Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

The news generated by Edwards has been consistently good of late. Not earth-shattering, not race-changing, just good. His sharp populist message is breaking into the dominant media narrative, and he's challenging Clinton, making Obama seem suddenly less relevant.

Last week Obama was supposed to recapture his antiwar cred, but his "major policy address" fell flat. He couldn't even bring himself to support a timeline for withdrawal (a position he'd already taken!) Meanwhile Edwards bought time on MSNBC to rebut Bush's address on Iraq, stealing the week from Obama in terms of antiwar cred. The expensive, risky move brought Edwards good coverage. For example, he was included in a discussion on Larry King from which he otherwise would have been excluded. And what a discussion it was. For months we Edwards supporters have argued that the strength and clarity of his positions would produce political benefits. The Atlantic's James Fallows--who usually focuses on policy instead of politics--was taken aback as he saw the candidates anew.

Of the three Democratic responses to the president in this hour on CNN -- Jack Reed, Barack Obama, plus Edwards -- Edwards was by a mile the most impressive. To apply the Man from Mars perspective: if you'd heard of none of these politicians before, based on this sequence you'd immediately assume that Edwards was the dominant one from either party (including the actual president).

Reed was fine, and it's always good to have a West Point grad and former Army officer in this role. But he was long on "we Democrats will offer a plan" as opposed to very crisp arguments about what was wrong with the Bush plan.

Those crisp arguments were all, and only, what Edwards presented. I don't have a transcript, but the gist was: we're patrolling a civil war, nothing matters without political progress, and that's not happening; it's shameful to keep making the link to 9/11 that does not exist, etc. Compared with the last time I'd seen Edwards handling foreign policy questions on live TV, he has come a very long way in knowledgeability and confidence..

From Obama, the opposite surprise: when did he start sounding like a Senator? So many vagued-up sentences and so little pith?

Then this weekend the candidates went to Iowa for the Harkin Steakfry, which is a test of organization first and intensity of support second. By all accounts, no candidate had more supporters there than Edwards, and anyone who watched it on TV knows his supporters were the most vocal. Newsweek's Howard Fineman said he won the day. Don't get me wrong: I don't trust Fineman (although as mainstream jounalists go, he's pretty sharp.) But it's significant that the mainstream press, which has long treated this is as a two-person race, is waking up to discover a "convincing man of the people populist" with surprising "polish."

Like Fallows, Fineman was surprised to discover how unimpressive Obama was. Indeed, sitting at home in my living room, I saw few sparks. Iowa has always presented a challenge for Obama, and he seems not to be taking the necessary steps to mitigate his weaknesses there. For example, this week he's skipping the AARP forum in Davenport--a strange decision for someone lagging behind among seniors. And he's yet to present a comprehensive plan to fight rural poverty. At this relatively late date his support remains concentrated in cities and college towns--a recipe for a poor finish in a contest that rewards well-distributed support. Let me be the first to say what's on the tip of conventional opinion's tongue: Obama's in trouble in Iowa.

That's perhaps why Edwards seems more concerned with Clinton. Yesterday she planned to dominate the day with the release of her health care plan (a good plan for which the country should thank Edwards.) But Edwards crashed the picnic by announcing that on his first day in office he would present a bill that would take away the health insurance of Congresspeople unless they passed universal coverage. This confounded elitists and other non-populists. David Brooks said Edwards was shrill, and Obama supporters over at Kos were besides themselves, citing an amendment to the constitution (one that most of them had never heard of till that morning) in a desperate attempt to blunt the political force of Edwards's move. What Edwards was doing was good old-fashioned brassknucke politics--something Obama and his supporters neither understand nor like.

In the afternoon came the candidates' speeches to the SEIU, a powerful, politically active union, the only one that might endorse Obama. And after Obama thrilled the crowd with his speech (let's face it, the guy can bring it, occasionally), it seemed as if he might have stolen the endorsement away from Edwards. Then reality set in. Edwards rocked the house himself, and some actual reporting found that the passion for Edwards among the service workers is deep. Either Edwards gets SEIU or no one does.

Finally, today the Edwards campaign went after Hillary Clinton for--well, for being Hillary Clinton, a corporate Dem to the core. I'll let Joe Trippi tell you the bad news:

If you want to know why we need change in Washington - and I mean real change, not just trading corporate Republican insiders with corporate Democratic insiders - then just look at Senator Clinton's schedule for today. Today at noon, Hillary Clinton will be hosting a fundraiser in Washington, DC for a select group of lobbyists with an interest in homeland security.

Tickets for the Clinton fundraiser are $1,000 a ticket and $25,000 per bundler. And for that money you get more than a meal - you get to attend one-hour breakout sessions in four different areas of homeland security that will include House Committee Chairs and members of Congress who sit on the very committees that will be voting on homeland security legislation.

Today's Clinton fundraising event is a "poster child" for what is wrong with Washington and what should never happen again with a candidate running for the highest office in the land.

That no one in the Clinton campaign - including the candidate - found anything wrong with holding this fundraiser is an indication of just how bad things have gotten in Washington - because there isn't an American outside of Washington who would not be sickened by it.

Just last month, John Edwards asked Senator Clinton to join him in taking the Democratic Party on the first step towards real reform - to become the first party to refuse and reject the money of Washington lobbyists.

But one of the nice things about being an establishment pol like Clinton is that when populists criticize you, an establishment journalist like Ben Smith comes to your aid. Here Smith, who's clearly in awe of Clinton's political skills, "tsk-tsks" Edwards for going negative, calls him "angry," and claims without evidence that this is a gift to Hillary. Never mind assessing the substance of the charge. And feel free to ignore the polls suggesting that this is a huge vulnerability for Hillary. Just keep on doing her bidding, BS. Maybe she'll give you an interview if and when you help her get elected. You're so far up the establishment's ass you can't see daylight, much less the truth.

