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RUSH: Okay. Now I see the staff has left their posts in there. Yeah, here comes the open door and the giant cake and balloons and staff trooping in here. You can see ’em passing on the Dittocam. All right. I’ll make room for the cake. Gonna put the cake right there. Starting our 30th year today at the EIB Network.

You know, I started my broadcast career in August of 1968… well, it’s 50 years today. I actually started radio at age 16. So 50 years total, starting year 30 for the EIB Network. And what a gorgeous cake. I hope it’s the kind I like. White trash cake. That’s affectionately named, by the way.

Okay. So there’s only four candles on it. That signifies what? Four-stars. So, okay, make a wish that a new beta release comes today. (interruption) Tricked me. A trick candle! Thank you very much. Yes, my friends, it’s no longer even worth asking them not to do it. They’re going to do it anyway. I’ve had to work on learning to receive, learning to accept. It’s one of these things that I’ve never been good at. Surprisingly, many people may be shocked at this; I don’t like being the center of attention, particularly birthdays, anniversaries, and so forth. It just makes me a little nervous. But I’m trying to work at it and get better.

Greetings. Great to have you all here; 800-282-2882, if you want to call and be on the program. Send an email, it’s ElRushbo@eibnet.us.

Now, on anniversaries Cookie goes back to the Grooveyard of Forgotten Sound Bites and tries to pull some things from previous programs that we can highlight and demonstrate to people who are new. Things that happened in the past on the program. She tried to make them different each year, and with 30 years, 29 years to choose from, she’s come up with some new things.

We’re not gonna spend a lot of time on this, but I thought, you know, rather than shelve this for the third hour, somebody made a comment to me some time ago that made sense when I said I didn’t want any kind of blowout or party or recognition. They said, “You’ve gotta mark the anniversary. If you don’t, it may as well not have happened. Don’t be embarrassed about it. These are accomplishments, achievements, these are timelines. You’ve gotta mark it, if not for you, for other people.”

So rather than move these highlights from previous programs to the third hour, I’m gonna start into them now, because the news of the day is what it is, and we always get to it. Nothing ever gets short-changed here, depending on how we choose to start. So what Cookie did, the first bite here is somewhat unique. She came to the conclusion that one of the ways, one of the techniques that I have employed over the years is to paint pictures.

Radio has no TV, obviously, no screens, so the host paints the picture; the audience envisions the picture in their own mind. That’s why radio, by the way, can be the most intimate of all media. Done right, radio can have much more intimacy and much more impact than television, because it’ll all be active participation rather than passive. You don’t have it on in the background, like TV can be on in the background, you’re doing something else, you watch it, something catches your attention, you go back to it.

But a good radio program commands your attention from start to finish, such as this one. She said, “The way you have tried to tell people who you’re talking about by comparing them to other people,” she said, “I noticed this.” So she’s put together a little montage here of two and a half minutes of how I employ this technique.

RUSH ARCHIVE: Have you ever, by the way, heard of a better name for a CEO of an oil company, Rex Tillerson? And he looks like a Rex Tillerson. John Kerry looks like Lurch from the Addams Family. The Pajama Boy, Ossoff. My security guy Joseph Stalin. That Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. He looks like Alfred E. Neuman with a hundred more pounds. If I occasionally slip up and call Scaramucci “Tom Hagen,” it’s on purpose. Chris Cuomo, the Fredo of the Cuomo family.

This Jim Acosta guy, this guy reminds me of, have you ever had a cat, pet cat, and get one of these red laser pointers? The ferret-like Paul Krugman. Norah O’Donnell, her bathwater can’t possibly stink. John Edwards, the Breck Girl. Susan Hoerchner, it literally looked like they dragged this woman out of a casket. Chatsworth Osborne Jr. this would be Tucker Carlson. That is a pretty good comparison, Tom Daschle to Eddie Haskell. I saw Ichabod Crane on TV this morning, Austan Goolsbee. You know, one bald guy looks like every other bald guy to me.

Algore, the guy’s starting to look more and more look Rodney Dangerfield. It’s uncanny!

Rod “Blago” Blagojevich, who looks like a Cabbage Patch doll. Andrew Napolitano, the adult Eddie Munster. Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam’s henchmen, looks like Felix the Cat. Kuchar is a great guy, got Joker-like cheekbones.

