March 4th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Hypocrisy that could embarrass even A-Rod

Editor’s Note: Robert Zimmerman has been a volunteer for the Democratic National Committee member since 2000. He is a partner at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations firm based in New York which does not represent the DNC.

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Robert Zimmerman
AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst

In politics, hypocrisy often passes for hyperbole. However, when the discussion gets into the trillions of dollars, hyperbole just doesn't cover it. Hypocrisy puts it in the proper perspective. I will be the first to recognize that neither political party is above hypocrisy, and I have never failed to call my party on it.

However, these past several weeks, hypocrisy has climbed to the height of our national debt, and with the same speed. Which brings me to the self-righteous and divisive comments of the Republican Congressional leadership, their colleagues in Congress and, of course, Rush Limbaugh. Even the unabashed A-Rod would probably cringe at this level of hypocrisy.

With the exception of three senators, every Republican member of Congress voted unanimously against the economic stimulus package, claiming they were not included in the process and that their ideas were ignored. In the epitome of political chutzpah, more than 20 House Republican members issued press releases announcing how the stimulus package would help their districts - never mentioning that they voted against it. Republican Congressional priorities such as providing tax breaks for business investment and job creation, expanding tax breaks for working families with children, putting projects on the Internet so that Americans can track the implementation, fixing the Alternative Minimum Tax and reducing capital gains for small businesses were included in the economic stimulus package.

Nevertheless, the Republicans who fought successfully to have their proposals included still voted the party line in opposition.

The omnibus spending bill recently passed by the House of Representatives met strong Republican opposition, especially over the issue of Congressionally designated projects, or "earmarks." The only reason the debate over earmarks can take place is because the Democratic Congress changed the rules from the days when Republicans controlled Congress. The new rules require that earmarks be publicly disclosed and that members of Congress be held accountable for sponsoring them.

It is also worth noting that while the Republican members of Congress protest this bill as "wasteful," approximately 40 percent of the spending on earmarks went to projects requested by the Republicans. And when Republicans controlled Congress, they got 60% of the earmarks (as is traditional for the party in power), and kept those earmarks secret. You don’t hear them talking about that today.

Then there's Rush. Sure, Rush has 20 million listeners a day. Ann Coulter is on many best-seller lists, and for that matter, I'm sure Larry Flynt sells a lot of magazines, too. What does it all prove? That there's always a market for pandering to some people's base instincts. Exploitation, fear, prejudice and vulgarity unite these people.

What's shocking is that any of these characters could ever gain acceptance or even leadership in our political process. There is, however, no doubt that Rush Limbaugh not only has achieved acceptance but is recognized as a leader in the Republican Party.

The Conservative Political Action Conference was not just a meeting of the conservative base of the Republican Party. It is the Republican Party today. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of political pundits, Limbaugh's speech did not build the movement by rallying the base. It further isolated the Republican Party from the mainstream of America. In Republican Chairman Michael Steele's apology to Limbaugh, he said to CNN, "I respect Rush Limbaugh, he is a national conservative leader, and in no way do I want to diminish his voice." Michael Steele's failure to diminish Limbaugh's "voice or his leadership" only damages his own.

Barack Obama's election to the Presidency and the support he has maintained demonstrates that the United States is committed to addressing the defining issues of our time. Although the nation has moved beyond the hypocritical and partisan political games of the past, the Republican Congressional leadership and Rush Limbaugh revel in it.

On second thought, perhaps A-Rod wouldn't be embarrassed by their conduct or hypocrisy. It occurs to me that he and Limbaugh have a lot in common; neither is capable of shame, and, ultimately, both are corrosive to America today.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Republicans • Robert Zimmerman
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Dan M

    I really don't get the Arod connection here – it's over the top. The Republican/Democrat divide has been going like this for 30 years at least, just getting larger. But leave Arod out of this one. That's reaching too far.

    March 4, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  2. Bryan

    It is hypocrisy blaming a party out of power, and crying over the mild criticisms Obama has gotten from a few private citizens. And the media's job is, what? Take orders from the White House? Bush took way more BS, than Obama–oh I forgot, Bush deserved it, but Obama does not. Obama after all is here to save us. Let's us not forget the Dems controlled Congress since 2007. Looking like Europe by the day; that will work well, they are in worse shape than the US. Political parties are stupid; if you have a D or R next to your name, you are the problem.

    The nice thing about it is, there are three forces are more powerful than Obama: China, and their trillions in cash, and a real capitalists government, and the Bond and Forex markets, which will destroy the US if Obama makes the wrong moves. THOSE ARE THE FACTS!