Tags: Barack Obama, Ben Smith, corporate dems, Harkin Steak Fry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Labor Unions, SEIU, SEUI, steakfy (all tags)



If Tom Delay

had a fundraiser with a firm like Jones day hosting government contractors before chairman moveon, taylor marsh and all the other Hillary worshippers would throw a fit, because it's a "dem" no one notices.

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: If Tom Delay

Right. Taylor Marsh doesn't care if Clinton gets in bed with Haliburton. Just as long as she doesn't criticize Moveon's dumb ad.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 10:44AM | 0 recs
this fundraiser stinks to high heaven

it's exactly why dems can't take advantage of the worst president ever.

this is exactly the kind of thing that average americans think is going on in DC in their worst nightmares.

I almost excpect one of the pedophile reporters to burst into this fundraiser with a TV camera

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 10:47AM | 0 recs
please excuse my

shrillness. I guess I'm just another angry man.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 10:38AM | 0 recs
speaking as a midwesterner

you New Yorkers are always more eager to get in someone's face!

by desmoinesdem 2007-09-18 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: speaking as a midwesterner

Yeah, keep me out of Iowa. I'll do more harm than good.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 10:50AM | 0 recs
hey david

if you have any contact with the campaign they should make a youtube style ad with either "cops" or "to catch a predator" spoof raiding people at one of these Hillary fundraisiers

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

I always thought Ben Smith was a jackass.

Iowans were certainly more impressed with Edwards at the Harkin Steak Fry.  Hillary fell flat with the same old shrill voice and her paid staffers and out of state volunteers (all college kids) tried to disrupt other speakers, most especially at JRE's rally in the NE corner.  JRE's rally was comprised of real Iowans who vote and they brought their kids to see JRE and EE.

Obama is still trying to make his case about his lack of experience, which he called "hope mongering" on Sunday afternoon.

by benny06 2007-09-18 10:41AM | 0 recs
Stop with the 'Shrill"

Its sexist and demeaning to all women.

And you know it!

by holden caulfield 2007-09-18 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards

Yes, it was a good Edwards week, the Steak Fry and Response in particular. (Was that less than a week ago?)

And it's worth noting that in Iowa Obama has spent by far the  most money on advertising, followed Clinton.  Once Edwards goes on the air, it'll be tough for them to keep pace.

by MassEyesandEars 2007-09-18 10:42AM | 0 recs
I expect some tv ads here

for Edwards within the next few weeks. At least that is what I have heard. It will be interesting to see what he puts up on the air. Iowans know him well already, so he can dispense with the boring bio ads.

by desmoinesdem 2007-09-18 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is the most electable

Mark my words, if we don't nominate him, we lose in 2008.

You read it here first :)

by catchawave 2007-09-18 10:43AM | 0 recs
one thing I can't figure out

about Obama is why he didn't come out two weeks ago like Dodd saying that he wouldn't vote for any Iraq war funding bill that did not contain a timeline.

He said it in his speech at the steak fry (at least I'm pretty sure that's what I heard). Why didn't he say it sooner, or at least last Thursday after Bush's address? Was this an attempt to make the biggest news at the steak fry?

Seriously, I do not get it.

by desmoinesdem 2007-09-18 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: one thing I can't figure out

I don't think it's in his nature to lead in that way. That's not an insult. There's an important role for people who want to craft consensus, to negotiate, often behind the scenes. I think what Obama finally did on Sunday goes against his nature, but he had to do it. Notice that he did it on the same day that the Washpo ran the frontpage piece questioning his antiwar fervor.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 10:54AM | 0 recs

is going to choke him to death.

obama should be out there calling BS on hillary's iraq conversion

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: one thing I can't figure out

On the local news in Iowa City, the Steak Fry clip of Obama is when he said he would not support continued funding of the war without a deadline, which means something different, in my view.

by benny06 2007-09-18 11:26AM | 0 recs
Ben Smith is a Jackass

Politico -- Fox - Murdoch -- Hillary.


by TomP 2007-09-18 10:52AM | 0 recs
Nice slander job

how about some back:

Are you a Naderite?

by holden caulfield 2007-09-18 03:59PM | 0 recs
Ben Smith is a Jackass

Don't pick on Obama too much.  I think if he got rid of his top advisors he'd be running a better campaign.

Hillary Clinton is the enemy of the party.  She will drag us back to the 1990's.  Divisive politics, "new" Democrats, and triangulation.

by Vox Populi 2007-09-18 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Smith is a Jackass

"Hillary Clinton is the enemy of the party."

I am sorry, Vox, but you have gone way overboard here.  Kind of sad to see this spectacle with my own eyes.  

by georgep 2007-09-18 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Smith is a Jackass

The enemy?

Are you freaking kidding me?

by RJEvans 2007-09-18 11:08AM | 0 recs
Enemy of the Party?

You MUST be Nader voter - right?

Am I right ?  Come on - Fess up?!

by holden caulfield 2007-09-18 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Enemy of the Party?

Nope, I was a Gore and Kerry voter.

by Vox Populi 2007-09-18 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Enemy of the Party?

well, now that i know youre the son of a sheet metal worker, Im ashamed I ever wondered.

by holden caulfield 2007-09-27 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

I found out about it from CNN.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Why would a progressive Democrat trust Edwards as a president? As we all know, John Edwards voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution, and althogh he apologized for his vote, the facts surrounding it are alarming:

1. Edwards co-sponsored the Iraq War Resolution with Joe Lieberman.

2. Edwards served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and had access to the intelligence showing that Iraq posed no immediate threat to our country.

