Politics » George Stephanopoulos http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics The latest Politics news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers including Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos and more. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:51:36 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Coming Up on ‘This Week’: Attorney General Eric Holder http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/coming-up-on-this-week-attorney-general-eric-holder/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/coming-up-on-this-week-attorney-general-eric-holder/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:54:44 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889562 gty eric holder doj kb 140709 16x9 608 Coming Up on This Week: Attorney General Eric Holder

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As new terror threats emerge from the Middle East and the battle rages over U.S. border enforcement, Attorney General Eric Holder comes to “This Week” Sunday.

The powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, ABC News contributor and Republican strategist Ana Navarro, ABC News contributor and former Obama White House senior adviser David Plouffe, and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts.

And in our “Sunday Spotlight,” one year after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, ABC News’ Matt Gutman catches up with Martin friend Rachel Jeantel, a key player in the controversial trial.

See the whole political picture, Sunday on “This Week.”

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Rick Perry: Obama Doesn’t Care Whether Border Is Secure http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/perry-obama-doesnt-care-whether-border-is-secure/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/perry-obama-doesnt-care-whether-border-is-secure/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 17:13:26 +0000 Benjamin Bell http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889157

Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said today he doesn’t think President Obama “particularly cares” about the immigration problem he said is plaguing the United States’ southern border, and charged that the administration has even sent “powerful messages” that people who cross the border illegally will be accepted.

During an exclusive interview this morning on “This Week,” Perry said a key to solving the crisis is ensuring border security and he argued that is not something that the president is concerned about.

“I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure,” Perry said. “And that’s the reason there’s been this lack of effort, this lack of focus, this lack of resources,” the Texas governor told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.

Perry, who has not ruled out a 2016 run for the White House, went further, saying the president has even encouraged the influx of immigration.

“The president has sent powerful messages time after time — by his policies, by nuances that it is OK to come to the United States and you can come across and you’ll be accepted in open arms. That is the real issue,” Perry said.

Raddatz asked Perry about comments he made on Fox News suggesting there was a conspiracy of sorts involving the Obama administration to get people into the United States. Perry did not seem to back off, and suggested the president may have an “ulterior motive.”

“When I have written a letter that is dated May of 2012, and I have yet to have a response from this administration, I will tell you they either are inept or don’t care, and that is my position,” he said.

“We have been bringing to the attention of President Obama and his administration since 2010, he received a letter from me on the tarmac. He sends — I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” he said

During an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos in late June, Obama, who called the situation at the border a “humanitarian crisis,” encouraged parents to not send their children to the border.

“Do not send your children to the borders,” he said. “If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

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‘A Murder is a Murder Whether It’s a Jew or an Arab,’ Says Israeli Ambassador http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/a-murder-is-a-murder-whether-its-a-jew-or-an-arab-says-israeli-ambassador/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/a-murder-is-a-murder-whether-its-a-jew-or-an-arab-says-israeli-ambassador/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 17:08:11 +0000 Alisa Wiersema http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889139

As tensions escalate in the Middle East, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. said the Israeli government plans to find and prosecute those who murdered a Palestinian teenager in what appears to be a revenge killing.

Ron Dermer condemned the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, telling ABC’s Martha Raddatz on Sunday’s “This Week” that “a murder is a murder is a murder, whether it’s a Jew or an Arab.”

Six Israeli suspects were reportedly arrested on Sunday in connection with the murder of Abu Khdeir, whose charred body was found in a forest.

“Our prime minister right when this happened condemned it [and] said that he would use all means available to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Dermer. “We will find and prosecute to the full extent of the law anyone who perpetrated this action.”

Dermer said authorities believe Khdeir’s murder was in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens – Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship.

Dermer also called video showing Israeli police officers beating a teenager, identified as Abu Khdeir’s cousin Tariq, as “very disturbing.”

