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A look at Kinzinger’s fight with the far-right

Monday, Feb 1, 2021

* AP

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, is launching a political action committee to push back against a House GOP leadership team and party that he says have become too closely aligned to the former president.

The “Country 1st” PAC, unveiled in a six-minute video released Sunday, will challenge the current direction of a GOP that Kinzinger says has wrongly become a “Trump-first party” to the detriment of the nation, as seen by the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

The Illinois congressman cited most Republicans’ seeming unwillingness to hold Trump accountable for his role in encouraging the violent protests, as well as the party’s support of lawmakers such as Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has drawn criticism for past social media posts reported by various news organizations in which she’s suggested support for killing Democratic politicians, unfounded QAnon theories and racist views.

The goal of the PAC is to say, “Let’s take a look at the last four years, how far we have come in a bad way,” Kinzinger said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “How backward-looking we are, how much we peddle darkness and division. And that’s not the party I ever signed up for. And I think most Republicans didn’t sign up for that.”

The video is here. Music is too loud, but it’s an interesting approach. We’ve seen much of what he’s warning about here in Illinois, particularly during the pandemic

“The party that always spoke about a brighter tomorrow no longer does. It talks about a dark future instead. Hope has given way to fear. Outrage has replaced opportunity. And worst of all, our deep convictions are ignored. They’ve been replaced by poisonous conspiracies and lies. This is not the Republican road and now we know exactly where new and dangerous road leads. It leads to insurrection and an armed attack on the Capitol,” he argued.

* But he has his work cut out for him

Former President Donald Trump amassed $31.2 million in his new political operation by the end of 2020, giving him a powerful tool to keep the Republican Party in his grip as he left office.

Save America, a leadership PAC created in the aftermath of the 2020 election, is set to play a key role in Trump’s plans to keep a strong hand in party politics — both to boost loyalists and also to seek retribution against Republicans he believes have wronged him, such as the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in mid-January. Trump cannot spend the PAC funds directly on any future campaign of his own, but he can use it to wield influence in campaigns in the midterm elections, pay his political advisers and travel the country.

I guess we’ll see soon enough if Kinzinger’s new PAC is more about publicity or actually raising the kind of money he’ll need to counter the former POTUS.

* Kinzinger continues to turn the GOP’s rhetoric around on itself. He called Marjorie Taylor Greene a “RINO” and then used the “cancel culture” lingo on Matt Gaetz

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) going to Wyoming to campaign against Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump was “totally GOP cancel culture.”

Anchor Chuck Todd said, “I’m curious, is there just no room for disagreement in the Republican Party when it comes to Donald Trump? This is to me, a form of cancel culture, is it not?”

Kinzinger said, “It is totally. If you look at Matt Gaetz going to Wyoming because a tough woman has an independent view, and he doesn’t want to explain why he voted for impeachment, that’s totally GOP cancel culture. I think what a significant part of the base wants, we can have a diverse opinion. Peter Meijer from Michigan, good friend of mine, he and I are on other ends of the spectrum on things like foreign policy, but I respect his view. That’s what the Republican Party needs to be, the optimistic party in the future. We need to quit being the party that supports an insurrection, a dead police officer, and other dead Americans on the Capitol. There’s no equivalency to that. We have to run from that as fast as we can.”

…Adding… Maybe he could add this to his repertoire…


* Meanwhile, in Politico

Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Sunday offered a glimpse of what it’s like being one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump: Friends and family turned against him, and he was told he’s “possessed by the devil.”

“Look it’s really difficult. I mean, all of a sudden imagine everybody that supported you, or so it seems that way, your friends, your family, has turned against you. They think you’re selling out,” the Illinois congressman said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I’ve gotten a letter, a certified letter, twice from the same people, disowning me and claiming I’m possessed by the devil.”

That appears to be a bit of an embellishment. Here’s what he told the Sun-Times a couple of weeks ago

“I’ve heard from friends that don’t want to be friends with me anymore. … I’ve had family members who are somewhat distant relatives sign a petition disowning me,” citing “Bible verses and that I was part of the devil’s army”.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

59 Comments
  1. - Jason - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    He is fighting moderates too and people who are center right.


