EXCLUSIVE: Tea Party Founder: ‘Rush, I Love You, But You’re Dead Wrong About Marco Rubio…’

“Rush, I love you, but you’re dead wrong about Marco Rubio – he’s a sleazy snake and his electability is a myth.” ~ Keli Carender, Founder of the modern day American Tea Party movement

I love Rush Limbaugh. I’m not afraid to admit it. I am a 30-something Ditto Head. He’s one of my heroes, and always will be. Therefore, it pains me to write this, but it must be done. I can’t listen to this defense of Marco Rubio as a full-throated conservative any longer without going a little crazy. So, here it goes. Rush, I love you, but you’re wrong about Rubio’s conservatism, and wrong to think that he has a good chance to win in November.

I feel confident in predicting that millions of conservatives will not vote for Marco Rubio should he become the Republican nominee for President. There are too many conservatives that don’t trust him, and refuse to choose between the lesser of two evils yet again. And we are correct in our distrust of Marco Rubio. He is not the conservative he claims to be, and he will lose to Hillary or Bernie because a great enough number of conservatives and tea partiers will stay home rather than vote for him. It’s not just the starring role Rubio played in the Gang of Eight, though considering the transformational nature of mass amnesty, it certainly is enough to rule out ever voting for him. It’s also his lack of integrity and willingness to lie to us over and over again that will cause so many of us to vote third party, write in a name, or leave it blank in November. Seriously, at least Jeb! is honest and up front about his non-conservative opinions.

Who am I to be making this sort of prediction? I held what a lot of people refer to as the first tea party movement rally in 2009, three days before Rick Santelli’s rant. From that moment to May 2015, I was deeply involved in the tea party movement. Last year, I stepped back from the intense hours and commitments to be a full-time mom to my then almost two-year-old daughter. In those six years, I met with thousands of tea party activists and supporters, face to face, and had long, sincere conversations with probably tens of thousands of conservatives. I’ve stood in front of the Supreme Court in the ice and wind at 6 am, surrounded by deranged Planned Parenthood activists snarling and screaming for free birth control, and I’ve helped pick up trash and folding chairs after umpteen local tea party meetings in almost every state. In addition to the activism, I’ve cried, laughed, broken bread, drunk beers, and karaoke’ed with fellow tea partiers across the country.

Rubio wants to be our President. It’s worth reviewing the following thought from John Hawkins.

That’s all worth keeping in mind because Marco Rubio wants to be President and he’s promising to get tough on illegal immigration. If he’s telling the truth, he might be a decent candidate. If Rubio’s lying, it doesn’t really make much of a difference over the long haul whether you elect him or Hillary because his immigration policies would permanently cement liberals in power without securing the border or doing anything of significance to stop illegal immigration. Put another way, if Marco Rubio becomes the President of the United States, the future of our republic depends on Rubio telling the truth this time after he already lied about the same thing to people who walked over broken glass to get him elected.

If you are a person that believes the now two-year hype perpetuated by the more moderate Republicans, by the media, and by Rubio himself, that only he can unite the different factions of the party, and thus win in November, I’m here to warn you: nominate Marco Rubio at your own risk because if he’s the nominee, Hillary/Bernie wins. Period.

Here’s why.

Rubio’s History of Supporting Illegal Immigrants and Amnesty

For some reason, all anyone talks about in regard to Marco Rubio’s position on illegal immigration and amnesty is his 2010 Senate campaign promises vs. his actions as a U.S. Senator as the token conservative for the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill. We will delve into this, to be sure, but we also need to look back further to see that Rubio has been an advocate for illegal immigrants for much longer than most people realize.

In 2003, he co-sponsored a version of the DREAM Act in the Florida House of Representatives that would have given illegal immigrants in-state college tuition. As recent as January 2016, Rubio stated that he “absolutely” stands by the DREAM Act bill he co-sponsored. His excuse is that it was narrowly drafted and set particular eligibility criteria.