“Excessive force is not something that we accept in Israel and there’s an investigation by our Justice Ministry to look into exactly what happened,” he said.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, of Tampa, Florida, was released from jail Sunday. He was visiting family in Jerusalem with his parents and sisters when police arrested him Thursday, a day after his cousin’s death.

Video clips posted online show Israeli police officers beating a young male, before dragging him away in arrest.

Israeli police forces claimed the teen was part of a group of masked youths armed with knives who resisted arrest and attacked the officers while participating in ongoing clashes. He denied participating in the protests.

After his release from custody Sunday, Abu Khdeir told ABC News he would ask the officers why they attacked him.

“At least try to tell me why would you do that to me if I didn’t do anything to you,” he said.

While fears have been raised of the region plunging into further back-and-forth attacks, Dermer maintained that the deaths and Israel’s response do not signal an ongoing cycle of violence. Israel struck 10 sites in the Gaza Strip overnight in response to rocket fire directed at Israel.

“It’s not a back and forth. It’s not a cycle of violence,” Dermer said. “What we have is a terror organization in Gaza that has fired thousands of rockets at Israel’s cities and that are firing rockets at us today.”

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U.S. Border Protection Head: Central American Immigrants Not Dangerous http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/u-s-border-protection-head-central-american-immigrants-not-dangerous/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/u-s-border-protection-head-central-american-immigrants-not-dangerous/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 16:55:24 +0000 Jim Avila http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889126 AP immigrant children border detention jt 140706 16x9 608 U.S. Border Protection Head: Central American Immigrants Not Dangerous

Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

The migrants from Central Americasurging across the border are “family members” and do not present a danger to the U.S., Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said today.

“These are family members, these are not gang members, these are not dangerous individuals,” Kerlikowske told ABC News’ Jim Avila in an exclusive interview, his first since the crisis began. “I think that we all need to work through this problem together as Americans.”

When asked if he had enough agents, Kerlikowske said he did.

“[Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson] has just deployed an additional 150 agents to the Rio Grande Valley, and that is on top of the 115 that are already moving in. So I am confident that we have the resources,” Kerlikowske said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry disagrees and said on ABC’S “This Week” that the commissioner was wrong.

“He is absolutely and totally wrong,” Perry said. “The idea that there is equity and enough Border Patrol agents is totally and absolutely incorrect.”

Perry has called for the National Guard to be deployed to the border, but Kerlikowske said handling and processing these migrants is unique and the National Guard is unnecessary.

According to Kerlikowske, these mothers and child immigrants often to run towards U.S. agents, turning themselves in and seeking detainment. By law, border patrol agents have to take them in. Unlike migrants from Mexico — who can be deported almost immediately — U.S. law requires that migrants from non-contiguous states, like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, be treated as refugees and detained, evaluated, and processed through immigration court.

The Obama administration now hopes to give the Department of Homeland Security more discretion to fast-track deportations for all these Central American migrants.

In the meantime, Kerlikowske praised his agents for their work under a difficult situation.

“These agents have gone well beyond the call of duty, taking care of these kids, treating them with true compassion, with true heartfelt sympathy,” he said.

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July 4th Weekend: Your Photos http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/july-4th-weekend-your-photos/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/july-4th-weekend-your-photos/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:51:15 +0000 Benjamin Bell http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889078 This July 4th weekend we asked you, our audience, to submit your photos, showing us how you are celebrating the holiday weekend. Below we’ve compiled some of your submissions and also a few shots from our ABC News family.
















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Leah Chase’s Gumbo Z’Herbes Recipe http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/leah-chases-gumbo-zherbes-recipe/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/leah-chases-gumbo-zherbes-recipe/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 21:04:03 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889039 HT Lea Chase mar 140703 16x9 608 Leah Chases Gumbo ZHerbes Recipe

Photograph by David G. Spielman, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Award-winning New Orleans chef Leah Chase has spent her career sharing her Creole cuisine with people around the world, including musicians, celebrities, and presidents. Below is one of Chase’s favorite recipes, excerpted from her book And Still I Cook. Sunday on ‘This Week, ABC News’ Susan Saulny sits down with Leah Chase to discuss her remarkable life.