3. Edwards lied about Iraq's nuclear capabilities and the threat it posed.

Edwards said: "Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts: that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a menace; that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons; that he has supported terrorists; that he is a grave threat to the region, to vital allies like Israel, and to the United States;

These are outright lies: 1. There was much disagreement with all of these facts; 2. Hussein did not possess WMDs; 3. Hussein had eliminated his nukes and was not rapidly acquiring them; and 4. Iraq was no longer a threat to the region and certainly not to the United States.  Edwards, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, would have known all this.

Edwards lied to justify his vote, but even worse, to appear "tough on defense" for a future presidential run. This disqualifies him as a candidate, in my eyes, for two reasons:

1. Anyone who would lie about the threat of a nuclear attack should not be president.

2. In a general election, these words will come back to haunt him, as his opponents will surely expose him as a flip-flopper who changed his opinion after the war became unpopular. Edwards would not be able to challenge his opponent's poor judgment on Iraq or military issues because his own judgment is in question.

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 11:09AM | 0 recs
HIllary's senate floor speach

linked Saddam to al qaeda.... so what.

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: HIllary's senate floor speach

That's why I'm not voting for Hillary or Edwards.

I'm not voting for someone who would lie about the threat of a nuclear attack to justify a war vote. I don't see how any progressive Democrat would.

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: HIllary's senate floor speach

Oh, please. He didn't lie. He bought the hype and failed to do his homework. Bad but not awful, and you need to weight it against everyone else. I repeat: whom do you support?

by david mizner 2007-09-18 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: HIllary's senate floor speach

Edwards was on the SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. He had access to the report that showed Iraq was NOT a threat.

Edwards knew, but coming across as "tough on defense" was more important than doing the right thing on Iraq.

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: HIllary's senate floor speach

Edwards was on the SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. He had access to the report that showed Iraq was NOT a threat.

I'm afraid you're making the same mistake a lot of people made in the autumn of 2002 - you have become completely, utterly convinced of something without seeing the actual evidence.  And, you are using your imagination to assume the worst, rather than using your imagination to conceive of alternative, equally or more logical possibilities.

The "report" you are referring to is the summary Sen. Bob Graham chastised his colleagues for not reading (those on the Intel Cmte heard a summary of the summary.) But he didn't say the report "showed that Iraq was not a threat".  He said the report indicated that in certain areas, (particularly nuclear) the administration was acting as if there was a much firmer case than some in the intelligence community felt it was possible to conclude.

Now, use your imagination: if every senator had read this report, do you think it would have made any difference?  Do you think Colin Powell, when he delivered his speech to the U.N., actually believed Iraq posed no threat, because of what he had read in such reports, or do you think he actually believed Iraq probably did pose a threat, despite what he had read in such reports?  I suspect that for anyone who already doubted the need for the AUMF, reading this report would simply validate their doubts. If you believed Saddam had WMD (biological and chemical, and everyone back then seems to have believed that) and that they might someday fall into the hands of terrorist, this report would probably not ease those fears; nor would it drive you to believe Saddam was not intent on acquiring nuclear capability.  Remember, this was barely a year after 9/11; it was a very fearful time in our history.

I said "use your imagination" because that's what more people in the autumn of 2002 should have done. Had they done so, they might have guessed that the reason Saddam was so reluctant to allow inspectors full access was not because he was was worried his WMD would be discovered, but because he was worried his lack of WMD would be discovered. The myth of WMD - and his famous blustery rhetoric - was something he relied on to appear a much more powerful force in the region than he really was.  Duh.  But instead, people in the autumn of 2002 - like you, today, -were absolutely convinced of something they had no actual evidence of - that Saddam had WMD (bio and chem).  And that group of believers included some pretty famous progressives:

[W]e know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country.

-- Al Gore

I agree that Saddam Hussein is exceptionally dangerous and brutal, if not uniquely so, as the President argues. And I agree, I support the concept of regime change. ... And I agree, therefore, Mr. President, we cannot do nothing with regard to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. We must act. We must act with serious purpose and stop the weapons of mass destruction and stop Saddam Hussein. And I agree a return to the inspections regime of the past alone is not a serious, credible policy.

-- Russ Feingold

He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

--Barack Obama

Mr. President, as we turn later today to address our policy on Iraq, I want to take a few minutes to outline my views. The situation remains fluid, and Administration officials are engaged in negotiations at the United Nations over what approach we ought to take, with our allies, to disarm the brutal and dictatorial Iraqi regime. ... I support ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction through unfettered U.N. inspections, which should begin as soon as possible. Only a broad coalition of nations, united to disarm Saddam, while preserving our war on terror, is likely to succeed. Our primary focus now must be on Iraq's verifiable disarmament of weapons of mass destruction.

-- Paul Wellstone

by Rob in Vermont 2007-09-18 03:01PM | 0 recs
This Bush's War

No One Else's

by holden caulfield 2007-09-18 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Edward's senate floor speach

The difference is that the other men urged caution and restraint. They made it clear that IRAQ POSED NO IMMINENT THREAT while arguing against a pre-emptive strike. They showed good judgment. Edwards did not.

Edwards poured gasoline on the fire. He recommended that we hurry up and attack. He voted AGAINST the Levin Amendment. He was repeating the Bush/Cheney/Lieberman talking points. This shows an incredible lack of judgment.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I firmly believe that the issue of Iraq is not about politics. It's about national security. We know that for at least 20 years, Saddam Hussein has obsessively sought weapons of mass destruction through every means available. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons today. He has used them in the past, and he is doing everything he can to build more. Each day he inches closer to his longtime goal of nuclear capability -- a capability that could be less than a year away. ...