Sorry, but a real conservative doesn’t think it’s okay to reward lawbreakers as long as specific criteria are set about how they can cash in on those taxpayer-funded rewards. A real conservative understands that in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is unfair, unethical, rewards further lawlessness, makes a mockery of our laws, and sets us up for more intense legalization/citizenship advocacy later on – remember these comments from Democrats: “We’ve paid for them to attend school and now we’re just going to kick them out of the country?” Paying for an illegal immigrant’s college today is offered as an excuse for legalizing that person tomorrow. In that same January article, Rubio said, “We didn’t legalize anybody. That’s the issue here.” Square that with all his pro-legalization comments made at various times.

In 2006, as Speaker of the House in Florida, Rubio blocked six immigration enforcement bills from debate, and therefore from a vote. As Speaker, he had singular power to block or allow debate on legislation. He also referred to these completely common sense bills as “draconian measures.” These bills included provisions like, denying public benefits to illegal aliens, denying public jobs to illegal aliens, and a memorandum of understanding between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement to remove criminal aliens. ¡Qué horrible!

His tenure as a state legislator was tied to illegal immigrant advocacy, and it was only when he began to run for U.S. Senate against Charlie Crist that he discovered his inner border/immigration hawk. Given Rubio’s history in the Florida legislature, his work on the Gang of Eight amnesty bill in the U.S. Senate, and his current positions, it is logical to assume that either Rubio has always been on the side of the pro-legalization, pro-path to citizenship, pro-illegal immigrant activists, or that he saw their cause as a great way to achieve his political aspirations. Whichever one it is, it doesn’t speak well of his character or his conservatism.

2010 Senate run

As stated before, Rubio changed his tune when Charlie Crist announced his support for amnesty, and he saw the horrified reaction of voters to Crist’s pro-amnesty stance. He realized there was a clear path to victory if he embraced a hard anti-amnesty position. As for the claims that Rubio is tea party, yes, he rode the massive tea party wave in 2010, and yes, he ran as a tea party conservative, but that’s about the extent of his actual tea party cred. The fact is, most people that label Marco Rubio as “tea party” are not actually from the tea party.

If you ask Florida tea party activists, they will tell you that they always considered Rubio as sort of establishment in the legislature – he moved up the ladder very fast and became Speaker of the House quite quickly. This usually infers a certain amount of insider glad-handing and willingness to play ball. The difference in 2010 was that he ran against a guy – Charlie Crist who was loathed by conservatives and admittedly, by most people in the state of Florida. Crist was so unpalatable that they flocked to Rubio. Plus, and this is key, Rubio said the right things, so why not take a chance on him at that moment? He seemed sincere about his positions on illegal immigration and amnesty and people were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, which he then exploited and betrayed those very same people.

So, let’s look at exactly the types of things that he said and did about illegal immigration and amnesty during his senatorial campaign– including how he defined amnesty at the time.

On December 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm, Rubio attended an hour-long meeting with the leaders of a group called Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, a leader of the group Tea Party of Fort Lauderdale, and a local tea party activist. He looked them in the eyes and promised that he heard them; he would oppose any form of legalization, including the DREAM Act and amnesty, for anyone that was in the country illegally.

If he can look his voters in the eye and lie to them, why is it impossible to think he can lie to you, Rush? Or to the rest of America through the lens of a camera during a debate?

For the rest of this section, it’s best to read Rubio’s own words so that you can understand exactly how much of a tale he’s been weaving for conservatives. Take the time to read through the following quotes. Note how many of the arguments that he used to support his hard anti-amnesty positions are exactly the same arguments used by those of us who opposed the Gang of Eightarguments Rubio shot down in 2013.

“You can’t grant amnesty either because if you do, you will destroy any hope of having a legal immigration system that works. You will send a message that all you have to do is come into this country, stay here long enough and we will let you stay,” Rubio said at a campaign stop during that Senate race, according to the Miami Herald. During a debate, he said that an “earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty.” And he also came out against the DREAM Act. “It’s … not the right approach to that issue. In fact, it makes having a legal immigration system that works harder to accomplish,” Rubio said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. NBC News

Did you catch that? Rubio stated that an earned path to citizenship is code for amnesty. During the Gang of Eight, he strenuously argued that an earned path to citizenship was not amnesty. Note that his stance on the DREAM Act also went from co-sponsoring legislation in 2003, to opposing it outright in 2010, to his position in 2016 where he “absolutely” stands behind the 2003 legislation again. Yeah, sounds like a real consistent conservative that we can trust!

