7 Days To Denver

I was watching one of the Sunday shows yesterday and a Villager whose name escapes me now began to make the case that John McCain's "celebrity" ad campaign is brilliant (my word, maybe not his) because it pre-emptively blunts the impact of Barack's acceptance speech in front of 75,000 people next week -- what's 75,000 people in a stadium for the biggest celebrity in the world?

But the reason the McCain campaign may end up regretting that campaign -- the same reason they may end up regretting whining that Barack Obama "refuses" to debate McCain -- is that it lowers expectations of Barack to a level where it's impossible not to exceed them. The meme that Barack Obama is substance-less is perhaps exactly the sort of thing the Obama campaign wants people to think of Barack going into next week's convention, because the bounce he gets out of it will be, I suspect, directly proportional to the extent to which he exceeds people's expectations.

First up in the expectations game: Michelle Obama who will be headlining Monday night.

The New York Times previews next week:

One of the first images prime-time viewers will see of the Democratic National Convention next week is that of Michelle Obama, who will begin the four-day introduction of her husband, and her family, on her terms.

Like everything else at the orchestrated gala, that is by design.

Democrats face a number of imperatives at their convention, none trickier than making more voters comfortable with the prospect of putting a candidate with a most unusual background -- the son of a black Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, who grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia -- and his family in the White House. No one, his advisers believe, makes the case better for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois than his wife, who will expand her profile by delivering one of the marquee speeches carried by television networks.

I've seen Michelle once -- at the UCLA event with Oprah and Caroline Kennedy and Michelle was really the star of the show. I had no idea how great a speaker she was; she really blew the place away, as I expect she'll blow away the millions of people watching on Monday. Her aim will be to pass the first lady in your living room test and I have no doubt that she will more than pass. Michelle has largely been laying low from national media and I think next Monday is why. It's her coming out party and just as last year Hillary Clinton exceeded expectations of those whose only knowledge of her post-2000 was a caricature propagated by the right, those who only have the caricature of Michelle Obama to go by will be taken aback when they come face to face with the real thing.

As a sidenote, I'm here in CT at my parents' house and my Republican Dad was listening to Rush and you could just hear the cockiness in his voice when speaking about McCain's performance at the forum Saturday night. Rush said he expected very little out of McCain and the way McCain ultimately did perform has given "his side" a real boost in confidence and I believe it. Unfortunately for them I think it's shortlived. Obama's choice to announce his VP so close to the convention is no doubt designed to avoid what happened to Kerry in 2004 when his VP pick bounce faded pre-convention and then there was really not much convention bounce at all. The Obama campaign clearly is going for a VP pick/convention 1-2 punch bounce. Will they get it? Considering the expectations game now favors Obama (in that he's perceived to be underperforming polling, messaging -- relative to the primaries, and debating -- to the extent that Saturday's forum was the first "debate") I expect that they will.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, DNCC, Michelle Obama (all tags)

Comments

60 Comments

Re: 7 Days To Denver

You really are a true believer.  How about some critical thinking for a little change up instead of demigod worship?

Dude is in trouble.  The convention snoozefest will not help much.  The Republican snoozefest quickly follows anyway and there goes whatever bump he gets from convention.  As for the VP slot...well, anything other Hillary Clinton will be yet another snoozefestival.

The "celebrity" ads have been devastating for Obama.  The sooner Democrats wake up from the Obama stupor the better will be able to fight the Republicans.  Here is a clue or two:  Obama's greatness is not obvious to everyone.  Some people actually need to be convinced.  It is not enough that McCain sucks. Or that Obama is suppose to represent some sort of change (whatever that means).

by BRockNYC 2008-08-18 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

THIS IS GREAT NEWS FOR HILLARY CLINTON

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-18 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

I agree. The conventions will have little impact for both parties and the VP announcements, I predict, will be a big letdown (Bayh for Obama and Pawlenty for McCain - talk about a snoozefest!).

Obama has had a very bad month, no two ways about it. The "Celebrity" ads have been brillant and will be viewed like the windsurfing ads of Kerry and the tank ads with Dukasis. The celebrity ads took Obama's perceived strength and turned it against him with a major assist from off-shore drilling and the Georgia crisis and whamm! Tie race!

The election is coming down to the outcome of the first debate when the country will be paying attention. Whoever comes out of that on top will win.

by oliver99 2008-08-18 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

Here's some more of the bs that makes me wonder why I even check out this site. Obama's had a bad month? As in having outraised McCain, built a massive field organization, and maintaining a lead while McCain blows through more money on tv advertising?