The path of confronting Saddam is full of hazards. But the path of inaction is far more dangerous. This week, a week where we remember the sacrifice of thousands of innocent Americans made on 9-11, the choice could not be starker. Had we known that such attacks were imminent, we surely would have used every means at our disposal to prevent them and take out the plotters. We cannot wait for such a terrible event - or, if weapons of mass destruction are used, one far worse - to address the clear and present danger posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The full and COMPLETE statements made by the other men -- Gore, Feingold, Obama, and Wellstone -- clearly show Edwards' poor judgment by comparison.

by CaptCT 2007-09-19 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Edward's senate floor speach

No one, including John Edwards, argues that he exercised good judgment here.

The difference between you and I is that you are using his poor judgment here to conclude that no progressive should vote for him, that he is not presidential material.

A year after the 9/11 attacks on America, he was among the Democratic leaders who unwisely supported the administration (though he did not support the broader AUMF that Bush wanted) in its wreckless war to remove the threat of supposed WMD in Iraq. I very much believe had he (or anyone else, including practically any Republican you can think of) had been president, they would not have shut down the U.N. inspections - which was the whole purpose of the AUMF, to start up the U.N. inspections, which Saddam had thwarted. The AUMF worked; after years of absence, the inspectors were allowed back into Iraq.  But Bush shut down the inspections and completely ignored the U.N. Security Council's vote against war - the very body whose authority (Bush had claimed) he was trying to enforce via the AUMF:

I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce UN Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited.

Now, compare Edwards's (and other senators') misjudgment in going along with Bush, to the purposeful act of Franklin Roosevelt when he ordered the internment of tens of thousands of innocent American citizens based on their ethnicity. Franklin Roosevelt was one of history's greatest progressives, yet next to slavery this is surely the most horrible violation of citizen's rights in our country's history. An absolutely terrible misjudgment on FDR's part.

Presidents (and senators) are human beings. Human beings sometimes make awful mistakes. The wise ones learn from those mistakes.

by Rob in Vermont 2007-09-19 04:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Edward's senate floor speach

Edwards could have prevented Bush from ignoring the UN Security Council -- and forced him to come back to Congress for authorization -- by voting in favor of the Levin Amendment.

Senator Levin's amendment called for United Nations approval before force could be authorized. ... it affirmed that Congress would stand at the ready to reconsider the use of force if, in the judgment of the president, a United Nations resolution was not "promptly adopted" or enforced. Ceding no rights or sovereignty to an international body, the amendment explicitly avowed America's right to defend itself if threatened.

Edwards voted against this Amendment.

I was a bit overzealous in saying that no progressive should vote for Edwards. His public statements and policies support a progressive agenda. But ultimately this comes down to "who do you trust?" I can see how people are skeptical of Obama, Clinton and all the candidates.

I consider Obama's vote for Bush's Energy Bill his worst policy mistake, not only for the horrible law that it is but also for what it says about Obama's judgment. However, as you say, Senators sometimes make mistakes. In my opinion, hyping the threat of a nuclear attack to justify a pre-emptive strike and take a country to war is a worse mistake than a bad energy policy.

It's true that people can learn from their mistakes. JFK had his Bay of Pigs, but he also averted a nuclear disaster and prevented a missile buildup in Cuba. But, in this primary, we have limited ways to determine who's learning from their mistakes and who's pandering. So, for me, it comes down to past judgment.

by CaptCT 2007-09-19 07:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Edward's senate floor speach

Well, I think trust is largely based on a gut feeling about a person. FDR made an egregious moral (and legal) misjudgment in interning American citizens. Were he alive today, he could see how history (and the Supreme Court) has judged that decision.  My gut feeling is that 1) he would not have the hubris to argue it was in fact a wise decision, even in hindsight; and 2) it is not something he would do again, under the same circumstances, were he to become president once again.

This is my gut feeling, since it's of course unknowable.

My gut also tells me the following:

1)  If, say, Edwards or Clinton or Dodd were presented with a similar choice again - for example, to follow Bush (or a president like Bush) who was egging for a confrontation with, say, Iran - they would not go along with it; they would have learned this lesson very well;

2) If Edwards or Clinton or Dodd had been president in 2002, they would not have thwarted the will of the U.N. the way Bush did in shutting down the inspections;

3) If Edwards or Clinton or Dodd become president, they would use military force as a last resort, only after diplomatic efforts have clearly been exhausted; they would not be seeking to become "war presidents" to score political points or for ideological reasons or to "outperform" Poppy.

That's my gut feeling. I also believe, when these candidates are making specific progressive policy proposals in this campaign, it's because they actually believe in these specific proposals.

by Rob in Vermont 2007-09-19 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Edward's Senate floor speach

Also, Edwards himself points to his status on the Senate Intelligence Committee as a reason to believe him and not others who urge restraint.

This is inherently dishonest. He's saying he has inside information that the others don't -- trust me.

Well, we see where that led. I don't trust him anymore, and I don't understand why others do. This isn't like he lied about agricultural subsidies. This is about the threat of a nuclear attack -- about a decision to take our country to war.

Political aspirations trumped all else. It's a shame ... a disgrace really. We should expect more.

by CaptCT 2007-09-19 04:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Edward's Senate floor speach

Lastly, these comments will absolutely come back to haunt Edwards in a general election.

You think Kerry's flipflops were troublesome? Giuliani and the Republicans will be able to take Iraq out of the debate. "Edwards led the march to war!" they will say. And they'd be right.

by CaptCT 2007-09-19 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

And your candidate is?

by david mizner 2007-09-18 11:18AM | 0 recs

I  hope.  cause he's the only one pure on the issue

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is a Jackass??

Only Kucinich is "pure" on this?