Neil Gorsuch, the man really is coming across as Jimmy Stewart. Martin Savidge, CNN lifer. He looks just like the Ken doll. John Roberts, cookie-cutter anchor. James Carville, Serpent Head. Dana Perino, she’s got this piano teacher look in her eyes, waiting for a mistake. Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz, she’s doing something to her hair. Looks like mayonnaise.

Wolf Blitzer, who, if it weren’t for his varicose veins, would be totally colorless. Saxby Chambliss, if it weren’t for his varicose veins, this would be a totally colorless guy. David “Rodham” Gergen, if it weren’t for his varicose veins, he’d be a totally colorless guy. Leslie Gelb if it weren’t for his varicose veins, this guy’d be a totally colorless guy. Ken Starr, if it weren’t for his varicose veins, he would be totally colorless, folks.

I’m sitting here watching Hillary. Is it just me, or is she starting to look more and more like Mao Tse-tung? Hillary Clinton as Nurse Ratched, the nurse, the evil, bullying, mean-spirited nurse from the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Sounds like your ex-wife screaming at you.

RUSH: Second ex-wife screaming at you. So this is some examples. Obviously I’m gonna have to change up this varicose veins line, like maybe refer to it as an aerial display of varicose veins or some such thing.

Okay. Next up, not many more of these, folks. Just some. This goes back to 1993, November 5th. ABC News, 20/20 with Barbara Walters. She doesn’t know who I am. She is trying to figure out who I am. And they’re still trying to figure out who I am, people in the Drive-By Media. For 29 years they’ve been trying to figure it out, and alternately they have the various explanations for it. One day an entertainer, the next day the titular head of the Republican Party. The next day the guy scaring Republicans in Washington into following my lead.

But, you know, they’re no closer now than they were then because they simply don’t understand conservatism. And they probably don’t spend much time actually listening to the program. But back on November 5th of 1993, which is Bill Clinton’s first year in office, Barbara Walters did a profile of me for 20/20, and it was called, “Who is Rush Limbaugh?”

WALTERS: Will you tell us what it is that you basically believe?

RUSH: I’m mainstream conservative. I don’t consider myself right wing, although I have, as I look at the newspaper accounts of my goings and comings, I see that I have come up with a third name, ultra-conservative Rush Limbaugh.

WALTERS: Do you mind?

RUSH: No, I think it’s part of the territory. I think what I do is shine the light of truth on things. And then the reaction is, “Well, let’s label this guy something that will discredit him. Let’s call him a bigot. Let’s call him a racist. Let’s call him ultra-this or ultra-that.”

WALTERS: Do you care? I mean, does it hurt?

RUSH: I look at myself as a harmless, lovable little fuzzball and so now —

WALTERS: (laughing) No kidding.

RUSH: Yeah. I’m just touchy-feely. I’m not a threat to anybody.

WALTERS: Come sit on my lap.

RUSH: I would, I would love to. I’ve wanted to for the longest time.

RUSH: Sitting in Barbara Walters’ lap. It continued November 5th, 1993, coanchor Barbara Walters, another portion of the feature “Who is Rush Limbaugh?”

WALTERS: His talk radio competitor, Larry King, has said Limbaugh is a zealot who’s made a career out of bashing people. Nightline’s Ted Koppel, who’s had Limbaugh as a guest, views him differently.

KOPPEL: He’s extremely articulate. Rush Limbaugh is… I guess to the left, he is sort of like an aching tooth — they can’t stand him, but they can’t leave him alone — and to the right, he’s like cotton candy: They just keep gobbling him up.

WALTERS: What influence do you think you have? Can you make people a vote a particular way? Can you really change their views?

RUSH: I can. I can. I think I’m validating. I think I am ratifying what people already think and I think they’re happy because I’m one of them. Also, I have fun. I combine, I think, two things that are not found anywhere else in the media — television, radio, newspaper. I combine irreverence — a sense of humor — with a serious, credible discussion of consequential issues, and there is no one else who’s doing that left or right.