    Theodore Roosevelt--"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

    March 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  3. Gene

    I have just one remark and that is this: The american people of all parties had better wake up and take their country back.

    March 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  4. Jarrett Noble

    To whoever, stated that republicans are looking out for the working class, where have you been living the last 8 years??? Say what you want about either party, but please let us be truthful in the declarations that are made. Since when have they looked out for the working class?

    March 4, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  5. Curt

    Has anyone bothered to ask themselves why someone like Rush Limbaugh garners the share of the radio audience he does? Is there any left of center or liberal commentator/entertainer like Rush that commands similar numbers? Might it be that Rush and his positions resonate with those people? I think it is. And 20 million listeners represents a pretty significant portion of the adult population in this country. By the way, notice I called Rush an "entertainer." That's what he is. Nonetheless, 20 million people wouldn't tune in if they didn't think he had something worth listening to. My guess is that his positions are shared by the vast majority of those 20 million. So, Mr. Zimmerman, you might want to address that in your next article involving Rush.

    March 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  6. Don Lumberton

    All of these remarks comment on " hypocrisy " and the political parties involved, but none of you seem to realize that you are talking about "politicians". To them hypocrisy is just another word in the dictionary. Party afilliations are meaningless – these are all POLITICIANS. Do any of you people really believe that any politician cares about anything else but getting re-elected? I'm an "old man" and I'm not looking forward to seeing this once great nation collapse in the hands of a bunch of worthless politicians.

    March 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  7. David, Vancouver, WA

    Republicans are only interested in their own pocketbooks and those of their corporate elite friends and contributors. Anything that benefits a mere commoner is not worthy of their time or consideration. Funny thing is, there are so many common folk who buy into their stock lines about "true American", "patriotic duty", etc. I used to think the Republican surfs scattered throughout this country would wise up to their leaders' tricks and empty promises...but alas, they haven't. Some people are just made to be subservient to a ruling monarchy. Rush and the Republicans are saying "let them eat cake", and their surfs are picking up the crumbs and gobbling it down like the body of Christ. Pathetic.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  8. Bill Tewes

    Democrats cry when their flaws are revealed by republicans. They cry and say how disrespectful it is and how we should be respecting president obama. But every single time a republican or President George Bush made a mistake, it was the liberal media who attempted to destroy them. Where was the respect then? There wasn't any, and there won't be any from republicans.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  9. Andrew

    What on earth does this have to do with A-Rod? Is he just the hypocrite du jour? What a ridiculous headline.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  10. SKoenig

    I find it interesting that so many people are talking about Rush Limbaugh now as if he is saying something new. I also find it interesting when a blog uses such a powerful word like hypocrisy and only sees it in the "other side". Does Rush have a big mouth? Obviously. Does he speak opinion as truth? Yes. Does he speak truth about what the GOP and a real conservative believes when it comes to what the job of our government is? Yes. He must be saying something truthful that our liberal media hopes we don't pick up on as so much energy is being put into making him look stupid. Usually if a person really looks stupid that stands on its own. One has to wonder why so many people are telling us not to pay attention.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  11. Stephen S.

    Robert Zimmerman is one of the most astute observers of the political process on television. I now know that his writing is equally as compelling. The comparison of Rush Limbaugh to Alex Rodriguez is perfect. Both do not apologize for mistakes they make.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  12. Janelle in Missouri

    Rush Limbaugh doesn't speak for the Republican Party any more than Al Franken speaks for the Democratic Party. Just saying something over and over doesn't make it true.

    Contrary to what Mr. Zimmerman and the rest of the Democratic mouthpieces would have us believe, Republicans don't want this country to fail. They want this country to succeed, to prosper and once again be the land of opportunity for all. This is why they opposed the stimulus package, because they don't believe this is the solution to the economic problems, and that the stimulus will just make it worse.

    Want to talk about hypocracy? For the last 8 years, the Democratic talk show hosts and talking heads on television not only criticized, but out and out personally attacked the President of the United States. They said they had every right to and indeed it's their job to question those in power to keep democracy safe. They were in fact being patriotic. Now when the tables are turned, and others question the policies of the Democratic Administration, they're unpatriotic, spiteful and just plain mean?

    March 4, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  13. Robert - Jakarta

    Good job, Robert.

    The Republicans are hypocrites. One need not look far for the spending by the Republicans on building in the name of and renaming every federal building, aircraft carrier, and federal highway "Ronald Reagan."

    They had six years with a Republican president to demonstrate fiscal conservatism but instead broke the bank and allowed deregulation and lack of oversight to persist that has led to our current crisis.