Hmmm.... well who else lied about Iraq's nuclear threat, and had access to information to Senate Intelligence Committee reports? I know Edwards is on the list. List the others for me.

I know that Obama spoke out about the dangers of this war in the fall of 2002, and right now he's my front runner.

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 11:28AM | 0 recs
re -- typo

Excuse that header above ... I hadn't finished typing when I hit save ...

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 11:30AM | 0 recs
Obama voted for 4 supplemental

bills for Iraq - even Edwards voted against the only one he saw the 87billion.

kucinich is the only one who Voted  against the war and all it's supplementals.

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is a Jackass??

Right, and you're chastising progressives for supporting Edwards when your candidate wants to drastically expand the military, supports CTL, voted for Bush's energy bill and tort reform, supported a flagburning bill, would leave a big residual force in Iraq, and can't even bring himself to support a universal health care bill.

Listen, if you're a single issue voter, fine, but don't lecture us about who the true progressive is, not when you're supporting Obama.

It's easy to bash a candidate in a vaccuum.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 11:41AM | 0 recs
Wow... tort reform?

Hmmm.... let's see. Lying about the threat of a nuclear attack ... or voting against tort reform.

Only a trial lawyer would actually bring up those two things in the same sentence. Now I see where this is going.

Obama's voting record compares favorably with Edwards, Clinton's Dodd's and even Russ Feingold's. I would love for you to post a comparison on the key votes.

I'm sure there might be a difference here or there, but ultimately, when it comes to lying about the threat of a nuclear attack, there is no wiggle room. There is no "good for this voter; bad for that voter". It borders on treason, and something that should never be tolerated in a candidate. Period.

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow... tort reform?

His last major Anti-War Hurrah was in 2002.

Since then he's been far less than impressive.

It's amazing to me that Obama supporters seem to be the only ones who don't require anything recent to justify supporting their candidate.

by apolitik 2007-09-18 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Conceding a Point

OK. I CAN see how progressives would support Edwards, based on his current stance on the issues.

I just don't understand how Edwards' lying about the threat of a nuclear attack and co-sponsoring the Iraq War Resolution with Joe Lieberman is just completely ignored -- all the time -- by a savvy group of voters whose pandering radar is highly tuned.

The pro-Edwards/anti-Obama theme is jarring -- to the point that this seems like an official Edwards site, where no criticism of him is tolerated. That's just odd, suspiciously strange, as if trial lawyers are helping to bankroll the site, as they are at DailyKos, and are violently opposed to Obama because of his tort reform vote.

I'm sure if that were the case here, it would be reported. Wouldn't it? In any case, I do appreciate the passionate support for the issues Edwards claims he supports.

For a critical analysis of Edwards' voting record, financial backing, etc.,  I'll go elsewhere. For a critical breakdown of the rest of the candidates, I know I can find it here.

by CaptCT 2007-09-18 01:59PM | 0 recs
most americans

thought it was reasonable...

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Smith knows that attacks on Edwards gets the most hits on his blog since so many RWers frequent it.

by jsamuel 2007-09-18 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Edwards?

"Why Edwards? Because he rejects neoliberalism. Because he preaches enlightened populism. Because he's running to the left. Because he would fight the amorality of the Market with the morality of progressivism. Because he opposes the Global War on Terror. Because he's getting better and bolder. Because he's capable of outrage. Because he's proud to be a progressive. Because he would win.

"But one reason rises above all others: the stated and demonstrated rationale of his campaign is to fight inequality. The monstrous power held by the few at the expense of the many causes unnecessary hardship and agony. It hurts, it maims, it kills. It threatens what Thomas Frank calls the Middle Class Republic. It threatens our democracy and our freedom. And because power corrupts, because economic insecurity breeds fear and fear breeds militarism, because corporations have a vested interest in war and place profits above all else, the disproportionate power of the few threatens humankind.

"Call it what you will--our class war, our bleeding wound, our dirty open secret--it's the problem of our time, and John Edwards has chosen to spend his political life addressing it.

"And if everyone from Hillary Clinton to Mike Huckabee now talks about our class divisions, it's in part because Edwards began to do so at the national level in 2003, when it was a deeply unfashionable thing to do. It was on the advice of no consultant, at the suggestion of no poll that Edwards took it on himself in 2003 to speak out against inequality. His policy prescriptions have evolved in the last four years but the wound targeted by those prescriptions has stayed the same.

"John Edwards is this century's most prominent progressive populist, the candidate most likely to give more power to more people. This alone makes him worthy of the presidency.

David - Everyone on my email list got this quotation from your endorsement today, with my request for a donation on my page:

https:/ ibute/mygrassroots?page_id=MjgxOTc

by mrobinsong 2007-09-18 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Edwards?

Cool. Raise any money?

by david mizner 2007-09-18 11:24AM | 0 recs
David Mizner diary

This diary reads more like an anti-obama rant then a pro-Edwards diary...Bashing Obama will not flip his Iowa supporters toward Edwards....

Iowans who supports him does so because they feel he's a fresh face and the very fact that he doesn't have the Washington experience , is a plus for them because they do not like those Washington insiders.

Obama Iowan supporters are not likely to support Edwards now since they've heard his rhetorics before , so i don't think his rants and attacks bothers them at all...Edwards been living in Iowa for the past 4 years so if they aren't supporting him now , they are very likely to not do so anytime soon.

People that support Edwards does so because they know him the best.

On Obama's speech at the steak fry:
I will agree that Obama wasn't at his best during the steak fry rally and for some reason , he couldn't get on a roll.

It's kind of funny because a few weeks ago , he really blew away the crowd during a "Woman for Obama" rally in San Francisco and people really went crazy for him....