In a March 2009 interview still viewable on You Tube, Rubio again makes arguments such as amnesty would destroy our ability to enforce existing immigration laws, and it would be unfair to those who have and who want to immigrate legally. Again, arguments made by opponents to the Gang of Eight.

He was asked, “So what is your position? Are you pro-amnesty for illegal immigration?” His answer: “No, no – never have been. In fact, I’m strongly against amnesty for a number of different reasons. The first is, I always use the example of the speed limit: If you say the speed limit is 70 but you don’t ticket people until they reach 80, well then the speed limit is really 80, it’s not 70. And amnesty is the same thing. You can’t –- the most important thing we need to do is enforce our existing laws. We have existing immigration laws that are not being adequately enforced. Nothing will make it harder to enforce your existing laws [than] if you reward people who broke them. In essence if you go to people and say: “Look, well you’ve been here for so long that even though you broke the law we’re going to let you stay.” Number one, it demoralizes the people that are going through the legal process: it’s a very clear signal that ‘why go through the legal process if you can accomplish the same thing through the illegal process?’ And number two, it demoralizes the people enforcing the law. So I am not and I will never support —  never have and never will support — any effort to grant blanket, legalization amnesty to folks who have entered or stayed in this country illegally.”

INTERVIEWER: Let’s say you become the next senator from the State of Florida. If a bill crosses your desk regarding immigration reform, how would you vote? Would you vote for or against?

RUBIO: Well, what’s in the bill? I mean, it really depends what the bill is about. I mean if the bill grants amnesty, if the bill rewards folks who have illegally entered the country…

INTERVIEWER: Let’s say ‘All of the above.’ Let’s just say it promotes amnesty—

RUBIO: I’d vote against it. I would vote against anything that grants amnesty because I think it destroys your ability to enforce the existing law and I think it’s unfair to the people who are standing in line and waiting to come in legally. I would vote against anything that has amnesty in it. 


Rubio promised that he’d vote against an amnesty bill, where amnesty is defined as “all of the above.” Somehow, two years after his election, voting against amnesty turned into co-sponsoring amnesty legislation and selling it to conservatives as conservative immigration reform, and “amnesty” is narrowly defined so that he can wiggle out of defending his past views.

In his effort to win in 2010, Rubio repeatedly tried to differentiate himself from Crist on this issue. According to the same Mediaite article, “in May 2009, Rubio told the Lauderdale Beach Republican Club that he would not have voted in favor of the Crist / Martinez legislation that would have allowed illegal workers to earn legal status, which he called ‘blanket legalization.

Try to keep this straight: during the 2010 election, he referred to any form of legislation that allowed illegal immigrants to earn legal status “blanket legalization,” and he supposedly opposed that. Fast-forward to 2013 and his co-sponsorship of the Gang of Eight’s legislation that immediately legalized illegal immigrants. In the last debate before the Iowa caucuses, when he was asked about his previous statements, Rubio tried to nitpick about the phrase “blanket amnesty.” He argued that immediate legalization in 2013 was not the blanket legalization of 2010. Huh? Does it also depend on what the definition of “is” is, Sen. Rubio?

One more 2010 quote from the same Mediaite piece, one where Rubio argued that amnesty is still not acceptable, even if penalties and multiple steps are added to a legalization process. And yet, when Rubio made his rounds to conservative talk radio shows to shill for the Gang of Eight, to convince us rubes that this was a great deal, he insisted that requiring penalties and making the process complex was fair but humane, and a great conservative compromise.

“As far as amnesty, that’s where the governor [Crist] and I disagree. He would have voted for the McCain plan. I think that plan is wrong, and the reason why I think it’s wrong is that if you grant amnesty, as the governor proposes that we do, in any form, whether it’s back of the line or so forth, you will destroy any chance we will ever have of having a legal immigration system that works here in America.”

One of Rubio’s most fervent arguments for the Gang of Eight in 2013, and for his immigration plans now as a presidential candidate, rest on this idea about “going to the back of the line.” Someone needs to ask Marco how retaining the privilege to live and work in the United States as one waits for their applications to be processed is considered “the back of the line” when compared to those that are waiting in their home countries, some of them hellholes, for their applications to be processed. Because what every immigrant to the United States wants, is to live in the United States. Therefore, under Rubio’s plans, there is no way an illegal immigrant granted legalization is going to the back of the line. They get to enjoy the United States now, today, immediately.