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:23PM | 0 recs
Do you see the polls?

His lead has shrunk while conditions remain ideal for Democrats.  Senate and House candidates are doing great and he has moved back towards McCain.

It's not b.s. just because you don't want it to be true.

by Thaddeus 2008-08-18 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Do you see the polls?

Tell me ONE time in the last twenty-five years that an non-incumbent was doing better before the convention and vp pick? One time.  Pick whatever economic conditions you want.

You won't find a single case.

Bill Clinton was running against an incumbent with terrible job approval in tough economic times and he was in third place before the convention - third place!

Ronald Reagan was behind Carter by 8 points in the summer of 1980 when the economy was awful.

What you consider to be expected just ain't -- not in this country. And that's what bugs me about this simplistic line of argument, usually promoted by people with very minimal knowledge of American political history. You're looking for a situation that just never exists.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Do you see the polls?

That's the rub, ain't it?  McCain is not the incumbunt no matter how often Obama attempts to stick McCain to Bush it isn't working.  McCain is not a 'new' candidate to the American people, he has been around 30 years and his brand is strong. The attempt to connect McCain to Bush has failed, need to move on to something that will actually work before its too late.

by oliver99 2008-08-18 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Do you see the polls?

McCain doesn't have to be the incumbent to be defined as a Republican - because that's who he is and how he's voted.

BTW, I just saw Obama in NM on cnn.com and he was on fire.  

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Do you see the polls?

In 2004, Kerry picked Edwards as his running mate on July 6, 2004.  The Democratic convention ran from July 26-29, 2004.  According to Electoral-Vote.com, Kerry led in the EV by 280 to 247 on July 5, 2004, the day before he picked Edwards.  On July 19, 2004, one week before the start of the Democratic convention (which is where we are in the current race), Kerry was ahead 322 to 205.  On this date in 2004 (August 18), Kerry was ahead 317 to 202.  Currently, EV.com has Obama leading McCain in the EV 275 to 250.  I have included the links below.

It's a little hard to compare directly, since Kerry made his VP pick almost 3 weeks before the start of the convention, while Obama still have not made his pick and might not until the convention itself.  Still, I think I have demonstrated that Kerry was doing at least as well (if not a smidge better) as Obama before Kerry's VP pick and convention.  Kerry was certainly doing better a week before his convention in late July, as well as on this day 4 years ago.  So, I think your statement that no non-incumbent was doing better than Obama before his convention and VP selection is wrong.  FWIW.      

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2004/Pr es/Maps/Jul05.html

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2004/Pr es/Maps/Jul19.html

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2004/Pr es/Maps/Aug18.html

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Pr es/Maps/Aug18.html

by Mose 2008-08-18 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Do you see the polls?

Huh? Your comparison is not apples to apples.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 02:20PM | 0 recs
Obama is still ahead.

NO ONE thinks electing the first African-American president is going to be easy.

The fact that Obama is STILL ahead despite a "tough" month says something.

by puma 2008-08-18 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is still ahead.

AND when I TYPE in caps, my point is that much more illustrious, cogent AND fact-filled!

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-08-18 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver
Maybe your problem is  that you think ads are the only thing that is important, while ignoring the GOTV effort Obama is putting forth (and that doesn't get a lot of press). That will have more impact than any ad.
Republicans are unmotivated and uninspired, which shows in McCain's weak fundraising.
by skohayes 2008-08-18 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

It's "supposed" you puma douchebag.

by lojasmo 2008-08-18 03:20PM | 0 recs
Does Michele Obama ever smiles? She looks

pissed off and sporting a scowl most of the time...

by suzieg 2008-08-19 01:14AM | 0 recs
Amen

With no disrespect to Hillary Clinont, Michelle Obama may be the best speaker we've ever had as First Lady. She's not as grounded in policy as Hillary and certainly won't play a big part in the administration's policy decisions (like Hillary), but she's a terific speaker.

I heard she was amazing in Delaware last Spring....

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-18 11:55AM | 0 recs
Hmm....

If the VP pick were someone obscure, perhaps Obama would be making him or her known now to allow them to seep into the electorate's consciousness, as opposed to someone like Hillary who is ready to go and could ostensibly be announced as the VP pick at the convention.

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-08-18 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Hmm....

That's a good point.

by mikeinsf 2008-08-18 02:50PM | 0 recs
you're starting to look like a contortionist

Are we already at the place where we have to say that everything is good news for Obama?  This is starting to sound like double-inverted spinning.