Again , during the SEIU speech yesterday , Obama turned it on and blew away Edwards/Hillary's speech and according to many sources , Obama clearly won this battle and the crowd really went crazy.

by JaeHood 2007-09-18 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: David Mizner diary

You pretty much agreed with me. He was good at SEIU, bad at the steakfry. As for my assertion that he's in trouble in Iowa, you don't offer much by way of a rebuttal.

by david mizner 2007-09-18 11:28AM | 0 recs
he needs to go after Hillary

not Edwards.

Edwards is going after Hillary while obama is on the sidelines.

maybe the dean - gephardt thing strategy?

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 11:33AM | 0 recs
going after....

another Naderite for Edwards!

yeah baby!

by holden caulfield 2007-09-18 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: David Mizner diary

No , i do not think he's in trouble in Iowa solely based on the steak fry rally speech.

Obama has the best organization in Iowa and he had more people attending the steak fry rally to see him then Edwards.

I agree that the speech he gave in Iowa wasn't his best , but to say based on that , he's done , is very foolish.

I wished he had given a "so-so_ speech in front of partisan-oabama supporters in Cali and saved his best for Iowa , but for some reason , he wasn't hitting his strides...They will be plenty of opportunity for him to do so.

When Obama is on , he's clearly the best but he has to bring his A game everyday day from now on and he just didn't do so during the steak fry rally.

by JaeHood 2007-09-18 11:42AM | 0 recs
he needs to raise his support

among voters over 50. That is the most urgent task for Obama in Iowa.

by desmoinesdem 2007-09-18 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: David Mizner diary

Obama has bundlers.  Edwards has hedge funds to deal with.  Richardson is a "pro-growth" Democrat.  Really, what the fuck is it that you really have against Hillary.  Other than she is a woman.

by Todd Bennett 2007-09-18 02:19PM | 0 recs
edwards and hedge funds

are a huge joke,

Edwards has less money from hedge funds than Hillary, Obama , and Chris dodd..

also, Edwards was the first to propose raising taxes on hedge fund money

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: edwards and hedge funds

Oh, I see, because Edwards got LESS money, he is all clean and proper.

The hypocrisy is boiling over.

by RJEvans 2007-09-18 03:03PM | 0 recs
it is really unpleasant

the way Hillary supporters fall back on this unsupported accusation, that those of us who don't like or don't trust Hillary have a problem with women candidates.

I spent two months of my life volunteering on Bonnie Campbell's gubernatorial campaign in 1994, and I have supported and donated to many, many women candidates for state and federal offices. I used to be a monthly contributor to EMILY's list until they endorsed Hillary.

You do your candidate no favors when you accuse others of being against Hillary because she's a woman.

by desmoinesdem 2007-09-18 03:08PM | 0 recs
SEIU endorsement

Unlike many other Unions who already endorsed Edwards , the SEUI is a very diverse group with many black/latino workers....

If you take a look at Edwards's base , you will see that he just can not get black/hispanic support...Even in North Carolina , his home turf , recent polls have shown he barely gets 5% of African Americans votes.

Edwards base is mostly white and i do not expect those black/latino SEUI workers to be okay with their group endorsing Edwards...Does groups are probably the mean reason why the SEIU bosses can't endorse Edwards yet.

Even if the SEUI endorses Edwards , i strongly dont think black/latino will caucus for him in Nevada...Those 2 ethic groups will most likely caucus for Hillary or Obama.

by JaeHood 2007-09-18 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU endorsement

Obama has strong support within the SEIU, it's true. I would not be surprised if they choose not to endorse.

Even if they endorse Edwards, I'm sure plenty of their members will keep supporting Obama. I know that members of AFSCME and SEIU did not unanimously back Dean last cycle, despite the endorsements.

by desmoinesdem 2007-09-18 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU endorsement

Thanks for making this point.  I found this line very offensive,"...the only one that might endorse Obama."  It can not be escaped that many of the unions that have endorsed Edwards, Dodd and Clinton thus far have very low African American membership and some have a very sordid history of racial discrimination, namely the Fire Fighters Union.  Many of the members of these unions have racial views that are more akin to dixicrats than 21st century progressive Democrats.  Obama is at a clear disadvantage for reasons not of his making.  

As for Howard Fineman's rankings, the problem with promoting opinion pieces as news is just that: they're opinion NOT news.  Fineman's assessment of Obama's speech is not definitive.  I've read other reviews that gave him very high marks. And what was grossly overlooked is that Obama achieved what no other candidate could or would dare, bringing diversity to Iowa.  I don't know if they were imports or the entire 2% Black population of Iowa, but it is significant that he was able to put a truly American face on a state that is completely unrepresentative of the country, if only for a day.

by Dee 2007-09-18 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU endorsement

Great post Dee.

On the Unions not endorsing Obama:

I've also heard stories about the Unions's Dixiecrat mentality...

I was never aware of this until earlier this year when a very credible columnist mentioned the fact that the Union has a deep history of racism that goes way back.

Also , during the Immigration debate , a lot of Latino groups complained to Ted Kennedy about some Unions groups because they were as ferocious as Tancredo against the Immigration Bill ...At least , they were clever enough to say that they just hated the guest worker program and had no problem with legalizing illegal immigrants who've been working in the U.S for years.

I'm hearing a lot of Unions members made phone calls to their senators/congressmen and demanded no amnesty for "illegal aliens".

The SEIU , unlike the mostly white Unions , was one of the strongest backer of the legalization immigration bill.

So , i do agree with you that those white Unions would have a big problem with their bosses endorsing Obama because they are probably a lot of hidden racism inside them.