  2. - John Lopez - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    POLITICO just released its “classifications” for House freshmen, w/ MTG, Madison Cawthorn and Lauren Boebert leading 6 “Trump batallion” freshmen including IL Mary Miller. The “Republican Resistance”, more aligned with Kinzinger, included Peter Meijer and Nancy Mace, the former voting for impeachment.


  3. - NIU Grad - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    Who amongst us haven’t confused “part of the devil’s army” and “possessed by the devil?”


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    To the post,

    Why run for governor? I feel Kinzinger’s national PAC is to run for US Senate, and build a national reshaping of the GOP.

    Governor? Does Kinzinger want to think about DCFS, DOC, Veterans Affairs, Higher Ed… or have a national platform to possibly be a founder of a new national party?

    Lincoln lost his Senate race to Douglas, but the rest is history.


  5. - Ignatius - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    I am just glad he is saying and doing something! Maybe it will spur Rodney Davis to join him?


  6. - Arock - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:36 am:

    I would vote and back him. We need more politicians that worry less about re-election, power and party leadership and more about the constituent they are voted to represent. If more politicians were doing the right things there would be less of them being re-elected so easily.


  7. - ChuckIL - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:36 am:

    It’s going to take more than one man’s PAC to defeat the Know Nothings.


  8. - NIU Grad - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:37 am:

    I agree with OW…Adam’s stage is national, and being Governor of Illinois is definitely not a springboard for anything anymore.


  9. - Draznnl - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    Back when I was a kid, Mad magazine used the phrase “lunatic fringe” to describe folks like the people Kinzinger is now battling. Eliminate their noise from the mix and more traditional Republicans would abandon Trump’s cult of personality for a return to less odious values.


  10. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:39 am:

    All this media attention on kinzinger would more believable if he had been opposed to trump and the carnage over the past 4 years. Now it is too little and too late.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:40 am:

    === Governor of Illinois is definitely not a springboard for anything anymore.===

    Meh. Depends on what type of framing that particular candidate can bring to a national discussion or campaign.

    Quinn, Rauner… Rod?

    None could translate to a national discussion.

    As recent examples, and with respect.


  12. - Pekin Pundit - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:47 am:

    With a 90% pro-Trump voting record, Kinzinger’s indignation rings hollow. This PAC sets the groundwork for a statewide run in ‘22, masquerading as a moderate.


  13. - Amalia - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    On these things he fights the far right, on reproductive agency issues he IS the far right, NARAL Zero.


  14. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:54 am:

    If these actions are legit AND effective it would draw me to more GOP candidates. Time will tell, he has a heavy lift.


  15. - jimbo - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    As to Kinzinger- I agree with OW and NIU. Both he and Sasse are going for “leadership” of the traditional GOP view, with Hawley and Cruz going for the Trumpian view.


  16. - G'Kar - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    Another WaPo article on Kinzinger came out a little while ago. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/01/daily-202-kinzinger-says-republicans-need-an-intervention-kick-trump-habit/


  17. - Is it 2022 yet - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    “Country First” sound like a platform for a US Senate run rather than a gubernatorial run.


  18. - PublicServant - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    I wonder how much of that money Trump, being the grifter he is, is going to just pocket?


  19. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:02 pm:

    Thinking of statewide office/US Senate?

    2022 GOP primary ads-

    “Kinzinger voted to impeach President Trump”

    “Kinzinger voted to impeach President Trump”

    “Kinzinger voted to impeach President Trump”

    That is all.


  20. - Is it 2022 yet - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:02 pm:

    Adding … I think he’d likely get through a primary for US Senate. I mean, he probably lose a primary for his house seat, but I doubt the GOP can even put up a serious opponent to Duckworth. AK might be the only GOPer with the moxy and savvy to mount a serious Republican run for that seat anyway, and he’d probably have the resources to fend off any candidates from the crazy right. Maybe an Oberweis or Ives gets involved, but they’d never beat Duckworth. AK might have a chance in a one-on-one race with her. I think she’d win, but he’d be the best candidate the GOP has to offer.


  21. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:06 pm:

    A certain soon to be acquitted by GOP senators somebody is going to be very irate and vindictive toward Republicans who voted to impeach. Grabbing popcorn.


  22. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:07 pm:

    =2022 GOP primary ads-=

    And if somehow he makes it through the primary…

    2022 General Election ads-

    “Kinzinger voted to acquit President Trump”

    “Kinzinger voted to acquit President Trump”

    “Kinzinger voted to acquit President Trump”

    That is all.


