Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Paul Ryan Says His ‘Inner City’ Comments Were ‘Inarticulate’

Ryan041213 445x304 Paul Ryan Says His Inner City Comments Were Inarticulate

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan responded Thursday to criticism that he engaged in racial rhetoric when talking about his philosophy on poverty, saying that he was “inarticulate” in the point he was trying to make.

“I was not implicating the culture of one community — but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement.

The GOP’s 2014 vice presidential candidate has been facing criticism for comments he made Wednesday on Bill Bennett’s radio program “Morning in America,” where he discussed his recent report on the failures of the war on poverty.

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said.

In a statement following the interview, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., called Ryan’s comments a “thinly veiled racial attack” that “cannot be tolerated.”

Ryan later told the Crew of 42 website that his comments “had nothing whatsoever to do with race.”

Here’s Ryan’s full statement:

“After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make. I was not implicating the culture of one community—but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity. I also believe the government’s response has inadvertently created a poverty trap that builds barriers to work. A stable, good-paying job is the best bridge out of poverty.
“The broader point I was trying to make is that we cannot settle for this status quo and that government and families have to do more and rethink our approach to fighting poverty. I have witnessed amazing people fighting against great odds with impressive success in poor communities. We can learn so much from them, and that is where this conversation should begin.”
  • Palindrome

    Why did he back off his statement?

    ” We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular,
    of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about
    working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real
    culture problem here that has to be dealt with,”

    He clearly outlined the problem. Now he walks away from it. He is no leader.

    • Raylusk

      But he was wrong as to what the problem is. The problem rests in states controlled by republicans. The fact is those states have higher poverty rates then do states controlled by democrats. Ryan should admit the biggest problem exists in states that support his politics and should be working to identify what those states are doing to make their poverty rate so high.

      • Layla

        Ray, go back to the Census list I just posted. Poverty is sometimes high in states which don’t offer welfare, etc. To call this a partisan issue is a part of the problem.

        • Raylusk

          I don’t have a clue how you think your chart supports you in anyway. But it does support my position. California poverty rate is 12.4 while Texas is 16.3. California clearly has a smaller percentage of their population living in poverty then Texas does. You see this in comparison after comparison that conservative states have a greater percentage of their population living in poverty then do liberal states. So the question that Ryan (and all Americans) should be asking is what policies in conservative states are driving so many of their citizens into poverty.

        • Stephen Barlow

          It’s partisan in that it is prevalent in Partisan governed, gerrymandered beyond redemption, Republican Tax gobbling states.

          Of the states that take in more tax dollar subsidy than they contribute in actual tax dollar revenue, 11 of 13 are RED.

      • Palindrome

        Perhaps . But I was impressed that he had the courage to point the problem out.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Yepper!!!! Without that Red Party corruption, neglect and elitism… Medicaid would be helping 5 million more people and the REDS would lose 5 million ignorant voters.

    • sleeve

      He got caught lying, yet again. Just like when his own brother called him on his very bogus “2 hr. 50 something marathon”. yeah like 2 hr. 50 something if the something is > 1 hour. You have to call out Paulie R’s strong point: when nailed he backs down quickly. Most R’s dig in, regardless.
      But of course he never has been, nor will be a leader; unless you count wonk world.

    • Stephen Barlow

      He’s not even a good racist. He’s gonna get his KKK Kard revoked.

      And unemployment from Republican policy failures and malicious mismanagement of regulatory agencies is the culprit in all this. These stinking herrings and gefilthy fishes they are throwing up and hoping will stick are only more proof the their guilt and ineptitude.

      There are more rural unemployed than inner city unemployed, and the PROOF of Ryan Racist subtersquawking lies in that very fact. i mean if he went forward with his claim, he would be calling his own base of uneducated, race bait chomping human detritus camping in trailers and beating their wives and children all over America LAZY, SHIFTLESS, USELESS REDNECKS!!!