RUSH: One more bite from this show, November 5th, 1993. We haven’t used these bites before, which is one of the reasons I like this. We have not. In all of these anniversary shows, we’ve not gone back. These bites I haven’t heard since they happened. In fact, I don’t even know why the quality is poor. The quality sounds like we got these over the phone. Anybody know why this is so…? It sounds like someone phoned these things in, sounds like telephone quality. It’s 1993. This next one… It’s kind of similar to what they’ve been doing with Trump for the last two years.

They can’t understand the appeal. They’ve never understood the appeal. They can’t fathom why Trump works. They’ve never been able to fathom where this program works, and they don’t get the joke when the joke’s about them. You cannot joke about the left. They don’t get it, they have no sense of humor. And they don’t understand the bond with the audience. They don’t understand that about Trump. They still don’t and you can see by how they’re trying to break that bond. They don’t have any idea how to do it and the same thing here.

Here’s another example, Barbara Walters’s profile, “Who is Rush Limbaugh?” ABC’s 20/20 in 1993…


WALTERS: Rush, you want to ever be in politics?

RUSH: No. Sitting here today, telling you this, I have no desire to go into politics.

WALTERS: You’d be very effective that way.

RUSH: I can’t see doing the basic thing one has to do in politics.

WALTERS: Which is?

RUSH: Pshew! (lays out his hand) Put your hand out and ask people to put something in it: Money.


RUSH: When money is in your hand, people want a payback, and it’s never with money. And it just… It’s “say good-bye to independence.” It’s “say good-bye to who you are.”

WALTERS: With all the stuff that’s written about you and all of the stuff that you say people make up and so on, what’s the biggest misconception?

RUSH: They can’t discredit my views, Barbara. They can’t discredit my discovery of the truth because it’s not based on anything phony.

WALTERS: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: But, boy, if they can label me as some kind of oddball, something with a childhood where my father beat me or I’m still on a mission to prove my father wrong and all this —

WALTERS: Uh-huh.

RUSH: I am a threat to a specific group of people in this country known as liberals. I don’t want to be a threat; I don’t think they should feel threatened. If they do, it must be because I’m saying things… It’s only the truth that hurts, Barbara. It’s only the truth.

WALTERS: Say something lovable and modest, please.

RUSH: (laughing)

WALTERS: (chuckles) Please say something modest.

RUSH: I have for about an hour.

WALTERS: (laughing)

RUSH: Modest about why my show is a success?

WALTERS: About anything! (chuckling)

RUSH: I can credit it to the good taste and refinement of the American people.


RUSH: See that? “Say something nice. Can you say something nice? Can you please just say something modest about yourself? Why can’t you?” It’s like there’s always this thought of bombastic, mean-spirited extremism. But privately, I mean, you could tell she liked me. I’ve been in her top 10 list at the end of the year I think three different times — Top Ten Most Fascinating People. There’s no animosity between me and Barbara Walters. I should tell you about a dinner party that she and Liz Smith hosted one Christmas that Roger Ailes and I attended, and…

(laughing) Ahhh! I ended up singing a homeless aria as my Christmas tune. They ran around the group and they wanted everybody to sing a Christmas carol, lead the group. By the time they got to me, all the Christmas carols I knew had been sung. So I sang Ain’t Got No Home as Placido Domingo, and you should have seen Liz Smith and Barbara Walters. They wanted to grab the hook, get me out of there, because I was (laughing) embarrassing them and their friends.

That was about the time I figured out that when I was being invited all these things, I was the circus act. “Hey, here’s this new oddball curiosity in town, this conservative! Let’s have him over here and see if he can entertain us.” Now we move on. David Brinkley. This was my first appearance on This Week with David Brinkley. It aired December 26, 1993. I also got on well with him. I loved David Brinkley. I loved watching his show and it was an honor to be on it. He said, “You obviously enjoy very much kicking liberals around and a great number of people enjoy you doing it. When did you find out it was so much fun to do that?”


RUSH: Anybody can tell you what you think. But if you can illustrate what you think then you have a better chance of persuading people, and I’ve just chosen to illustrate absurdity — which I consider much of liberalism to be — with absurdity. There aren’t many people that make jokes with liberals. They’re afraid to.

BRINKLEY: Why are they afraid?

RUSH: I think liberals have for so long had a corner on their issues. They don’t even consider themselves ideological. They just consider themselves right. Conservatives are ideologues and wrong and liberals are right — and if you attack that, you’re attacking sacred cows.