  23. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    “might have a chance in a one-on-one race”

    Sure. He could continue to promote his proud Pro-Life stance.

    I understand that plays great in the ‘burbs.


  24. - Louis G Atsaves - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:10 pm:

    So the media fawns on all Republicans who stray from their own perception of what the party line is? I’m shocked as in Casablanca shocked. I’ve never seen or heard of that attitude before. Then when Kinzinger runs against a Democrat, he will be treated as Public Enemy No. 1, like John McCain or Mitt Romney, prior Republican media darlings were? The Republican Party has been given up for dead by pundits and media types dating back to the Barry Goldwater days. Sheesh already.


  25. - Marine Life - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    Larger events might favor him, now that the Lincoln Project is imploding due to its terrible handling of the Weaver scandal. There’s a new void to be filled.


  26. - John Lopez - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:18 pm:

    Elvis, Kinzinger would be Duck Soup to Duckworth who will say, “I voted to convict Trump, TWICE”


  27. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    About 150 people showed up at a rally in Ottawa Saturday to protest Kinzinger’s vote to impeach Trump, according to Shaw Media. MAGA and “Stop the Steal” signs were displayed.

    I think Kinzinger’s long range goal is the White House, but Don Jr. and Ivanka may be in the mix down the road.

    This PAC has a steep uphill battle as long as FOX News continues to support Trumpism.


  28. - lake county democrat - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:26 pm:

    It’s a good bet by Kinzinger - I’m not at all convinced that the MAGA’s dominate the GOP in every district across the U.S. Poking a high-profile fight with Trump and then winning the primary is high risk/high reward. As far as governor, I remember a certain maverick, very conservative senator who also was in the “McCain” wing of the party and was absolutely loathed by the state GOP as a result - didn’t even run for reelection.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    ===Then when Kinzinger runs against a Democrat, he will be treated as Public Enemy No. 1, like John McCain or Mitt Romney, prior Republican media darlings were?===

    “Because news media”?

    How Trumpian of you.

    In actuality, the media, the impeachment votes (against AND for) they are the least of Kinzinger’s worries.

    Kinzinger is not unlike Rauner;

    No real base, a split party (at best) not with him, a unified Democratic Party united for their candidate.

    Unless Kinzinger can thread the needle to unite the party while eradicating the racists, insurrectionists, and conspiracy theorists at the same time, you’d have to show me how Kinzinger indeed threads that needle.

    I’m intrigued, to say the least.


  30. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    O W Lincoln won the popular vote for US Senate but the Democratic legislature cheated him and put in Douglas. I think the election was stolen from him. Happens all the time to Republicans. /s


  31. - Son of Holocaust Survivor - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    I’m frankly shocked at the open and acceptable antisemitism on display in some circles of the Democratic party. Senator Raphael Warnock has hardly been shy about his views about Jews over the years.


  32. - Actual Red - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:49 pm:

    I can’t help but think Kinzinger is on the losing side of this fight. Trump’s approval rating among Republicans was pretty rock solid throughout his presidency, even after Jan. 6th, and the majority of Rep’s in congress have walked back even the mild criticisms they leveled after the coup attempt.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:50 pm:

    === Lincoln won===

    … but not seated, or deemed the winner of the contest by that ending.

    With respect, and the snark, lol


  34. - Actual Red - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:51 pm:

    “Senator Raphael Warnock has hardly been shy about his views about Jews over the years.” Gonna need a source for this. His “running mate” Ossoff is Jewish and didn’t seem to have a problem with him.


  35. - John Lopez - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===Now that the Lincoln Project is imploding due to its terrible handling of the Weaver scandal.===

    Good riddance to Lincoln Project, but Accountable GOP is a more mainstream group is still around and already will support his reelection but unclear if they’ll support him running statewide.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:00 pm:

    === Accountable GOP===

    Don’t you mean the “Accountability Project”?


  37. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:01 pm:

    “Then when Kinzinger runs against a Democrat, he will be treated as Public Enemy No. 1, like John McCain or Mitt Romney, prior Republican media darlings were?”

    It’s always the lying media’s fault when a republican loses an election isn’t it. Always a perfidious outsider to blame when the people fail to appreciate the vast array of amazing public policy offerings the modern republican party has on offer.