    They aren't the party of ideas. They are the party of stoking fear and riling irrationalism.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  14. Robert

    Will Democrats ever stop attacking Republicans? Will Republicans ever stop attacking Democrats?

    March 4, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  15. rebeccah

    The Repubs vote against the stimulus. The stimulus passes. Then if they take the money they're wrong? If they don't take it and actually use it RESPONSIBILY, then the dems will continue to take it ALL and use it for more oppression of the poor. Let's keep the poor chained to the government so there will NEVER be incentive for them to become productive members of society!! Stay home, don't work because we will pay you more to be lazy. Once you are actually successful we will take whatever you do make and give it to someone else.
    I am tired of working Jan-May just to pay my taxes.

    March 4, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  16. mollie

    It is not just hypocracy within politics, but also the citizens of the United States government. We don't support big spending that could lead us out of this recession; much like the New Deal with FDR led us out of the Great Depression. However, we support, if not encourage and expect the mass wave of celebrities to be getting paid 5 million dollar a movie contracts just because of their name. Recently John Mayor spent multi-millions on his new home which could probably house at least 15 to 20 people facing this housing crisis. Not to mention a world where we allow miley cyrus to make close to 20 million dollars a day on tour for hannah montana which clearly exploits young girls and engages us further into this crazy pop culture we have become. When will we realize that these high salaries should going to talented, educated people who are going to be spending there money into the economy rather than to these stars and sports players who merely buy car after car and house after house. Where has the respect for the American people gone?

    March 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  17. Chris

    Why is it that I'm always seeing liberal OpEds here? Yesterday swooning over Michelle Obama, today Zimmerman blathering more point-and-blame at Rush Limbaugh. I'm fed up with CNN being the latter-day Alcove-2 of the postmodern communist agenda.

    Rush may be over the top, but that doesn't make him incorrect. What's happening in government now is nothing short of a wholesale powergrab by the Fabian Socialists of the left – who are seeking to cripple Liberty enough to make their brand of social state appealing. It's 1,000% un-American, and I'm with Rush:

    if Obama's designs are to cripple America until it capitulates to a socialist master, then I dearly dearly DEARLY want him to FAIL. If he succeeds, there will no doubt be consequences to pay from the People.

    Obama and the Gang – keep one thing in mind as you try to move forward.


    March 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  18. Ken

    The GOP must be talking to too many of their own. Now they think all of America is stupid enough to listen.

    Their latest argument about spending: "Just because we did it, doesn't make it right . . . "

    March 4, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  19. Annie Kate

    The behavior of the GOP and the statements that Rush Limbaugh has made recently only reinforce the image that the GOP is for the wealthy and big business and they care very little for the average taxpayer and the country. I did not vote for Obama but I sure don't want him to fail – that would be like cutting my nose off to spite my face. If he succeeds then we succeed....we need team work in Congress now not more political dogma.

    March 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  20. Jason of Austin

    It is very interesting to see people talk about hypocrisy, but fail to acknowledge it on their own. Mr. Zimmerman talks about how open this Democratic Congress is and how earmarks are now voted on and publicly disclosed.

    Not so for the previous Republican Congress he states... And he is correct on the matter.

    But how did the Democratic Congress before the Republican Congress behave? Were they open and offering full disclosure? No, not even close. They hid their pork and kick-backs to their donors as much as the Republican Congress after them did.

    Mr. Zimmerman tries to make this a game of US versus THEM. Unfortunately it is the wrong groups of US and THEM. This should not be a battle between Democrats and Republicans. The US should be the American People and the THEM should be the corrupt Congress that wastes Billions of taxpayers dollars.

    I applaud this Democratic Congress for being more open, but they are still being wasteful... Just like the previous Congresses were; no matter who was in control.

    If Mr. Zimmerman believes that either party has the right to waste taxpayer dollars, then he is a part of the problem. If he believes that Congress should be protecting America's assets, then he should join with all concerned Americans in informing Ms. Pelosi that she needs to support her President and back Congress off of the pork and wasteful spending...

    March 4, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  21. Ms P

    According to encarta Rush means "to proceed in a quick and reckless way" . Need I say more.

    March 4, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  22. jmlstl


    You're right, you can't have it both ways. So if I agree with the stimulus do I have to pay. I would love to opt out of paying additional taxes and not burden my future generations with mistakes of today.

    Most, if not all could be avoided by the Dems. not pushing subprime loans to non-qualified borrowing, financial institutions not bundling them into funds, etc...and PEOPLE, the living within theirs and getting back to basics of 20% down, not appraising on speculation, and PEOPLE deliberately lying on their credit applications to get a loan and trying to work the system. The American PEOPLE that got us into this mess are hypocrites. It's all about the has-has nots and it always will be...