      And he would lose a few votes from among those who are actually smarter than a 5th grader. but the hate based voter can be excused for voting for a WHITE Democrat in 2014 and in 2016…

  • Hjalmer Berg

    What Ryan (and many others )fail to understand is that the foundation of bias and discrimination (both racial and economic) are so deeply ingrained in a person that they don’t even recognize that their thoughts and statements (so clearly to others) express the prejudice that they claim to NOT have. A “misspoke” is that unconscious opinion rising to the surface.

    • Layla

      Please allow me to say this, without being accused of either. There are too many citizens in this country who no longer participate as citizens and are content to sit back and collect benefits from the taxpayers.

      I don’t care which party you are, this must stop.

      • Nicholas DeLuca

        There is no empirical evidence to support your claim. It may well your opinion. That’s fine. The problem is too important to dismiss with misinformation and right-wing propaganda .

        • Bill Chelmowski

          There is plenty of evidence, if you would look instead of spreading misinformation and left-wing propaganda

          • Stephen Barlow

            post it! Checkmate!

        • Stephen Barlow

          The very fact that misinformation, specifically maliciously edited data, faceless, nameless complaints about anonymous unverifiable isolated circumstances and the repetition of all manner of noncredible propaganda completely discredits the user and perpetrator of such dedicated frauds.

          • MaxinAZ

            Nice Stephan, You just exposed the GOP playbook. The latest being Obama’s foreign policy is the cause of Russian takeover of Ukraine. How they connect the dots is just non credible.

      • Stephen Barlow

        So you OBJECT to people collecting THEIR OWN TAX MONEY in the form of benefits THEY HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR???

        But you whole heartedly insist one DOD corruption and chronic failure as “necessary business as usual”???

        But if Corporations don’t pay a fair share of income (or any kind) taxes, how can you justify denying TAX BENEFITS FROM ACTUAL HUMAN TAXPAYERS?

        At least American CITIZENS spend that cash here. The Romney’s who steal tax cuts, offshore their profits and pay less than HALF the net rate WORKING people do.

    • Bill Chelmowski

      It is only clear to left-wing race-baiters who label anyone who disagrees with them as “RAAACIST”.

      • Stephen Barlow

        It’s ABOUT what you say and more importantly, WHY you say it Bill.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Still haven’t seen A SINGLE BIT OF EVIDENCE there Mr. Lyin’ Bill Bullhsh*tter! Where’d al that beef go?

    • Stephen Barlow

      This is rubber stamp, auto pilot hate to these creatures. it oozes out of their pores like Ebola or radiation sickness.

  • kyrunner

    Why did he back off. There is a culture of dependency going on across America and it is especially prominent in the inner city. What is wrong with stating the truth? ThIs PC world is destroying this country. Geez!

    • Raylusk

      You don’t know what you are talking about. The poverty rate is much higher in rural areas the. In large cities. The poverty rate is much higher in states controlled by republicans then states controlled by democrats. Ryan’s efforts to blame large cities as the problem is wrong. He should be looking at what policies in republican states contribute to their higher poverty rates.

      • Layla

        I suggest you take a look at that Governor’s list again and the cities they represent. The poverty is in Democrat states.

        • Raylusk

          No it’s not. Look at the official poverty rates provided by the federal government. For example Texas has a higher poverty rate then does California. You need to do some real research before commenting further.

      • Pragmatic Conservative

        The numbers are highly skewed when you look at entire states, which is why Ryan didn’t do it that way. Data clearly shows that many of are largest cities, which generally are in the larger, blue states are tremendous pockets of poverty surrounded by suburbs with vast amounts of wealth. Thus the poverty statistics don’t look as bad in those states. The problem is the wealthy elite have, for generations, encouraged a lifestyle that is completely the opposite of what would provide stability – financial and otherwise. They downplay marriage, religion, education, etc. while generally embracing these concepts personally. Take a look at the book “Coming Apart” which offers an eye opening look at how our society has fragmented so considerably in the last 50 years.