He needs to get the running-mate thing right--and it CANNOT be Bayh, Biden or Kaine.  He needs to pull something big out of the hat and it better be wearing a pantsuit.

by Thaddeus 2008-08-18 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

Actually Biden is a great pick. He's smart as a whip and tough and doesn't come with the baggage of some other possibilities. And besides his depth of knowledge in foreign affairs, he's the major leader in Congress in policy to combat violence against women.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

Biden for Secretary of State.

We all come with baggage.

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-08-18 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

Some come with a whole lot more than others.  Biden doesn't start out with a sizable percentage of independents unwilling to vote for him.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

Independents will be voting for Obama not against Clinton.

I'm tired of this lie (yeah, it is) lie.

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-08-18 12:34PM | 0 recs
Unless you have data to disprove it

No, it's not. So how about a little less attitude and a little more facts?

by BrighidG 2008-08-18 03:37PM | 0 recs
I've only seen one poll

with Obama/Clinton, and it did actually help him against McCain/Romney (the only GOP pair polled against Obama/Clinton).

It was FOX so if you think evil permeates their polling operation as well as their news coverage you may not believe it.

http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/0619 08_release_web.pdf

by JJE 2008-08-18 04:49PM | 0 recs
Huh?

Biden is knowledgeable about int'l relations but I doubt very much that he is seen as especially smart by his colleagues in Congress.  He is a blowbag and publicity hound and he has considerable baggage.  Besides two incredibly poor presidential campaigns, Biden has been in the pocket of the credit card companies for years.  He is not a very original thinker and he has no almost no working experience outside the privileged position of the U.S. senate, as he's been there for over thirty years!  

He in NO way represents change nor would he add anything to the ticket except the appearance of foreign policy experience which would only underline the perception of inexperience on Obama's part.  

He would add nothing in terms of bringing another state to the Dem column.  I really think Biden is the WORST choice of the ten or so names that have been floated.

by Thaddeus 2008-08-18 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Huh?

Now, that's just silly. Biden is widely recognized on the Hill as being very, very smart. And my dear friend who was at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa, the one where the pundits starting saying Obama could win the state -- She said that Biden was just amazing - so smart, so together.

And Biden has done more than you think and more good things than you know about. For instance, he is the person most responsible for the Violence Against Women Act and other related legislation.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:42PM | 0 recs
Silly?

Sticks and stones, my friend, but the evidence is on my side.
Biden was viewed as a total lightweight and overweening up to and through his abortive presidential run in 1988 when he had to plagiarize a speech early in his campaign.  I suggest that he was viewed widely as a narcissistic
lightweight through his hair plug period (which was strangely very long).  It's difficult not to gain some "gravitas" over a thirty plus year career in the senate, but given that length of service he has never been viewed broadly as a particularly impressive senator.

For evidence, for Christ's sake, just look at his presidential campaign of 2008.  How many of his supposedly impressed colleagues endorsed him?  Damn few.  He was unable to gain support or raise monry.  Pretty pathetic for a supposedly impressive senator with loads of seniority.

Furthermore, if you have worked on the Hill, or simply know many members of Congress, you know what they think about someone who is in love with Snday morning air time.  Hint: they are not that impressed.  

by Thaddeus 2008-08-18 07:45PM | 0 recs
So great in Iowa?

How did he do in the caucuses?

by Thaddeus 2008-08-18 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Huh?

"but I doubt very much that he is seen as especially smart by his colleagues in Congress"

Uhhh. Wrong. And I work on the hill...

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-18 12:44PM | 0 recs
LOL

You work on the Hill.  Well, that's pretty darn definitive.

I think one's impression of Biden is a pretty valid indicator of political savvy.  I also worked on the Hill but that's not requisite experience for evaluating a blowbag.  Off the cuff, Biden is an absolute disaster (see Youtube video linked on this page).  Why?  Because he's not smart enough to know when he's stepping in shit--much like John Kerry.  Worse, he gets carried away by his own voice and his own shtick.  Understandable in a rookie, but after thirty years in the Senate?  That's just a sign of limited ability.

He's also not smart enough to organize a national campaign.  He has run for president twice, with laughable results.  As I mentioned above, despite the supposed respect of his colleagues he had zero traction in 2008.  Can you recall which of his colleagues endorsed him?  It's worth looking up.