    March 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  23. Michelle

    Read Roland Martin's article today. If the republicans don't like the ear marks, don't like the spending, then don't take the money. You can't have it both ways, I vote against it, I hate it and then stand in line with your hand out for it. They all understand the game and if they don't they should not play. If this country is to unite and get through one of the worse financial crisis's of our time, the all need to play the game – well – together.

    And people should not be listening to any ONE opinion or sound bite and think they are informed. Rush has his opinion, that is how he gets ratings and sponsors. He will bend to the will of his boss if necessary to stay on the air. Don't mistake opinion for fact. They are very different. He does not want Obama to succeed because of his party (forgetting that he represents all Americans) but if Obama was a GOP leader he would be praising him to the sky. He doesn't care about the issue only the argument and anger it insights. That is how he gets ratings.

    Keep your eyes open and look to many sources to form a BALANCED opinion.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  24. Jamers

    Bobby. If this stimulus is so good and Dems feel so good about it answer me this question. Why is it that today (Wed) it is all over the news that Obama wants to come back now for more money and Dem. members are starting to abandon ship. Hmm if it is so wonderful why the big change in just a few weeks? You can blather whatever you want Bobby, time will be the true truth.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Bush and the Republican Party's War in Iraq has cost much more than this bill will, so I don't want to hear any Republican complaining about the spending which by the way is required to reverse 8 years of policy involving corruption, lies, secrecy, and a war we were told was necessary to destroy weapons of mass destruction. Absolutely embarrassing.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  26. Winston

    The saddest thing about Mr. Limbaugh is that he is adding to the fear which is weakening this great nation. Someone need to remind him of the phrase "divided we fall." Clear Channel needs to put a muzzle on him. Instead, because he has good ratings they allow his theatrics to do harm. I was under the belief that the F.C.C granted radio stations a license to serve the public.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm |

    I see my good friend Robert Zimmerman is criticizing Rush Limbaugh as a hypocrite from the sidelines of course. My question to Zimmerman is why don't you go tell Limbaugh face to face. Otherwise, I would believe you are what Eric Holder calls me a Coward. That is typical of all you liberal democrats.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  28. cherie miller

    Well said.

    March 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  29. Arachnae

    Remember the spending under Bush and Co.? Yeah.. I do too. There’s not much difference between what he spent, and what Obama’s spending, really….

    You don't see a difference between a trillion dollars poured into the sands of Iraq (while simultaneously making our nation loathed) and money spent rebuilding our own infrastructure and investing in our own future? Really?

    March 4, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  30. Angela

    Once again, spot on. Limbaugh's hypocrisy is disgusting.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  31. Ashwini Colvin

    Listen.. Be it Michael Phelps, Bobby Jindal or even the Stimulus Plan ,we all need that second chance to represent . Debate me

    March 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  32. Janine from PA.

    What hypocrisy? This is business as usual for government.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  33. Melissa

    Wow, look at how many people that replied and obviously didn't even read the article. Hypocrisy is right. They can't even be bothered to actually be informed on anything but believe their Republican leaders blindly.


    March 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  34. BonnieInTexas

    I am a democrat and could not support the stimulus package pushed through without anyone even reading it. It is too expensive and when you see all the additional money the present administration is asking for for all the other programs it wants to implement I simply am aghast. What the heck are people thinking? We can't pay for any of this and I continue to wonder why even democrats are supporting this kind of spending.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  35. xtina, chicago IL

    Why are people afraid of a big teddy bear like Rush Limbaugh? He has just as high of a annoyance factor as ... well, use your imagination . If people want a picture of the real Rush Limbaugh, and you are a dog-lover, read Rescuing Sprite by Mark Levin. Why do people think they know someone from sound bytes (sp?).

    Did Rush Limbaugh say he is the leader of the republicans? Why are people afraid of a radio host with high ratings? If people are that intimidated by Mr Limbaugh, why not put forth an opposing radio program that will generate as much money into the economy as Rush Limbaugh. And try doing it without the Fairness Doctrine to force the issue .

    March 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  36. The SLIMED

    You GOT that RIGHT.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  37. Elizabeth

    I am a Republican, but consider myself more of a conservative rather than for one party. I in no way consider Rush Limbaugh my leader or the leader of the Republican party. This bill felt opposition because of the sheer dollar amount and the speed as to which it was pushed through the Congress. I find it difficult to believe that most of the Congress even knew a quarter of what was in the package.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  38. Fay - California

    And when Republicans controlled Congress, they got 60% of the earmarks (as is traditional for the party in power), and kept those earmarks secret. You don’t hear them talking about that today.