Gumbo Z’Herbes

Recipe from Leah Chase


1 bunch mustard greens

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch turnips

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch beet tops

1 bunch carrot tops

1 bunch spinach

½ head lettuce

½ head cabbage

2 medium onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped

Water (2 -3 qt.)

1 lb. smoked sausage

1 lb. smoked ham

1 lb. brisket stew meat

1 lb. boneless brisket

1 lb. hot chaurice*

5 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. thyme leaves

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. filé powder

Steamed rice

Clean all vegetables, making sure to pick out bad leaves and rinse away all grit.  Place all vegetables, onions, and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for 30 minutes. While this is boiling, cut all sausages and meats into bite-size pieces and set aside. Keep chaurice pieces separate. Strain vegetables after boiling and reserve liquid. Place all meats, except chaurice, and 2 cups of reserved liquid (save the rest), in a 12-qt. stockpot. Steam over high fire for 15 minutes. While steaming other meats, place the chaurice in a skillet over a high fire and steam until chaurice is rendered (all grease cooked out), about 10 minutes. Remove the chaurice and set aside, keeping the grease in the skillet. All vegetables must be pureed. This can be done in a food processor or by hand in a meat grinder. Heat the skillet of chaurice grease over a high fire and stir in the flour. Cook this roux for 5 minutes or until floor is cooked (it does not have to brown). Pour roux over meat mixture; stir well. Add vegetables and the remaining 2 qt. reserved liquid. Let simmer over a low fire for 20 minutes. Add chaurice, thyme, salt, and cayenne; stir well. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add filé powder; stir well and remove from fire. Serve over steamed rice. Serves 8 generously. *Chaurice sausage is a fresh, highly spiced Creole sausage.

Excerpted from And Still I Cook by Leah Chase by arrangement with Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., Copyright © Leah Chase, 2003. First paperback edition 2011.

HT leah chase hands jt 140705 16x9 608 Leah Chases Gumbo ZHerbes Recipe

Courtesy Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

“These hands belong to a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, neighbor, friend, and New Orleans icon. They are the hands of Leah Chase. Not only have they cuddled 23 great-grandchildren, they’ve stirred thousands of pots of gumbo. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. had a bowlful. So have several U.S. Presidents, Thurgood Marshal, James Baldwin, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, and Ray Charles. Tomorrow she’ll be happy to feed you. ‘I still cook,’ she says. And the hands don’t lie.”

—Kit Wohl, from New Orleans Classic Brunches 

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Five Things You Might Not Know About Gov. Rick Perry http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/five-things-you-might-not-know-about-gov-rick-perry/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/five-things-you-might-not-know-about-gov-rick-perry/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 15:57:27 +0000 Benjamin Bell http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889029 gty rick perry governor jc 140703 16x9 608 Five Things You Might Not Know About Gov. Rick Perry

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas will sit down for an interview on “This Week” Sunday with ABC’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz. Here are five things you might not know about the governor of the Lone Star State.

1) Perry — who is a fifth generation Texan — was born in 1950. He grew up in Paint Creek. [You can see where it is below.] Perry did not have indoor plumbing the first five years of his life, earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a boy in the Boy Scouts and was a quarterback for his high school football team. He graduated from Texas A&M University (mentioned on the governor’s website is that he is the first graduate of the university to “occupy the Governor’s Mansion”). In college, he was a “yell leader.” You can find out more about yell leaders here. He graduated in 1972.

2) Perry is married to Anita Thigpen Perry, who worked for many years as a nurse. The couple has two children named Griffin and Sydney. Perry told us something else about his family that you might not know. Head over to the “This Week” Instagram account to find out.

3) Perry spent several years as a Democrat and even supported former Vice President Al Gore during his 1988 bid for president. Perry joined the GOP in 1989.