I will predict that the SEIU will not endorse anyone because their black/latino members will be very pissed off since they do not like Edwards...Some of them feels Edwards has enough Union support and they should go elsewhere.

by JaeHood 2007-09-18 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU endorsement

I'm hoping that the Black Fire Fighters Union will endorse Senator Obama and not just for the support but to shed light on persistant and unchecked racism in the fire fighter community.  Let's be honest, most of these unions have their highest membership in states with large ethnic White populations that harbor deep-seeded animosity and hatred towards Africans Americans, namely NJ, NY, PA, OH, MA and MI.  The concept of unions are good, but let's not pretend that all unions are truly good.  Any candidate who proclaims himself or herself to be the candidate for unions, should be prepared to address this decades old but unchecked problem.

by Dee 2007-09-18 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: SEIU endorsement

Most black voters that I associate with in this state back home in eastern NC don't even know who John Edwards is, didn't know who he was when he was Senator, any more than most Americans can name the Vice-President of the United States, the 3rd President, or even point out Iraq, India, or the United States on a map.

They remember the name, meaning they have some "recognition" of the name, but they love "Bill Clinton", claim that Hillary Clinton ran the White House for 8 years (an ignorant comment), and are intrigued by Obama, because he's black.

When the two largest constituencies in the black community are people who are partial to black candidates and absolutely love Bill Clinton, it doesn't matter what state you are in, that's where most of their support is going to swing.

People live their lives ON THE SURFACE.

They don't tend to focus on substance.

If John Edwards wins Iowa and Nevada, which he will do if he wins Iowa, he would have a good chance of winning New Hampshire, regardless of what the polls show now.  At that point, North Carolinians, who just like other voters, want to support a "WINNER," will have a SURFACE-LEVEL reason to support John Edwards...

The chance of having a North Carolinian as the nominee of a major political party.

Right now, his problem in NC is the fact that the cable news shows like CNN are leading people to believe that this thing is already over, and since Clinton is the de facto nominee, why in the heck would they support John Edwards?

North Carolinians are pragmatic people.  If John Edwards can get some major endorsements that make it look like he can win, like say SEIU, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, etc, then he'll shoot up in this state.

Right now, they don't trust HIS CHANCES.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:49PM | 0 recs

You can just feel the angry obama supporter spiddle just fly out of the screen while reading that.

wipes face

by apolitik 2007-09-18 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass
Obama remains the biggest threat to Hillary. Edwards will not have the money or the AA support to compete with Hillary past Iowa and HN. If Obama fades expect the AA support to get solidly behind Hillary and this thing will be over.
If Obama wins Iowa which at this point is a possibility, he'll be hard to stop and the Hillary campaign knows it.
by joachim 2007-09-18 12:36PM | 0 recs
at one point I thought what you did

but Obama has dropped in NH.  further I don't see a second act to his campaign.

Edwards will go after Hillary and I see the strategy of what he's going to try to do.

I have yet to see how Obama is going to contrast himself effectively with Hillary

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

I agreew with you here that Edwards is only competitive because Iowa is so not diverse and so old....Iowa is perfect fit for him...South Carolina is his worst nightmare.

Some Edwards supporters keep arguing with me that Edwards has a better chance of defeating Hillary on super tuesday if Obama drops out.

The problem with this is that there are not too many states like Iowa to save Edwards.

Just take a look at the states with the most delegates:

California,Texas,Florida,NY,Colorado.... .Edwards is dead on arrival in those styates and Hillary would clean him up by attarcting 90% of the black/latino vote....

I doubt any democrat could defeat Hillary by not getting any kind of support from black/latino...This is not the Republican party where you dont have to worry about campaigning in black/latino communities.

by JaeHood 2007-09-18 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass
Both Obama and Edwards can contrast themselves effectively from Hillary.
The question is who can wrestle a good percentage of AA vote away from her and match her dollar for dollar in the ad wars. Past Iowa and NH the AA vote becomes sizable in the democratic party. If Hillary gets the lions share of the female vote then combines that with a lions share of the AA vote and a 3 to 1 advantage in money how would Edwards compete.
Edwards has to overcome the money difference, female vote then the AA vote. Obama only has to overcome the female vote deficit.
by joachim 2007-09-18 12:59PM | 0 recs
there's no AA voters in iowa or NH

by TarHeel 2007-09-18 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Edwards is a fraud.  Period.  Look up my diaries if you are so intellectually inclined.  

by Todd Bennett 2007-09-18 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

SHILLary Clinton is a corporate whore.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass


We all know that Hillary has the female vote on lock down , but Obama has a chance to really clean up the AA votes if he does well in Iowa/NH.

Obama will have to beat her as bad as she's beating him with the female votes to have a chance.

With Edwards , i doubt AA voters will swing his way even if he wins Iowa.

Edwards has to overcome to female vote + AA votes + latino votes.

by JaeHood 2007-09-18 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Edwards has to overcome to female vote + AA votes + latino votes.

Edwards has to overcome the media, period.

Most voters are making their decisions based on what they hear on the television set, especially AA voters, and low-income voters.

That's why the groups that Edwards should do the best with always swing towards the corporate Democrat (Hillary), just like so many in rural sections always swing for the Republican in the General Election.

Based on their information sources (radio and television), they are conditioned to despise the ones who mean them the most good.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

If I had spent every day since 2004 and millions and millions of dollars in Iowa I'd be a little worried about my second-place polling. That's where John Edwards is. He's attacking Hillary because he has to. If he loses Iowa it's over. Obama will lurk in the weeds and will drop the gloves at the slightest provocation by Hillary. Hillary has been given a pass for months now and that's not going to happen for much longer. For someone who supposedly was all over the healthcare issue as if she owned it since 1993 she sure was absent in the senate with any bills. And she was the last of the frontrunners to post her plan. Don't you think it's curious that she waited this long? With almost 15 years to refine it, troubleshoot it, I'd think she would have announced it shortly after she declared. Instead she waited until her campaign could cherry pick from Edwards and Obama's plans and look for the one or two points that would "distance" her from their plans. Crass politicking that exposes her for the follower she is. She is not a leader!!