  38. - Bigtwich - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:02 pm:

    === Lincoln won===

    There was no popular vote. U.S. voters were not able to directly elect U.S. senators until the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution took effect in 1913.


  39. - John Lopez - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:10 pm:

    OW, yeah, I gave the Twitter handle, but we’re talking the same group, Bill Kristol’s gig, and formerly RVAT (Republican Voters Against Trump).


  40. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    According to the Atlanta Journal Costitution, Jewish leaders defended Warnock against Loeffler’s assertions during the run-off election.
    https://www.ajc.com/politics/jewish-leaders-defend-raphael-warnock-after-loeffler-attacks/K57ARLIMJNFIJF6TNSNBICOKMM/


  41. - Third Reading - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:23 pm:

    Jake Tapper’s error is to assume intellectual consistency within the GOP.


  42. - Jocko - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==open and acceptable antisemitism on display in some circles of the Democratic party.==

    It’s a good thing the GOP is above such things, perhaps out of fear that the Rothschilds space laser will be turned on them./S


  43. - truthteller - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    Kinzinger is taking the lead in standing up to what is wrong with the national GOP. I have to applaud his effort


  44. - Fav Human - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 1:55 pm:

    , very conservative senator who also was in the “McCain” wing of the party and was absolutely loathed by the state GOP

    That would be the guy about whom Ray LaHood said “Peter needs a primary”, perhaps?

    A 31 million PAC isn’t so impressive, in fact, not nationally.

    Voted with Trump 90% of the time

    They were not votes on Trump’s tweets. You ought not to confuse policy and personality.

    Many of his policies (or ones someone slipped past him) were very good. While Newsweek snarkily had a headline about the worst job performance by a recent President, the plain fact is the economy at the start of 2020 was performing for people it had bypassed for a very long time.

    AK’s real problem is this. Right now, his rhetoric is more designed to get nice headlines from the NYT and WP than it is to engage with Trump’s voters.

    He needs to be able to peel them away from DT, and the way to do so is to champion their legitimate causes and worries.

    He may be able to do so, he may not. But someone will, that coalition is waiting to be wooed.


  45. - Skeptic - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 2:03 pm:

    “Quinn, Rauner… Rod?” With respect: IMHO, it started when Bush 41 picked Quayle (an unknown Senator from Indiana) instead of Thompson (a popular 4-term Governor from a state with lots of electoral votes) for VP.


  46. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 2:06 pm:

    Illinois is still Blue.

    The one thing people care most about in their US Senator is how they will vote on confiming federal judges and supreme court justices.

    It is hard to imagine someone as far right as Kinzinger winning a US Senate election in Illinois. Fitzgerald was a similar “independent Republican” who was willing to take on corruption in his party. Fitzgerald also supported stronger environmental protections, common sense gun control, campaign finance reform and immigration reform.

    After beating a weak Braun, Fitzgerald faced backlash from his own party and resigned rather than face a primary he could not win.

    Kinzinger should focus on his own reelection, supporting other independent Republicans like Cheney, and serving as a conduit for all of those big donors and corporations that do not want to be sullied by Trumpism.

    He ought to have an opening for the nomination in 2024, following the pathway of McCain…the party is in total shambles.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 2:16 pm:

    === Bush 41 picked Quayle (an unknown Senator from Indiana) instead of Thompson (a popular 4-term Governor from a state with lots of electoral votes) for VP.===

    That’s not fair, since we don’t know the mitigating factors to pass on Thompson, as Reagan passed on Thompson for AG.

    === Illinois is still Blue.===

    Inherently untrue, (sigh)

    The options Illinois voters were given by Raunerites and Trump (Oberweis, Ives, the Rauner ticket of 2018) made the state vote blue, Illinois is not a slam dunk blue state to its existence.

    That’s what Kinzinger is also fighting to bring back, a two party chance for Illinois.

    Peter Fitzgerald is nothing to Kinzinger, Fitzgerald fought “The Combine”… not the party civil war outside “combine” thinking or framing.


  48. - Annoin' - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 2:20 pm:

    Guessin’ this guy could fit in a district with Rodney and Darren — like an empty suit trifecta —- and maybe win. Doubtful any Anti-Choice GOPie could win statewide.