4) Perry is his state’s 47th and longest-serving governor, replacing George W. Bush in 2000 as Bush was preparing to enter the White House. Perry will not be running for another term as Texas governor but has not ruled out another bid for the White House following his last run, which is perhaps most memorable for the governor’s now infamous “Oops”  moment during one of the Republican presidential debates in Michigan.

5) The governor, like some other famous pols, has acting experience. He played himself in the 2005 Tommy Lee Jones film, “Man of the House.”

BONUS: Right from the governor himself, here’s one additional thing you might not know about him. Perry told this to ABC’s Jeff Zeleny last year.

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Sunday on ‘This Week’: Texas Governor Rick Perry http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/sunday-on-this-week-texas-governor-rick-perry/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/sunday-on-this-week-texas-governor-rick-perry/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:35:02 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=888943 gty rick perry governor texas jc 140703 16x9 608 Sunday on This Week: Texas Governor Rick Perry

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Following their testimony at a Homeland Security Committee field hearing this week on the crisis on the border, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Bishop Mark Seitz of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Texas come to “This Week” Sunday.

Plus, in his first interview since the crisis began, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske weighs in on the border battle, only on “This Week.”

And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with Yahoo News National Political Columnist Matt Bai, ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, and former House Speaker and CNN “Crossfire” co-host Newt Gingrich.

See the whole political picture, Sunday on “This Week.”

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Analysis: What’s the Real Reason Behind Central American Immigrant Wave? U.S. Law http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/analysis-whats-the-real-reason-behind-central-american-immigrant-wave-u-s-law/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/analysis-whats-the-real-reason-behind-central-american-immigrant-wave-u-s-law/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 20:21:42 +0000 Jim Avila http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=888458

Between the waves of unaccompanied children, more than 52,000 of them so far this year, coming across the border with Mexico and the sharp increase in the number of mothers from Central America carrying their children across, there has been a massive influx of undocumented immigrants to the United States.

The border breach, which President Obama dubbed a “humanitarian crisis,” pitted Republicans and Democrats against each other again last week, the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that died in the House, as to what the cause of the mass influx can be attributed to as they try to resolve the issue.

Republicans have placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Obama and his two-year-old relief for young undocumented immigrants or DREAMERS program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which grants temporary legal status to those who have spent the majority of their life in the U.S.

At a hearing Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said: “When these individuals were asked why they made the journey to the United States, approximately 95 percent indicated that the main reason was to take advantage of the new U.S. law that grants a free pass or permit, referred to as ‘permisos,’ being issued by the U.S. government to women traveling with minors and unaccompanied alien minors.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said at a press conference: “We believe in the rule of law, and dang it, the federal government has got a job to do.”

What’s the Reality?

In fact, desperate Central American parents are exploiting separate legal loopholes in American border security passed before Obama took office.

Unaccompanied minors fall under the bipartisan law, William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

That law says the children cannot be sent back. They must instead be held humanely by the Department of Health and Human Services until the courts release them to a “suitable family member” in this country.

The child “shall be promptly placed in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child,” the law stipulates. “Placement of child trafficking victims may include placement in an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program … if a suitable family member is not available to provide care.”

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sources say more than 80 percent of these children will find permanent homes in the U.S., with either family or foster homes and not be sent back to Central America.

Meanwhile, there is no place to house those mothers flooding the border with their children, as Thomas Homan, executive associate director of ICE for Enforcement and Removal Operations, told a House committee last week.

“I have 96 beds — 96 family beds is all I have,” Homan said.

Instead, the Customs and Border Protection (CPB) ends up dropping them at the local bus station to safely join relatives here across the country.

They must promise to appear in immigration court, but no one will say how many ever do. DHS announced last week it is rapidly expanding facilities, opening a 700-bed facility in New Mexico, but until then these are empty threats.

As the president himself told ABC’S George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview, he has no choice.