        • Raylusk

          Then why are poverty rates higher in rural areas then they are in Big cities. No matter how you try and excuse it, Ryan either doesn’t understand the problem and is attempting to frame the issue as a failure of liberal policies. All the while ignoring facts that show poverty rates are higher in areas that are controlled by conservatives and have implemented conservative policies.

          • Pragmatic Conservative

            If liberal policies have succeeded, why are we even having this debate? The federal war on poverty is 50 years old, and yet, poverty still exists. The rural areas you discuss have utilized the same federal anti-poverty programs as every where else, yet they are still poor. The nanny state has not solved the problem.

            According to your theory, those living in inner cities (overwhelmingly run by Democrats) that exist in blue states, should not be experiencing any poverty at all because every level of government over them implements liberal policies to fight poverty. And yet, poverty in those areas still exists.

            You are correct in stating that we should look to address poverty everywhere, not just in inner cities or in rural areas. But your assumption that the distribution of poverty in the US “proves” that liberal social welfare programs are successful has no basis in fact.

          • Raylusk

            So your standard seems to be if something isn’t 100% successful, it’s a failure. Interesting.

            No the rural areas I discuses have not used the same federal programs as everywhere else. Especially since many of those rural areas that are experiencing such high poverty rates are in conservative states that don’t trust and won’t work with the federal government.

            But anyway onto the real subject. Ryan says that inner cities are primarily where generational welfare exists. Nope, wrong. Persistent welfare exists primarily in rural areas located in conservative states as this government chart shows. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ersDownloadHandler.ashx?file=/media/114622/persistentpoverty.png

            So now that it is established the real problem of generational welfare is located in conservative rural areas, that is where Ryan should focus his quest for answers. But he won’t because he is using the issue to do what he has tried to do for years, gut help to those who need it and cheerlead the case for conservative principles no matter what the data and facts show.

        • Raylusk

          In addition Ryan was claiming inner cities have this persistent welfare/poverty problem while that is simply not true. Most persistent poverty is in rural areas and in typically conservative states. Here is a chart that shows that. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ersDownloadHandler.ashx?file=/media/114622/persistentpoverty.png

  • Ray Glennon

    As I see it, all three commenters so far missed Ryan’s point all together. Ryan said he was “inarticulate” because what he said could be interpreted a racist comment (which it was not) rather than a comment the severe societal disfunction that exists in many places in our nation. And Ryan didn’t back off. In his subsequent statement he reemphasized: “We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity.” It isn’t a racial problem – it’s a cultural and economic problem whether the lack of opportunity has contributed to low motivation, dysfunctional behavior, and long-term dependency. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you did to these least brothers of mine, you did to me.” We are called to build up those least among us in society, not discard and ignore them. And it’s hard work. Hopefully, Paul Ryan understands that and can move toward solutions that advance the common good.

    • Nicholas DeLuca

      The problem is that once said,it becomes part of the misinformation that is taken as the truth and is repeated and repeated ad nauseam as a fact .
      I agree with your point . Holley you are right.

  • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

    Why does the Democrat party want to take guns away from white people? They do not. They are afraid of the black people that have guns. The Democrats cannot say this so they try to implement an across the board gun confiscation.

    The Democrat party, racist policies since the beginning of their party.

    • tinmantoo

      11,000 + comments? Wow, does trolling pay well?

      • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

        Notice the number of up votes, over 70,000. By the way, if you could point me to a conservative outlet that pays, I would appreciate it. Getting paid to read and comment on articles, my past time, would be GREAT!

    • Nicholas DeLuca

      David… Pure Tea Party B.S.

      • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

        Another well reasoned response by a lefty. You guys are hitting them out of the park today.

  • Ali Ness

    Why back down? He was actually correct. Former Congressman Bobby Schilling 2010 Freshman/lost in 2012 strong Dem area of Illinois (running in 2014 Support him!) well Bobby grew up “below the hill” in our hometown of Rock Island Illinois meant ‘ inner city’ and YES , Paul Ryan said it straight out, why I do not support him is because the second they call racist, those who back down waiver too much for me.You said it stand by it Paul Ryan, you cannot please all the people all the time. I for one am sick of hearing the cry racist. If we disagree with anything on the liberal far left list , well we just do not have any ‘Right” to not agree anymore because so many back down. BTW I heard Rep. Trey Gowdy is upset the Obamacare laws are not being enforced, so the smoke and screens and tricks are now ever more clever…I though WE didn’t Want the BOcare law enforced?