BRINKLEY: You were a radio announcer. Suddenly you discovered liberals, began attacking them. What, um —

RUSH: (laughing) Back to that. See?

BRINKLEY: No, not back to that. I never left it. But why has talk radio — which you represent more than any other one person, the success of it. Why is it become such a factor in this country?

RUSH: ‘Cause I think that there are more and more people who want to know information from alternative sources than what have become known as the dominant media. See, the liberals think that I’m creating this little army of mind-numbed robots out there, David, that are just carrying out my marching orders. That’s not at all what’s happening. There’s an entire segment of our population which saw that the things it believes in are routinely the insulted or laughed at or made fun of in all other areas of the media. Not just news, but books and television shows, movies and so forth. And here I come and I stand up for what these people believe, and they’re just happy about that.


RUSH: And that’s been the case since day one. Do we have time to squeeze…? Ah, da-da-da-da. We got two more of these. Let me take a break here so I can get both of them in on the other side. We’ll be back. Let me see if it’s just… Yeah, just two more of these, and we’ll wrap the anniversary stuff and get on to rest of the program.


RUSH: Starting our 30th year here at the Excellence in Broadcasting Network, behind the Golden EIB Microphone. I just checked the email, and there was an email from a guy who said, “You sound like you’re hurrying through this stuff, like you want to get past it. You should do more of this. This is great stuff. The news is the news and it’s the news every day. But this stuff from the archives; we haven’t heard this.” Another email: “You sound the same. If this is anything, it’s a testament to how consistent you are.”

So I appreciate all the nice words that people have shared with me. The email is overflowing today — and, as always, I’m not gonna be able to thank people individually. One more with Brinkley. I remember this moment when he asked me this. By the way, Mr. Snerdley said, “It’s so great to hear David Brinkley’s voice.” This is back when Sunday shows were the Sunday shows. I think the only link to the Sunday shows being the Sunday shows is Chris Wallace on Fox today. But Brinkley said, “How do you regard yourself?

“Are you a newsman? Are you a philosopher? What are you?” I’ll never forget, he asked me this question and he said, “‘Cause I don’t know we’ve ever had anyone like you before.” And I’ll tell you, when he said that, I was swelling with pride. But I had… I couldn’t betray that. I had to answer the question ’cause I’m on there as a guest. Do I have time to squeeze…? Here is, I think… There’s no time. It’s 51 seconds. We got time. Here’s my answer to, “I don’t know we’ve ever had anyone like you before.”


RUSH: I’ll tell you very simply what I do — and one of the reasons that people have so much trouble dissecting me and categorizing me is that I combine two elements that most people don’t combine and are very rarely found anywhere in the media. And that is a serious, heartfelt analysis and discussion of issues and ideas every day, combined with an almost irreverent sense of humor. It is thought by some serious journalists that once you start cracking jokes that you’ve disqualified your credibility on the serious side. And since my jokes and since my humor are all aimed at my serious side too — making the same points in just a different way — I think that’s where people have trouble categorizing. Is he an entertainer or is he a provocateur? Is he a philosopher or commentator?

BRINKLEY: You also have another description of yourself and then we have to go. You call yourself “a harmless, lovable, little fuzzball.” (hearty chuckling)

RUSH: That’s right. (laughing) That’s right.


RUSH: And I still do. That’s in reaction and response to all of the paranoid schizophrenia about me being all these horrible, rotten things that every conservative happens to be accused of being — and I’m not.


RUSH: Now, this next and last bite that has connections to the anniversary program today, you’ve heard this, we’ve played this one before. December 10th, 1994, in Baltimore, Heritage Foundation congressional freshman orientation at Camden Yards. I was named an honorary member of the freshman class of 1994. There were 50 of them, 52, maybe.

They considered me to have been a giant factor in their election. And it’s interesting to note that Joe Scarborough was one of them, for example, in 1994. This was the Newt Gingrich freshman class when he became speaker. And it’s interesting to note that of these 50 freshmen, the vast majority of them were gone after six years. They left in frustration.

They were common, ordinary, everyday citizens and businessmen who had decided to run for Congress, they claimed, because of the influence of this program. And they got there and got so frustrated at the inability to do anything as freshmen or even second year because what happens, you arrive, and the leadership immediately takes you under their wing and says, “You like it here? You want to stay here?”


