are wonderful teachers here.

As president, I want to invest in early childhood education -- (cheers, applause) -- make sure our kids get a good start in school. I want to recruit an army of new teachers, give them higher pay, give them more support, increase standards, increase accountability! (Cheers, applause.)

And I want to make sure that every young person in America has a bargain in front of them: If you are willing to invest in national service; if you're willing to serve in our military; if you're willing to work in the Peace Corps, work in a veterans home, work in a homeless shelter -- whatever service you choose -- we are going to make sure you can afford to go to college no ifs, ands or buts! (Cheers, applause.)

And finally, when it comes to keeping this country safe, we don't have to choose between retreating between -- between retreating from the world and fighting a war in Iraq without end. It is time to stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when we've got huge needs here at home! (Cheers, applause.)

So as president, I will end this war -- (cheers, applause). I will end this war! (Cheers, applause.) I will ask the Iraqi government -- I'll ask the Iraqi government to step up for their future! I will finally finish the fight against bin Laden and al Qaeda -- those who killed 3,000 Americans! (Cheers, applause.)

I will never hesitate to defend this nation! I will never hesitate to do whatever is required to keep America safe! And I will make sure that our servicemen and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat, and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home! That's what we owe our veterans and that's what I will do as president of the United States! (Cheers, applause.)

Now, Missouri, I won't pretend that any of this is going to be easy or that it's going to be quick -- especially now. You know, the cost of this economic crisis and the cost of the war in Iraq means that Washington's going to have to tighten its belt, just like families are having to tighten their belts, businesses are going to have to tighten their belts. Washington's got to do the same thing. We're going to have to put off spending on things we don't need.

I'm going to go through the federal budget line by line. We're going to end programs we don't need. We're going to make the ones that we do need work better and cost less! (Cheers, applause.)

But as I've said from the day we began this campaign, the change we need won't just come from government. Each of us is going to have to do our part in our own lives and our own communities. It's going to come from each of us looking out for ourselves and our families; but also looking out for our fellow citizens.

You know, government can do a lot to promote energy efficiency, but each of us -- look at all these folks here! All of us could think about how our homes and businesses can become more efficient. I want to put more money into schools, but I can't be the parent that turns off the television set and make your child do your homework! (Cheers, applause.) That's the parent's job! Everybody's got to take responsibility! (Cheers, applause.)

We've got to usher in a new era of responsibility and we've got to return to civility. You know, we can argue and debate our positions passionately, but all of us need the strength and grace and humor to bridge our differences, to unite in common effort. All of us -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American; young, old; rich, poor; gay, straight; disabled, not disabled; Republican, Democrat, independent -- (cheers, applause) -- all of us have to come together! (Cheers, and applause.) All of us! (Cheers and applause.)

We're going to disagree on some things, but we've got to remember: We're all Americans! We can't afford these same political games and tactics that pit us against each other, make us afraid of one another.

You know, despite what our opponents may claim, there are no real or fake parts of this country! (Cheers, applause.) There's no city or town that is more pro-America than anywhere else! (Cheers, applause.) We're all one nation; we're all proud; we're all of us patriots! (Cheers, applause.)

The men and women who serve in our battlefields -- they may be Democrats and Republicans and independents -- but they fought together and they've bled together, and some of them died together under the same proud flag! They have not served a red America or a blue America! They have served the United States of America! (Cheers, applause.) That's what this election's about! (Cheers, applause.)

It won't be easy; it won't be quick, but you and I know it's time to come together! You know we can do it! We can feel it! Some of you may be cynical; some of you may be fed up with politics. I understand that. You have every right to be.

But despite all of this, I'm asking of you what's been asked of every generation of Americans when things go tough -- throughout our history. I ask you to believe, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours! I know this change is possible, because I've seen it. During the course of 21 months, because in this campaign, I've had the privilege to witness what is best in America!

I've seen it in the faces of the men and women I meet all across the country. In town halls and VFW halls and diners --men and women who tell me their stories, tell me their struggles, but also their hopes and their dreams.

You know, I was in Fort Lauderdale for a big rally and I met a woman there named Robyn. She introduced me to -- her son was there, a high school student. And sometime after our event, her son nearly went into cardiac arrest and he was later diagnosed with a heart condition that could only be treated with a procedure that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Robyn's insurance company refused to pay. The family just didn't have that kind of money.

So she wrote me an e-mail. And Robyn wrote in the e-mail: "Senator Obama, I ask only this of you: On the days where you feel so tired you can't think of uttering another word to the people, think of us. When those who oppose you have you down, reach deep and fight back harder."

See, Missouri, that's what hope is! (Cheers, applause.) That's what kept some of our parents and grandparents going when times were tough! (Cheers, applause.) You know, that's what led them to say: "Maybe I can't go to college, but if I save a little bit each week, maybe my child can go to college. I may not own my own business. I may have to work real hard for somebody else, but if I work really hard and save, maybe my child can open up their own business."

It's what led those who could not vote to say, "If I march and organize, maybe my child or grandchild -- maybe they can vote someday!" (Cheers, applause.)

That's what hope is! That thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that there are better days ahead -- if we're willing to work for them! If we're willing to shed our fears; if we're willing to really reach deep inside ourselves when we're tired and when we're discouraged, and then we come back and we fight harder.

Now, Missouri, don't believe for a second this election's over. Don't think for a minute that power will concede without a fight. We're going to have to work like our future depends on it, in these last few days, because it does! (Cheers, applause.)

And here in Missouri especially, this is going to be a tight race! It's going to come down to who wants it more! You know, I know this is a great crowd, and it just goes to show you what hard work will do, because a lot of folks said, well, you know, there aren't that many Democrats down in southern Missouri!

I don't know how the election's going to go, but the point is, look what has happened because of you! So there are some more folks out there. You know, you've got some friends at work or you've got your grandma, she's saying, you know, what? Obama seems okay, but he's kind of young, you know? Maybe we need more experience or we need -- you know, I'm not sure about his position on taxes.

I need you to be my ambassadors. I need you to make the case. I need you to close the deal, because the time for change has come! You know it! And we've got a righteous wind at our backs! (Cheers, applause.)

And if in these last two days you want it more -- if you want it more than the other side, if you will knock on some doors with me; if you'll make some calls with me; if you'll got to Barackobama.com to find out where to vote -- you can vote early here in Missouri -- if you'll go out and stand with me and fight by side; if you'll join arm- and-arm with each other, then I promise you: We will not just win Missouri! We will win this general election! (Cheers, applause.) Then you and I together will change this country and change the world!

God bless you! And God bless the United States of America! (Cheers, applause.)

END.


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