He went nowhere because he can't be taken seriously as a potential president.  He is nowledgeable about international relations but only from the privileged viewpoint of a lifetime senator.

by Thaddeus 2008-08-18 07:56PM | 0 recs
Obama needs an attack dog

for a VP against McCain.  That's just the reality.  The Republicans are going to be VICIOUS.  IMO, the best attack dog out there is indeed Biden.

Obama is change enough.  People want to be assurred about Obama.  Obama choosing an unknown IMO would be even MORE of a disaster.

Picking the FIRST African-American president is going to be tough enough.  As a result, his VP choice needs to be someone who makes people feel comfortable.  

Biden, shockingly, has not said a peep for many weeks.  That says to me that he IS able to keep his mouth shut when he has to.

by puma 2008-08-18 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

What do you think of Clark?  Given the renewed interest in NATO and all things steel-plated, he could be a good balance to Obama's background.  But I don't see too much talk of him around here.  Any thoughts?

by the mollusk 2008-08-18 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

With all due respect, the notion that Senator Biden has no baggage is inaccurate.  And I say this with great admiration fr the work he does.  He's a good Senator.

But this wasn't all that long ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM19YOqs7 hU

And let's not forget what sunk his own presidential campaign in '88.

by erodriguez 2008-08-18 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

That's pretty tame stuff to virtually everyone.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: you're starting to look like a contortionist

No. Critical criticism is good. On the flipside, do you have anything positive to say?

by mikeinsf 2008-08-18 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

McCain is definitely blowing it on expectations.  All Obama has to do in the convention speech is to lay on the policy details -- and to directly confront the celebrity charge by saying that Republicans want people to focus on false nonsense -- and that line of attack is dead as a doornail.

And with the claim that Obama can't speak without a teleprompter, McCain is building up himself for the debates -- exactly the opposite one should do pre-debates.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 12:21PM | 0 recs
Exactly. Now everybody thinks that

Obama isn't going to do well in the debates so his expectation will be VERY LOW for his debate performance.

This is all good for Obama.

by puma 2008-08-18 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Exactly. Now everybody thinks that

This is good for Clinton!!!

http://sensico.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/ hundreds-show-up-2-the-puma-conference-p ictures/

by nogo postal 2008-08-18 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Exactly. Now everybody thinks that

Over at Alegre's, they're trying to convince pollsters to spend their money asking people about a McCain-Clinton match-up, which if those firms did, would make them look very silly. Oh, and they still are trying to get folks to call delegates to get them to switch. Maybe they should ask Hillary Clinton not to vote for Obama - as she's already announced she'll do.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Exactly. Now everybody thinks that

"Over at Alegre's, they're trying to convince pollsters to spend their money asking people about a McCain-Clinton match-up.."

And, the other part of the hour, they spend hitting their toes with hammers!

At least, with that, there WILL be some real results to show for all the pain....

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-18 02:03PM | 0 recs
Delaying the VP choice pick

is actually a good idea.  That's all everybody will be talking about this week.

Who is Obama going to pick for his VP?

I expect Obama to roll out his VP pick on Friday with his VP pick going on Meet the Press on Sunday (I expect to see Biden or Bayh there).

Then the convention is on Monday.

by puma 2008-08-18 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

For just a hint of part of what is planned..
outside our Party...
If ya click this..
diary from last week..
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/8/14/2113 26/668#readmore
that sunk with no comments...
but a little information.. on
part of the Questions for America and our Party
events are listed...

By the way..political activity will be starting
this Friday...

by nogo postal 2008-08-18 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver
Oh yeah...
Stevie Wonder will be a part of the crowd warm-up
at Invesco...
by nogo postal 2008-08-18 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

I think the rope-a-dope low expectations game helped GW Bush tremendously in 2000.  It was impossible not to view the guy as an idiot back in those days.  But the thing is, he always can in with his game face on and exceeded those artificially low expectations.  I don't know if the Obama campaign is trying to do the same thing this year, but there certainly is some precedent for its working.  

Also, regarding the current angst over polling and what not - this race was always going to be close.  Obama was always going to have trouble in OH.  Virginia was always a distant reach.  The election was always going to come down to IA, CO, NH, NM.  So the polls really shouldn't surprise anyone now.

by the mollusk 2008-08-18 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

At risk of sounding like a fanboy, I love listening to Michelle speak.  I was enamored of her while I was an Edwards supporter, and her speeches on her husband's behalf helped make the transition easier once I had to go into the Undecided camp back in January.

by Dreorg 2008-08-18 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

Michelle is great. And here's another case of Republicans mismanaging expectations. She just won't sound like they made her out to be.