In another 2010 interview that focused on the mundane Arizona enforcement law that pro-illegal immigrant activists mercilessly attacked, Rubio played up his inner immigration hawk once again.

JM: Are you in favor of creating a path for citizenship for the millions who are here?

MR: Well, we have a path for citizenship. It’s called coming legally into this country. The ones who are already here. You can’t do it. Look, let me say two things about it. Number one is I think that the vast majority of the people that are in this country illegally, whether they entered illegally and overstayed their visas, they’re here because they want to provide their families with opportunity. I get that. I understand that. And I know that because I know people in that status.

That being said, America cannot be the only country in the world that does not observe or enforce its immigration laws. A key part of your sovereignty is the ability to control the influx and out flow of your people is the ability to secure your border. And you’re never going to be able to do that if you have an immigration system that says ‘come to this country illegally. If you’re able to stay here long enough, you’re able to stay here forever.’ And you’re never going to have a legal immigration system that works if you grant amnesty.

And that’s why I’ve always believed that, no matter how well-intentioned it is. I understand the human stories that we’re going to…We’re gonna.There are going to be stories of very young kids that were brought to this country at a very young age who don’t even speak Spanish that are going to be sent back to Nicaragua or some other place. And it’s gonna feel weird and I understand that. The goal here is to have an immigration policy that works. And if you provide a path for people to enter this country illegally and if they stay here long enough and pay enough in taxes, well let them stay legally…why would anyone come in through the legal process?

Human Events

Three very important points with this passage – first, Rubio clearly states that we already have a path to citizenship and it is called immigrating legally. Second, he dismisses the classic sob stories that the left always utilizes to bully or guilt people into accepting their position on this issue (and just about every other issue). Yet, during the Gang of Eight, as well as today, Rubio uses these same sob stories to push his pro-amnesty positions. Third, he mentioned that we send a very bad message with amnesty when we say that you can enter illegally, stay here long enough, pay something in taxes, and then you get to stay. He explicitly acknowledges that it would decimate our legal immigration process.

Though there are many quotes included in this article, they are just a tiny fraction of what is out there. It is more than clear that Marco Rubio presented, and continues to present a false image of his views on amnesty – no matter how he tries to define the term today.

Gang of Eight

There is something else that isn’t getting enough attention in the presidential primary, and that is the Gang of Eight bill itself. The other candidates and conservative media focus mostly on the amnesty provisions. It’s worth a quick look back at that monstrosity to comprehend the totality of Rubio’s actions. The legislation came in at over 1,000 pages, so there is not enough room to go through everything here. As a reminder, this bill was compared to Obamacare many times, for many reasons. Why would a conservative agree to all of this? I’ll cover a few of the worst components, and then encourage you to read through the resources included so that you may reacquaint yourself with Marco Rubio’s crowning achievement, because we have all forgotten just how bad things could have been had this bill become law.

  • If left-wing groups could keep the security provisions tied up in court for 10 years, permanent legal status would be conferred anyway, even without the security component.
  • $300 million in slush funds for left-wing groups to provide “services” to illegals, including “civics” and “American values” classes, as well as legal advice, presented by racist, open borders groups like La Raza.
  • The Gang of Eight met for months ahead of introducing the legislation with left wing groups like La Raza, unions, and business groups that want cheap labor, behind closed doors, but did not meet with groups representing the other side of the debate, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and employees. Rubio met twice with ICE’s president, but only the day before the legislation was unveiled.
  • There were no real “triggers” that had to be met 100% before legalization would occur, despite Rubio’s insistence otherwise. Legalization would have occurred almost immediately after the bill was signed into law.
  • Previously deported illegal immigrants qualified for amnesty and could return; contained a more expansive version of the DREAM Act than Congress had considered before, with no upper age limits to those receiving the amnesty, and created a new federal commission with the sole purpose of promoting federal benefits to the newly legalized immigrants.
  • Current law requires legal permanent residents (LPR) to reside in the U.S. for five years before beginning the naturalization process, but this bill would have allowed the illegal immigrants granted LPR status to start the naturalization process in three years.
  • The net cost to American taxpayers for all illegal immigrants would have been at least $6.3 trillion.
  • There was no way to enforce or calculate supposed “back taxes” owed by illegal immigrants, and no way to enforce other requirements like learning English.
  • The spending in the Gang of Eight bill was designated as “’emergency requirements,’ and the bill would enable lawmakers to spend billions outside existing budget enforcement procedures.
  • The bill greatly grew the bureaucracy, creating many new offices, task forces, and commissions.
  • Just like Obamacare, this bill gave away congressional authority to political appointees and bureaucracies, allowing the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and their agencies, to waive requirements, penalties, portions of existing immigration law, and to exercise unprecedented discretionary and regulatory powers over immigration. The word “waiver” appeared 94 times in the legislation. Loopholes were littered throughout the bill, such as applicants showing that they are “not likely” to become public charges, but no requirement to show proof of this; or, not requiring proof that the applicants were actually in the U.S. before December 31, 2011, etc.