Now about this Harkin Steak Fry thing. I watched the entire C-Span coverage and come on people...Obama was by and far the best. Edwards had one of his best stump speeches in months and Richardson seemed to be alive. Hillary? She just yelled a bunch. I agree, Fineman's article was all opinion and now it's gaining traction as a newstory. Unbelievable.

by MarkieBee 2007-09-18 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Wouldn't call Edwards a fraud as i could settle for either him or Obama. But at this point i gotta say Obama gives us the best chance of successfully challenging Hillary.

Edwards gives us a slightly better chance of winning the General though.
Most of those union members that have endorsed him tend to vote republican in the general based on issues like affirmative action. Those "Reagan democrats". Maybe Edwards would bring them home.
The problem is that one needs the democratic nomination before getting to the general and at this point Obama has a much better shot than Edwards against Hillary.

by joachim 2007-09-18 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

The Clintons have always worried the most about Edwards.

They were satisfied when Obama got in the way.  Everyone knew Clinton and Edwards would be running in 2008, and the Clintons knew they would not have defeated John Edwards without someone else, young, "fresh," and charismatic in the race, to help split that someone other than Hillary bloc of Democratic primary voters.


Clinton's smooth sailing because Obama didn't follow through on his word, when he said back in 2004, EMPHATICALLY STATED, unequivocally, "NO, I WILL NOT BE RUNNING IN 2004."

Gee, I wonder who got to him in DC?  Probably the same people who convinced him that he should start voting to fund a war that he claimed to oppose from the beginning.

Thanks for nothing, Barack.  You should have stayed out of the way like you said you would.  Now you have ruined your chances of ever becoming President, because the Clintons never saw you as a threat, and regardless of what the establishment, LYING media say, they still don't.

They knew you would fizzle, just like you are starting to.  But hey, you got in the way of the only challenger they ever feared, so they are satisfied.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

I'd add that Obama's 6 months of positive press got him high poll numbers, fat campaign coffers, and more buzz than enough.

What did Edwards get?  Fake scandal after fake scandal.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Should read:

Clinton's smooth sailing because Obama didn't follow through on his word, when he said back in 2004, EMPHATICALLY STATED, unequivocally, "NO, I WILL NOT BE RUNNING IN 2008."

by OE 2007-09-18 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

All you Obama and Edwards savants are gonna need to start getting comfortable with the following sentence...

"Today, I endorse Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States of America..."

Give it up. You're living in a pipe dream.

by Kujan 2007-09-18 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

I'm sorry.  Did I accidentally stumble onto hillaryis44?

by whitbreadale 2007-09-19 08:53PM | 0 recs
Fineman is a Jackass

Possibly the worst guy in the entire MSM.  He helps them set and distribute the distortion.

If he's with ya, ya have troubles.

by holden caulfield 2007-09-18 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass
Oh thats Ok. Remember we got used to the idea of President Bush. Voters were given a choice and after all this administration had pulled with Iraq, voters chose Bush.
All we can ask for is that voters be given a choice and if they prefer Hillary so be it.
Thats what democracy is all about.
by joachim 2007-09-18 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

Those idiot Clinton supporters over at the Democratic Underground want someone to point out a difference between Edwards and Clinton's health care plans.

Here's the difference.

Edwards' health care plan can transition over to a single-payer health care system if more Americans opt for the government plan, and Hillary Clinton's does not seek that as a goal.

John Edwards actually wants more people to choose the government plan.

Hillary Clinton would prefer they have employer-based health care.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Good News for Edwards + Ben Smith is a Jackass

But one of the nice things about being an establishment pol like Clinton is that when populists criticize you, an establishment journalist like Ben Smith comes to your aid. Here Smith, who's clearly in awe of Clinton's political skills, "tsk-tsks" Edwards for going negative, calls him "angry," and claims without evidence that this is a gift to Hillary. Never mind assessing the substance of the charge. And feel free to ignore the polls suggesting that this is a huge vulnerability for Hillary. Just keep on doing her bidding, BS. Maybe she'll give you an interview if and when you help her get elected. You're so far up the establishment's ass you can't see daylight, much less the truth.

Couldn't have said it better, myself.

Hillary Clinton's media surrogates need to be called out more often.

The establishment media will always take up for the establishment Democrats and Republicans, against an OUTSIDER like John Edwards who is hated by each of the three establishments, as pointed out by both David Sirota and Robert Novak.

And then Clinton's tools have the audacity to accuse John Edwards of attacking other Democrats when they have been feeding FAKE SCANDALS to the media about Edwards for months, and that media that John Edwards talked about in New Hampshire...

[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don't stand a chance.

...that media that faws over establishment-types like Hillary Clinton.  

John Edwards has said it in a speech, so he should call it out when he sees it.

Well, they'll cover the solutions being proposed as long as they are proposed by Hillary Clinton.  No one else's health care proposals have received the coverage, even on NBC, CBS, and ABC the way that Hillary Clinton's has for the past two days.

I hope I don't blow up on someone this weekend when they come up to me acting like Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has released a health care proposal -- IN THEIR WORLD -- because that's how the news media has made it look to them by IGNORING OTHER PLANS, and forcefeeding hers to the public.

John Edwards needs to keep saying that he released his plan SEVEN MONTHS AGO, and he's glad to see much of it in the other plans that have come out since then.  He's led on most of the issues, the other candidates have followed, and he would lead as President as well.

by OE 2007-09-18 07:21PM | 0 recs


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