    • hippie1367

      No – we call you racist because you freak out like a whining toddler when a black president does the exact same things as a white president.

  • SFD

    This BLACK academic/Hip Hop mogul says what Ryan said

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/motowns-road-to-ruin/story-e6frezz0-1226426121204

    Regardless or Rep. Ryan’s motives, fact is fact and some BLACK politician/leader should have said it.

    • Layla

      We all need to be saying it, no matter our color or political affiliation.

    • hippie1367

      Explain how black folks in east coast cities create high poverty rates in Midwest GOP states that don’t even have cities?
      Go 2nd amend yourself you racist trash

  • Brenda Huddleston

    Racist comments on either side do nothing to resolve “our” issues in this country. My take on Ryan’s comments were to open discussion on a real problem so we as a society can begin working to try to fix it. Some people seem to be more ready to create another issue rather than address the ones we have. Why is that necessary? We will only win when we all learn to work together for the greater good. I know there will be some people who will hang on to old, ugly, and oh poor me ways of thinking. Our country is not perfect, but I believe that the majority of people do want to feel the personal satisfaction that comes with earning your own way and building your own life. The facts about our current failures in our society will not change by turning it into something else. The truth has to be uttered to begin fixing it. If positive things are to be stopped because some can’t speak the truth, then we are lost. There are so many resources that we can use, but making something racist that is not does nothing but slow the process. Stop the fighting and learn to work together to fix the reality of things as they are.

    • Raylusk

      Except first people like Ryan have to accept the truth. The rate of poverty in big cities is lower then the rate of poverty in rural areas. The rate of poverty in red states is higher then the rate of poverty in blue states. The questions that Ryan should be asking is why is the rate of poverty so high in rural areas and in red states. What conservative policies are driving this.

      • hippie1367

        Ryan and GOPers are scum who want to turn the entire US economy into the economic toilet that is Mississippi.

  • Brian Cunningham

    Ryan has turned into a total loser.

  • Raylusk

    Paul Ryan Says
    “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with”

    Yet facts show that the issue isn’t clustered in our inner cities but is in fact clustered in rural areas many of which are in conservative states. Here is a chart showing that. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ersDownloadHandler.ashx?file=/media/114622/persistentpoverty.png

    • mrmano_0

      The right does not work with evidence and facts. For them conjecture and anecdotes are “truth”.

      • Stephen Barlow

        They don’t even bother to manufacture that anymore… Now it’s just recycled fishing lies and hallucinations while in spiritual ecstacy.

  • Brenda Huddleston

    Stop caring about choosing sides and start working on the problems. If you don’t like Ryan or what he stands for, then promote a leader who is going to fix things whether they are in a big city or a small town. We are going backwards when we pick a fight over words that can be interpreted to mean what the listener wants it to be. One of the things I dislike the most about the people running our government today is that they seem to want to seperate people into groups and turn them on each other which only keeps people feeling helpless. Each of us knows that there are truths and untruths coming from both parties, but you are an independent person who can read through the lines and make choices based on your beliefs. Don’t fall into the trap… and remember that we the people can and will be the ones who care enough to fix the problems. Government is not going to save us, we are.

    • Raylusk

      What we really need is politicians who actual look at facts and not ideology to make policy. In this case Ryan decided that generational welfare was a problem of the intercity. But facts say that simply isn’t the case. In fact generational welfare is primarily disease of of conservative rural areas brought on by the policies of conservative government in the states those rural areas inhabit. Conservatives have fought social assistance from the very beginning and now they are trying to make the case that our current social programs are at fault. Yet facts clearly show based on where this generational welfare is actually occurring that it isn’t the case. Here is a chart that shows where persistent poverty has existed for years and it is almost exclusively confined to rural areas in conservative states. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ersDownloadHandler.ashx?file=/media/114622/persistentpoverty.png. Now if these conservative states had actually embraced the policies of states that have seen a decline in poverty rates and see almost no generational welfare perhaps we could now acknowledge that our social programs do in fact work.