There were so many more disasters in the making hidden within the Gang of Eight bill, but there is not enough time or space to list them all. Don’t forget that Rubio made a deal with the Democrats to vote down every amendment offered in committee that would either strengthen the security provisions or restrict the legalization or path to citizenship components. He voted “no” on amendments offered by Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz, while simultaneously stating in the media that those who opposed the bill should spend time trying to fix the bill and make it better instead of just complaining about it.

For a chilling reminder of the legislation that Marco Rubio spent months trying to sell to conservatives, please read through the following articles:

  • Top Ten Errors in the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill – Mediaite
  • The Senate’s Comprehensive Immigration Bill: Top 10 Concerns Heritage Foundation
  • The Ugly Truth about Marco Rubio and his Gang-of-Eight Amnesty Bill – Townhall.com

Let us also not forget that while Rubio was visiting various conservative talk radio shows with his charm offensive, and promising that border security would absolutely come first, he was saying the opposite while speaking in Spanish on Spanish language TV.

“Let’s be clear,” Rubio said. “Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”

Rush, Rubio even pledged directly to you that he would not support a bill that offered amnesty before security, and yet, his legislation did exactly that, and he voted for it.

Rubio pledged to Rush Limbaugh that “if there is not language in this bill that guarantees that nothing else [i.e. the amnesty] will happen unless these enforcement mechanisms are in place, I won’t support it.” Rubio made the same promise to Hannity, O’Reilly, Levin and everyone else. You could not turn on your TV without hearing Rubio sell Schumer’s amnesty. But Charles Schumer himself made clear that Rubio – his obedient amnesty pitchman – was lying to them all. Schumer declared “On day one of our bill, the people without status [illegal aliens]…will be able to live and work here legally.”

The Gang of Eight’s bill was beyond awful, and yet Marco Rubio co-sponsored it, helped write it, defended it, lied about it, and tried to redefine conservatism – attempting to move the Overton Window, if you will – by pushing the narrative that this bill was conservative, and that he had played along to make sure it was the most conservative immigration bill possible. This is like John Kasich claiming that it was conservative to expand Obamacare/Medicaid. Conservative leaders do not twist and undermine conservatism to meet their own goals. Rubio, like Kasich, chose his own ambitions over his principles. Fans of Rubio often tout his gift for public speaking and explaining conservative philosophy, but that talent can be a double-edged sword when he chooses to employ it in support of decidedly anti-conservative policies.

Closing Thoughts

Marco Rubio is following a similar path as his Gang of Eight big brother, John McCain . McCain did the same thing after his attempt at comprehensive immigration reform blew up and he was running for president. McCain said that he learned the American people didn’t trust that security would come first (this is what Marco says now too), and yet after he lost the election, he went back to the Senate and tried to pass an amnesty-first bill.

If you are a true conservative – your principles, your philosophical grounding, your ethics, your morals, etc. guide your decisions. You don’t need an uprising from the American people to tell you that rewarding millions of people who broke the law, and that giving them special treatment (actually unequal treatment under the law when compared with those who try to immigrate legally) is wrong and will always be wrong.