“Well, vote with the leadership, and we’ll see to it you have ample reelection funds and support.” It happens in both parties. I remember Dick Chrysler was one of the freshmen. I remember talking to him a number of times after he was sworn in, and each time I talked to him he was less and less enthusiastic simply because they had run up against an impenetrable wall. Even though it was the first time Republicans had won and run the House in 40 years, it was still going to be run in the traditional same old ways.

And even though there was a conservative push in it, they balanced the budget — John Kasich. I don’t know if he was a member of the freshman class or maybe first or second term here, but a lot of them didn’t last very long because they simply got frustrated. But, anyway, they asked me to show up and deliver a speech, Heritage Foundation did, and this is a portion of it that rings true even today.


RUSH: The first thing I would like to tell you, you’re coming into the beltway, Inside the Beltway, and as we’re all human beings, and we all are susceptible to human nature, and we all want to be liked; we all want to be loved; and you all want to live in surroundings which are not hostile. But Inside the Beltway for people like us this is not possible. And so sometimes to avoid the hostility, we say things and then begin do things designed to gain the approval of those who are hostile toward us.

I want to warn you against it. I want to warn you: you will never ever be their friends. They don’t want to be your friends. Some female reporter will come up to one of you and start batting her eyes and ask you to go to lunch. And you’ll think, “Wow, I’m only a freshman. Cokie Roberts wants to take me to lunch. I’ve really made it.” (laughter) Don’t — seriously — don’t fall for this. This is not the time to get moderate. This is not the time to start trying to be liked. This is not the time to start gaining the approval (applause starts) of the people you’ve just defeated. (applause and cheers)


RUSH: I could say the same thing today. I could say the exact same thing. The same piece of advice would hold true today. That class of 1994, even though they were very frustrated, that whole Republican caucus was amazingly effective for four years. They balanced the budget, they did a number of things. They steered the Clinton administration away from the direction that it normally would have taken. You know, Clinton saying the era of big government is over, and in 1996 signing welfare reform in order to get reelected. They were profoundly effective.

But the 1995 budget deal is when it all began to turn the other way, and that’s when the Republicans were accused, because they were cutting the budget, they were trying to cut the budget. Back then, conservatism literally meant smaller government, more efficient government, and there was still a tremendous unity in conservatism for that principle. That’s gone today too.

The whole idea of limited government, smaller government, as an identifying characteristic of conservatism no longer exists. And it’s been replaced by a number of intellectual conservatives who now think that the American people have spoken. They want a big government. So what we need to do as conservatives is tell them that we would be happy to run a big government for them. We’ll just do it smart smarter. We’ll just do it better. We’ll have a very intelligent executive. That’s what conservatives call the president. A very active executive who cares and has requisite compassion. We’ll steer this big state and we’ll administer it much smarter. And that has been I guess the evolved position on small government, limited government in conservatism.

You know, I think back when this program started. The program actually began on July 4th in 1988, but it was New York local only for a month until the national program, the EIB Network, kicked off. That’s why I call August 1st the anniversary date because that’s the date of the national program. And the things that I had to do in order to have this program go national are things no longer required. And do not anybody misunderstand. I’m not complaining about anything.

I have an overall, an overarching point, in fact, about all this. But when I started this program at WABC in New York, I had to do two hours every day without compensation, without direct compensation. So I think it was 10 a.m. to noon, a local show in New York, and then I changed studios, and the next two hours were the national show until they added a third hour sometime later. The reason I had to do that was we started with 56 stations, that’s not enough stations for national advertisers to care, and we weren’t on the air in New York.

WABC, “Are you kidding? You think we’re gonna carry your national show? Radio is local, local, local. We don’t care what people from Oshkosh think if you take calls from there.” And I faced, for a year and a half, derision and criticism and mockery and all that for what I was trying to do. And the way we did it, the reason I had to do that New York show is because that’s where we were given three minutes an hour to sell national advertising.

So we were able to tell advertisers their commercials would be heard in New York City, because if you couldn’t do that back then, you couldn’t have a nationally syndicated program. So it wasn’t actually true I wasn’t compensated; I did those two hours in exchange for six national advertising slots that WABC graciously provided us. Effectively the advertisers didn’t care, they were running in New York, that was fine with them. And that’s what it took. And that was for two years, I think, maybe a year and a half, two years before we were able to convince WABC to carry the national program and then expand it to a third hour.