  49. - Skeptic - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    “since we don’t know the mitigating factors to pass on Thompson” Well, we know that how to spell “potato” wasn’t one of them.


  50. - Yo you mama - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 3:04 pm:

    AK seems poised to run for Senate but the tea leaves indicate he has a better shot at running for Gov. Pritzker’s not highly regarded in the ‘burbs where the natives like their restaurants open and their kids in school


  51. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 3:04 pm:

    === Well, we know that how to spell “potato” wasn’t one of them.===

    Quayle was told there would be no math, and still skipped the spelling portion.

    Life moves pretty fast…

    :)


  52. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 4:41 pm:

    @Bigttwich. There was a popular vote it just didn’t count in choosing Senator. You are right about your he procedure but there was a vote
    The results of the elections for state legislature was equally split, none of them won a clear majority. Republicans won the north and Democrats the south. Republicans won 50% of the popular vote while Democrats 47%.

    However, during the Senate race, Republicans did not have sufficient votes in the Illinois Legislature to elect Abraham Lincoln to the US Senate. Instead Douglas received 54 votes and was elected for another 6 years, while Lincoln received 46.


  53. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    Quayle used the spelling on the sheet the teacher gave him. But that does not make good press.

    Kinzinger’s best hope is that the Trump lawyers push the election was stolen argument that even the Republican cowards have to vote to impeach.

    In a statewide race Kinzinger would have to deflect the abortion issue. He could rightfully claim that there is no way to change current law so no point in wasting political capital on it.


  54. - Shytown - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 5:01 pm:

    Kinzinger’s path is far better positioned for the national scene, and while I admire this push, he can’t distance himself from this record - voting with trump 92% of the time and not voting for his impeachment the first time around, when it really counted. No forgiving those who enabled Trump.


  55. - LastOneIn - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 5:32 pm:

    Kinzinger admits he brings a gun to his place of work. I will never vote for someone who is part of the problem.


  56. - Chicago 20 - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 6:11 pm:

    Kinzinger is still Kinzinger.
    It’s all a ploy to try to fill the Trump vacuum.
    Kinzinger worked with Trump, Kinzinger enabled Trump.
    Kinzinger is no Trump, and everyone knows it.


  57. - Kafantaris George - Monday, Feb 1, 21 @ 10:04 pm:

    Here is proof that Republicans knew all along the true facts behind Trump’s election loss — and yet kept silent for two whole months while he was earnestly peddling his election fraud claims:
    “[T]he former president suffered from voter perception that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy and that he was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters.

    The 27-page report, which was written by Trump chief pollster Tony Fabrizio, shows how Trump advisers were privately reckoning with his loss even as the former president and many of his supporters engaged in a conspiracy theory-fueled effort to overturn the election.
    ***
    The findings are based on an analysis of exit polling in 10 states. Five of them — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — are states that Trump lost after winning them in 2016. The other five — Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas — are states that Trump won in both elections.
    The report zeroes in on an array of demographics ***Trump saw the ‘greatest erosion with white voters, particularly white men,’ and that he ‘lost ground with almost every age group.’ In the five states that flipped to Biden, Trump’s biggest drop-off was among voters aged 18-29 and 65 and older.”
    https://www.politico.com/amp/news/2021/02/01/trump-campaign-autopsy-paints-damning-picture-of-defeat-464636


  58. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 2, 21 @ 7:35 am:

    === Here is proof that Republicans knew all along the true facts behind Trump’s election loss — and yet kept silent for two whole months while he was earnestly peddling his election fraud claims===

    The next step is as the party and the idea of moving away from the racists, insurrectionists, the conspiracy theorists… by having honesty to things like… losing… and the reality of forwarding a thought of fraud… that never existed must end.

    This wasn’t and isn’t a Trump party more than a Ponzi scheme or grifting being perpetrated by those willing to peddle fake/false information that do not see the damage they did to a party, we ALL saw January 6th the damage it did to the Republic… with an inciting of an insurrection.

    Kinzinger has his work cut out for him, but finding compromise with the grifters who peddled falsehoods… and the racists, insurrectionists, the conspiracy theorists… it’s uphill to say the least.


  59. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Feb 2, 21 @ 9:10 am:

    I am disappointed an outfit like Politico wouldn’t ask to see the letter before running their story.


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