    • hippie1367

      You mean like how one group (women) has special medical restrictions placed upon them while another doesn’t? That’s not a dem problem you hypocritical filth.

      • Brenda Huddleston

        Please explain your reply to me. Where did I say anything was a Dem problem? How did I become hypocritical filth by my comments? Why is there such hatred in your comment to me?

  • hippie1367

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_poverty_rate
    Explain how blacks on the East Coast are driving poverty in GOP run states full of white folk – all across the Midwest, South and West?
    The fact is most red states are nothing but drains on the national economy, taking in more in federal expenditures than their citizens pay in taxes – moochers in other words.
    Lets see a politician stand up and say NO STATE gets more in federal expenditures than it pays in taxes – Iowa to the Rockies would be a barren wasteland without a single paved road.

    • Elizabeth_Erwin

      That’s because the red states are the ones with the army and air force bases…. or do you think they should be funded by the states in which they reside?

      • mrmano_0

        Really?

        The large bases in the south were put there to keep the backwood rabble down after the civil war. As for the west most of those bases were places there to put the First Nation people down.

        Before red and blue states entered into your feeble lexicon.

        Now some of the largest concentrations of U.S. Forces are in California, Washington, and Colorado(Colorado is more green these days, I suppose). So yeahhhhh you just don’t know do ya?

      • hippie1367

        And I a saying those bases are moved to states that can economically support them – the red state moochers get NOTHING but income they produce themselves….if they can’t pave their roads or build infrastructure that’s just the free market at work.

        • Elizabeth_Erwin

          Not much in the way of economic knowledge in your brain is there…..

          • hippie1367

            You are the one who seems to think red state filth can balance a budget without assistance from the “parasites” on the coasts. With your vast knowledge, please point out a red state beside ND, TX or FL that pay their own way and take LESS in federal taxes than they pay. I am just using the same definition of moocher that GOPer filth do.

          • Elizabeth_Erwin

            Oooooh – red state filth? Have problems with anger management?

          • hippie1367

            Sorry, but, science ignoring, math deficient, Christian hypocrites who inflict harm on the rest of the country while mooching off those they castigate – would of been too long and cumbersome for a mental defective 1%er shill like you.

  • Lar5

    Paul Ryan should come visit Harlem in New York or any other inner city. Take off the blinders and take a look at the hundreds of thousands of people, jamming the rush hour buses and subways, going off to work every day, the mothers taking their children to school, the huge number of retail shopping streets and customers and churches. It is fully operational area sure with problems. The reality is that the majority are good people working and trying to exist and live the best life possible. Bring back those outsourced job and there will be vast improvement.

  • Elizabeth_Erwin

    Why bother even responding to this… what Ryan said is true.

    • mrmano_0

      Elizabeth.

      I have to ask if you’ve ever lived in one of Americans inner city communities that Mr. Ryan was talking about?

      • hippie1367

        I have – and given a choice between my home in Detroit or my 2nd home in the hillbilly Chernobyl that is Kentucky, Ill take Detroit every day.

        The fact you keep the flag of traitorous racist scum next to your name says all we need to know about you.

        Your ancestors should of been executed as traitors after the civil war,

        • mrmano_0

          Right on hippie way to judge a book by it’s cover. You know nothing about me or why I don this banner. Soooo stifle.
          And go somewhere and gain back the karma you just lost wishing death upon other human beings.

    • Raylusk

      Really? You actually believe Ryan? Then why is persistent welfare primarily clustered in rural areas in conservative states? Explain please. Oh and here is a chart that proves what I said. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ersDownloadHandler.ashx?file=/media/114622/persistentpoverty.png

  • labman57

    “Inarticulate” — a Republican euphemism for “callous, irrational, and factually inaccurate”.