    An important point that seems to get left out of those 'investigative' reports about earmarks – at least the Democrats have made an effort to be above-board about the earmarks they've received.

    As far as Limbaugh goes, Republicans have shown their true colors by embracing and bowing down to this destructive and unpatriotic figure – imagine the outcry if a Democrat had publicly stated that they wanted a Republican president to "fail". Republicans are delusional if they think they are going to grow their party by holding him up as the keeper of "real" conservative values.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  39. toadman

    Every administration experiences this sort of thing. Both parties have pet projects and spending that it prefers, over the other. It's naive to think that Republican spending is better or worse than Democrat spending. It's just a matter of world view and preference.

    Remember the spending under Bush and Co.? Yeah.. I do too. There's not much difference between what he spent, and what Obama's spending, really....except that we all get to see it a little more transparently.. maybe that's the problem.

    Also, the weak argument of "debting it forward" to future generations has been used for years and years...but it's just not going to stop legislators from spending money. Our money. We elect them, they they set the rules on our behalf. If we don't like the rules they set, or the way they spend our money, we elect someone else, who's gonna do the same damn thing, in the end.

    The cycle never ends.

    Still...for my own part, as a person without party affiliation, who voted for Obama, I've seen nothing in the Stimulus Package, or the Omnibus Bill, that I'm too upset about. For me, so far, so good....

    March 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  40. tann

    We are shifting to a Mexican style of government where the ranking political leaders hold the power and the money behind a facade of capitalism. So the money is moving from the capitalist giants to the political leaders and those connected to them. Just as in Mexico the people would be better off with true capitalism or even true socialism because in both of those cases the people actually get a share. In this Mexican style of government the people get nothing but scraps. Look at Mexico today and you are looking at the United States tomorrow.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  41. Rick St Thomas

    Barak Obama was swept into the presidency by what most people agree was an historical election.
    He won the election by ~200 electoral votes. He promised “change we can believe in”, no more business as usual and to remake the face of Government. He promised transparency about what the government was doing and why.
    He promised reform and that is what he is doing. Is expecting government services for taxes paid socialism? [Social Security, Medicare etc.] The republicans see these real changes coming and are fearful and angry. To all the republican representatives and senators who can only say “no” to everything:
    Why not let the man make the changes he promised and sink or swim on the results.
    It was the “will of the people” who put him there, so stop insulting us with nothing but resistance to change.
    The experiment with Fascism* has been a miserable failure so give someone else a chance.
    The GOP will likely reduce itself further in the 2010 elections to a “southern only” party.

    * Fascism = Corporatism

    March 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  42. Fran Frank

    How can the Republicans be looking out for the middle class...when there is barely one left after eight years of Bush. Zimmerman keep on writing and getting the Democratic point of view out there...because the Republicans best attribute is denial.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  43. Sherman

    "Tax and spend" the anti-democratic cry of the Republicans. They had a policy of spend and spend and let the Democrats fix it. Well here we are fixing the spend and spend, as well as, deregulate Bush policies and what are the Republicans saying now "all the Democrats do is tax and spend." Why not look back to the end of the Clinton era, another 8 years of hearing the familiar cry "tax and spend"...well last time I checked we had a surplus when the last Democrat left The White House." Keep blogging Zimmerman!

    March 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  44. Richmond Pam

    The Republican rhetoric is intolerable at this time; they act like they had a winning strategy ....how do they think we got here! Once again the view of social programs is seen as something bad...how can all these "religious right folks" think that giving insurance to 11 million children is what a waste- is that because they can afford health insurance...these people should really spend more time reading the Bible and less time listening to Rush Limbaugh.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  45. Jack in Joplin

    It is another step down for the Republican Party to have someone as their 'voice' who is great at showmanship and divisiveness but lacks the qualities of a good leader.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  46. Sandy

    Robert gets it right every time!

    March 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  47. Sandra

    Republicans are looking out for the working class, that's why they voted against it. There is way too much Pelosi pork in it. Democrats are and seemingly will always be tax and spend.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  48. Kelly

    I consider myself a republican and even i am embarassed in how my party has been portraying itself within the last couple of months

    March 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  49. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    It is obvious that the Republicans are demonstrating disrespect for President Obama, however, they need to please their constituency....as long as something is a "winner" they will take credit...when a policy fails they will attack. If the policy is beneficial to America , it matter not, all that matters is the RNC...and it's image.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  50. xtina, chicago IL

    I think more republican leaders would have voted for the stimulus if it hadn't included items such as, say - Planning and Design of the Ted Kennedy Institute . Isn't that a bit of a discretionary item given the economic situation ?

    March 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
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