“We have to house these kids and take care of them until the machinery, under current law, allows us to send them back,” President Obama said Thursday.

And now President Obama is requesting about $2 billion in emergency funding from Congress to help deal with the crisis, along with expanded power for DHS to fast-track deportations. The White House says it plans to send a detailed letter to Congress following the July 4 recess.

The president will also ask for tougher penalties for smugglers who bring children across the border. Current law applies to traffickers but not those smuggling willing individuals across the border.

Just last week, Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced legislation in the Senate that would increase penalties for smugglers to 20 years in prison.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has said: “It is not safe to send your child on the over 1,000 mile journey into Mexico, into south Texas if you’re a parent considering doing this. DACA is not available for your child.”

Central America Violence

Obama and his administration, meanwhile, say the violence in the Central American countries is to blame for the mass influx.

A travel warning put out this week by the State Department said that “since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world,” citing the homicide rate of 75.6 per 100,000 people in 2013.

A march 2014 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report found that of 404 unaccompanied children they spoke to who entered the U.S. during or after October 2011, 58 percent “were forcibly displaced because they suffered or faced harms that indicated a potential or actual need for international protection.”

While the United States received around 85 percent of all applications for asylum, the UNHCR report also found a 435 percent increase in asylum requests from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in other countries — Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Belize.

This isn’t a new trend. CBP has seen an effective doubling in apprehensions of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for the past few years — even before DACA. The number jumped from just over 4,000 in 2011, to almost 10,500 in 2012, and 26,000 in 2013. This year the current number stands at 39,000 for the same three countries.

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Border Town Mayor: Influx of Immigrants Not Yet a Crisis http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/border-town-mayor-influx-of-immigrants-not-yet-a-crisis/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/border-town-mayor-influx-of-immigrants-not-yet-a-crisis/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 20:04:26 +0000 Alisa Wiersema http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=888503

Although President Obama called the influx of undocumented minors on the U.S.-Mexico border a “humanitarian crisis” this week, Mayor Jim Darling of the U.S. border town of McAllen, Texas, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he disagrees with that label.

“We don’t think it’s a crisis,” Darling said today on “This Week.” “We’re doing everything — efforts here at the border to make sure it doesn’t turn into a crisis.”

Darling described how McAllen’s border bus station serves as “point zero” for the undocumented immigrants as they are processed by border patrol. In order to prevent the situation from reaching what he would consider to be a crisis, Darling said many of McAllen’s community organizations have stepped up to offer services to help the incoming arrivals.

“They come — they only have the clothes that they have on their back. They haven’t had proper hygiene for the last couple of weeks. They’re hungry. They’re a lot of little kids,” Darling said. “And so what happened to us is a Catholic church at the city of McAllen, [in addition to] other community entities got together and decided that we’re not going to send them from our city in those conditions. And they’re providing for all those needed services.”

ABC mayor jim darling jt 140629 16x9 608 Border Town Mayor: Influx of Immigrants Not Yet a Crisis

Mayor Jim Darling of McAllen, Texas on This Week. Credit: ABC News

Despite the town’s best efforts, McAllen’s local newspaper, The Monitor, ran a front page headline Friday stating that costs were mounting for immigrant care for towns on the border.

“We’ve spent $70,000 so far. We expect to spend over half a million before the end of the year,” Darling said. “The Catholic charities and other charitable organizations are spending about $150,000. They expect to spend almost a million dollars before the end of the year. So it’s not fair to our taxpayers. It’s not fair to the charities to have to front those monies when really this is a federal situation.”

In addition to the financial burden, Darling said that McAllen may not have the human resources to continue to aid more undocumented immigrants in the future.

“We’re really worried about sustainability, both from the standpoint of dollars, but also from community participation,” Darling told Stephanopoulos. “We have doctors that volunteer to see the kids and the moms, and that’s way, way too much to expect them to do that on any kind of sustainable basis.

For more on the developing situation in Iraq, watch This Week on Sunday.

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