  • mrmano_0

    The problem is not isolated to any particular community or culture.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/367903/white-ghetto-kevin-d-williamson

    It’s a national problem.
    There are too many poor people in this country.

    It’s disgusting and disgraceful. And we all should be embarrassed by it.

    Mr. Ryan along with the rest of us need to broaden our scope and include all of America’s poor and desperate communities into this dialog.

    Then we can have honest and productive conversations on how to fix it.

    • Raylusk

      He won’t do it because his ideology is more important then facts and solving anything. In fact what he said about inner cities having generations of poverty is a flat out lie. The primary place generational welfare exists is in rural areas located in conservative states. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ersDownloadHandler.ashx?file=/media/114622/persistentpoverty.png

      I agree with you we do need a national discussion on how to help the poor. Things like better public education, access to college with out crippling debt, increases in the minimum wage, and tax reform that provides penalties for corporations that have exported American jobs and rewards corporations that bring American jobs back would be a good place to start. But all these items go against conservative principles.

      What we shouldn’t do is consider dismantling any of our social programs. Not a single one.

      • mrmano_0

        It’s not a flat out lie. This country has poor people all over. I’ve lived in Englewood in Chicago, the article I cited above highlights a white community in Kentucky.

        And this article points out the same problem on a grand scale in Detroit.
        http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/motowns-road-to-ruin/story-e6frezz0-1226426121204

        And it’s not Mr Ryan who should be held responsible for the problem as much as the American people citizens of a republic.

        • hippie1367

          Way to not understand a map! The blue shows where lots of poors live all the time – why look at that its all in states full of white folk and GOPer scum.

  • sleeve

    So besides “inarticulate” statements and out and out lies, what falls out of Boy Wonder’s trap? Has he ever told the truth? Now we merely have confirmation of what we mostly suspected about uber Catholic Ryan: he is a flagrant racist.
    What a sick peeve Wisconsin. Can’t you do something about this worthless toad taking up oxygen in our House?

    • hippie1367

      Don’t forget budgets without numbers – always a neat trick.

  • Jonah

    What’s disgusting about this little punk Ryan is that until he was 18 he was supported by social security survivor benefits upon the death of his father. He could only attend college because his mother saved that GOVERNMENT MONEY for his tuition. And now he lives off a GOVERNMENT PAYCHECK. Hypocritical punk has lived off the government his entire freakin life

    • hippie1367

      His family got rich in the first place looting federal highway funds.

  • BMarie

    The so-called war on poverty has been an abject failure. It has encouraged single parenthood and encouraged individuals to have more children to collect more welfare benefits, that all too often go for drugs or alcohol and not to care for their children. All capable individuals should have to work for whatever welfare payments they receive, whether it is in the form of food stamps, subsidized meals for kids in school, subsidized housing or any other taxpayer funded subsidy. For 50 years the left has been arguing that if only we would put more money into these programs the problems could be solved, and over the decades we have done exactly that. I read once that a definition of stupidity is to do the same things over and over again and expect a different result. That is what we have been doing. You’d think that somewhere along the line we might try something different that depends more on personal responsibility and not on the nanny state. But I also believe that any discussion of these problems should be civil and not resort to accusations and name calling, which is counter-productive to resolving any problem.

    • hippie1367

      You just defined the US role in creating Alaska – no wonder those white trash snowbillies are so idiotic.

  • Handis O’Hara

    The knowledge unleashed through citizens’ liberty is far superior to that which could ever be available to centralized state administrators.

    • hippie1367

      Spoken like secessionist slaveholding trash

  • No5thDown

    All I see is Ryan pointing out a problem with government policies that have been in place for over 50 years without any success in lifting people out of poverty, someone yelling RACIST! and nothing being done to address the problem that was the point of the original remark. Typical.

  • Stephen Barlow

    Then I guess grossly inadequate would best describe his budget prose!!!

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