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

That's assuming she can keep all of her rabid America-hating to herself.

This is snark

by the mollusk 2008-08-18 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

I'm expecting her to show up dressed as a cross between Angela Davis and Foxy Brown, carrying a Mach-10, delivering a screed about Whitey, all while having Ludicrous and Fifty-Cent backing her up with Ryhmes...

Of course, I heard that one Alegre's site, so maybe I should be skeptical because of the source?

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-18 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver
I'm expecting her to show up dressed as a cross between Angela Davis and Foxy Brown,

For the record, I would have no problem with that.
by vcalzone 2008-08-18 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

BTW, did you see that Texas Darlin' got so bad that Flowbee himself decided he couldn't abide her?

16 August - BEEEP goes the bus as Larry Johnson throws "TexasDarlin" under the bus, removing her blog from his links, stating "I had it removed because of a personality clash. I wish her well but don't need the additional baggage she brings. I don't have time for drama queens but I do respect her work. I find her too high maintenance."
http://www.yestodemocracy.com/yes_to_dem ocracy_no_to_pu/2008/08/flogging-the-de. html#more

by politicsmatters 2008-08-18 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

DAMN... I didn't see that. That's harsh.

by vcalzone 2008-08-18 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

I don't know what's more amusing- Johnson's ridiculous sexism (after whining about the media's sexism and Clinton) toward her, the fact that even he can see Texaxdarlin is totally batshit crazy, or the fact that Jerome & co. apparently thought she was worth unbanning after her series of racist diaries here.

by Whash 2008-08-18 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

1) Johnson's ridiculous sexism (after whining about the media's sexism and Clinton) toward her: unamusing

2) the fact that even he can see Texaxdarlin is totally batshit crazy: amusing

3) or the fact that Jerome & co. apparently thought she was worth unbanning after her series of racist diaries here. mystifying

And, after going to Alegre's Cavern recently, I'm also unamused and mystified by all those "forgive us/come back Alegre" diaries.  I know that's ancient history, but, Hell, that was some weird shit.

by mikeinsf 2008-08-18 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

I was someone who emailed in and called to unban her. At the time, I thought some of those people were annoying, but still rational, reasonable people. I regret standing up for her now.

by vcalzone 2008-08-18 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

Just a sign of impending doom for those folks.

When they start infighting and sniping at each other, the end is surely near.

I have to say, just for the raw pleasure of watching them try to convince their brain-dead followers to stay for McCain, I hope Hillary gets the VP nod.

Should be fun times as Larry has to convince people Romney is a better VP then Hillary!

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-18 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

I want to go to Denver more than anything! My boss said she'd try to make it happen but I don't think it's going to happen at this point. :(

by democrattotheend 2008-08-18 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: 7 Days To Denver

When you think about how massively McCain is outspending Obama in advertising his increase in the polls of late isn't that surprising. I know it's hard not to get worried that we'll lose but poll numbers know do not really count for much.

I do not think the "Celebrity" thing will stick on Obama permanently. Americans freaking love celebrities and popularity and they love celebrity politicians. I think McCain's numbers are peaking and yes, the Democratic Party is still not unified.
I think this Convention will be great, inspiring and hopefully healing.

If McCain wins it'll go against all historical precedent. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but ... I don't think it will. The Saddleback performance was strong for McCain BUT he sounded just like Bush. His ideologies are not what America wants right now. Yes, Obama does need to do a better job pointing this out.

But people overlook McCain's flaws. He has no vision for where he wants to take the country. He is only animated when he talks about war or conflict. He is not knowledgeable on the economy. He is freaking old.

by Lolis 2008-08-18 03:12PM | 0 recs
"she really blew the place away"

Well, I saw a youtube video of one of her speeches, and I had the impression that she's much too aggressive. You may call that enthusiasm, but I was left with the feeling that this woman is driven by anger. Definitely not the kind of person I would like to have a cup of coffee with.

Hmm, are there any polls showing how Michelle is seen by the public?

by Gray 2008-08-19 03:30AM | 0 recs
Rasmussen poll on Michelle
Looks like I'm not alone. However, this poll doesn't give any reason why others don't like her:
http://rasmussenreports.com/public_conte nt/politics/election_20082/pt_survey_top lines/june_2008/toplines_candidates_wive s_june_9_2008
by Gray 2008-08-19 03:37AM | 0 recs

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