No one is trying to excommunicate Marco Rubio from the Republican Party. We are simply saying he is unfit to be the Republican nominee for President. The only thing consistent about Rubio is that he says one thing when running for office, and does the exact opposite when elected to office.

Yes, all politicians are human, and all of them make mistakes. But there are mistakes, and then there are philosophical chasms and leaps that are not mere mistakes because of the untold damage they will do to our nation, our future, our culture, our security, our rights, etc. Amnesty and everything that Rubio appears to support in relation to illegal immigrants would lead directly to powerful and potentially unstoppable assaults on our Second Amendment rights, on our attempts to rein in spending and debt, on our entitlement crisis, on cultural and social issues, on jobs, on healthcare, on national security, on our schools, our justice system, our economic system, and so on. Amnesty and the accompanying lawlessness is the ultimate weapon in destroying America because it impacts everything.

In fact, Rush, in 2013 you stated that the Gang of Eight’s immigration “reform” would wipe out the Republican Party, that it was as transformative as Obamacare, and that we’d been played.

“Okay. So what does that mean, republic is at stake? This is ball game. I remember people saying that about Obamacare. Now they’re saying it about immigration reform. And they’re both right. In the case of immigration reform, it effectively wipes out the Republican Party.”

When a politician aggressively advocates for policy changes that fundamentally transform America, after they promised they would oppose them, and then they backtrack after the people push back; when this politician says one thing in English and another thing in Spanish… this is not a trustworthy person. This is not a person with the sort of character we need in a President.

It is not only that Americans don’t trust that illegal immigration will ever be brought under control, or that we don’t trust that security will be implemented first. It is also that we are simply morally opposed to rewarding people who broke the law and jumped the line in front others who sought to respect our laws. Even if the government were to stop new illegal immigration and secure our borders and visa system, millions of Americans would likely still oppose legalization, and would definitely oppose a path to citizenship for people whose first act in this country was to break our laws.

Rubio tries to paint himself as the toughest candidate on national security, but how can he be the toughest when he is the only one running that co-sponsored and spearheaded the largest amnesty legislation in our history? National security starts with our borders, visa programs, etc., and amnesty is diametrically opposed to these things. You can’t be the national security guy and the amnesty/path to citizenship guy at the same time.

I’ve seen some people comment that they do not believe Rubio would attempt amnesty again if elected President; they believe that he learned his lesson. For those people, I offer Rubio’s own words again, from an interview in 2015.

“I believe, if I become President, it is going to be possible to achieve immigration reform,” Rubio told Ramos in Spanish.

We know what Marco Rubio’s definition of “immigration reform” means. It unequivocally means amnesty/immediate legalization and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. We also know that Congressional Republican leaders are champing at the bit to pass an amnesty bill, and it is beyond obvious that they would work with a President Rubio to pass pro-amnesty legislation before the first midterm elections in 2018.

With all of this in mind, I again plead with those that believe that Marco Rubio represents our best chance to beat Hillary/Bernie in November: please, please reconsider. We ran a candidate in 2012 that implemented the precursor to Obamacare and millions of conservatives stayed home. If we again choose to run a candidate that has so seriously strayed from conservative philosophy on the most important issue of 2016, we will lose again. I promise you.

If you want to beat Hillary/Bernie in November, you must not allow Marco Rubio to become the Republican nominee because the base will not vote for him. Ever. Do not let the myth of his electability lull you into missing the fact that he is the most tainted, damaged candidate on the stage. If you are voting in a primary, do not vote for Marco Rubio, and encourage your friends and family to reject him as well because if he’s not the nominee, then all of this is moot, and we don’t need to worry about it.

Rush, I hope that you, especially, reconsider your defense of Marco Rubio as an acceptable, conservative choice for president. You are a powerful voice for conservatism and if you really tell it like it is, your listeners will see that Rubio will never be able to unite the Republican Party, and thus, will lose.

About the Author

Keli Carender
Keli Carender
Keli Carender is a proud mom and wife, Tea Party activist, University of Oxford graduate, former math teacher and improv comedian, and loves traveling. She currently works on writing and research projects for various conservative organizations part-time in order to be a full-time mom to her daughter. She is also Hispanic, for those that feel a need to keep track of things like that.

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