Today, nothing like that is necessary at all. But this had never worked back then. There had been nationally syndicated daytime programs, but they had never accrued more than 55 or 60 radio stations. Syndication and radio, national syndication was only successful midnight to six when there were no ratings and when nobody was up. There were some nighttime shows, there was Bruce Williams and Sally Jessy Raphael, Jurassic Park herself, and they had nighttime programs and they had a decent number of affiliates, but they were at nighttime when audiences then were much smaller than during the daytime.

So succeeding in daytime syndication had never happened and therefore nobody in radio thought it would work. When I say I was teased and mocked, it was not what I was trying to do. It was East Coast, New York City, you kidding? It was that kind of teasing. It was not personal. And the thing is, it took off. It grew like nothing ever had because of the content. So for the first time it worked, when not a single expert in radio thought it would. And people said, “Well, why did you try it, then, if none of the experts thought it would work?”

I said, “It was an opportunity. I was given an opportunity by a guy named Ed McLaughlin to do it, to host it, and I wanted to give it a shot.” I said, “What can happen if it doesn’t work? I’m not gonna be the only failure, won’t be the first failure. I’ll just join the long line of failures, but in the process I’ll have given myself probably a better chance to continue to stay employed in bigger markets.” So I figured it was a no-lose situation, and then the upside was just over the top with possibility, which turned out to be the way it happened.

But I’ll tell you, folks, I’m constantly, I’m conscious, I’m aware each and every day of things, my life circumstances, in business, personal, professional. I think back to how naive I was in 1988 and in the years prior. I had no idea, for example — I purposefully quit college because I hated school. And the last straw was being forced to take a PE course called ballroom dance, and all I wanted to do was focus on radio. And here I was told if you go to college, you’re on your own, go to class, don’t go to class, it’s totally up to you. And it wasn’t up to me. They took roll every day, worse than it was in high school.

And I just grew more and more discontent with it because I thought I’m wasting time. I’m just pedaling and getting nowhere here and I wanted to get out of this prison which was school and get started on what I had wanted to do since I was eight years old. And I really believed that there was in America a level playing field. I really believed that just because I quit college, it wouldn’t matter if I could overcome all that with demonstrable talent, success, what have you. And so that carried me through. If I had known what I know now 30 years ago, I honestly can’t say I would have tried this.

If I had known about the East Coast parochial bias — not just in media, but in life — if I had known about all of the obstacles that were there… It was good that I didn’t. It was. It actually was very fortuitous for me that I was unaware of all of the obstacles I was encountering, and it was my naivete that was the reason why I didn’t know they were there. I had grown up believing that anybody in America could do anything if they set their mind to it, that that was one of the great things about America.

I still believe that’s true, by the way; don’t misunderstand. But there are so many things that I did not know. I didn’t know about the establishment, and I didn’t know who was in it, and I didn’t know how it operated, and I didn’t know how it was populated. I didn’t know anything about it, and I didn’t know its reach. I didn’t understand. I was so na?ve; I didn’t understand how puff pieces in the media happen. For example, if I’m reading Parade magazine and I see a puff piece on somebody?

I naively thought it was because wow, they must be doing something interesting that somebody’s noticed. I had no idea that there were PR agents pitching these things and journalists were basically just reacting to whatever stimulation they were getting. In other words, all these puff pieces and all these great pieces that people were having written about them had nothing to do with who they were. It had everything to do with press agents and things I had never encountered, never experienced.

So I believed that everything that I was gonna get had to be acquired by virtue of accomplishment, not PR and buzz.

(chuckling) I’m actually thankful for that, because that led to this actually being a legitimate number one rather than a program that’s out there that the media or others say is number one but really isn’t. And it was this incessant belief that I had to demonstrate it — that I had to genuinely, legitimately accomplish it — that drove me to do so. I have learned that there are so many people who are portrayed as having done that, who haven’t. No bitterness. It’s just how naive I was about how the world works. Not just in this business, but in any number of them.

I’m still naive in a lot of ways. I’m still learning at the same time.

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