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March 31, 2009 8:52PM

What The Car Czars Are Driving Might Shock You

By Eric Bolling

Perfect Political Hypocrisy

A survey of West Executive Drive, where White House staffers park, found 18 of the 23 vehicles were imports. Only five were made by the “Big 3,” according to Politico‚Äôs Amie Parnes and Carol E. Lee.

Even more ridiculous is a look at what the auto task force members are driving.

Get this:
Tim Geithner — Acura
Larry Summers — Mazda
Peter Orszag — Honda

How about these:
White House Economist Jared Bernstein — Honda
White House Economic Advisor Austin Goolsbee — Toyota

If it weren’t so ridiculous, it would be funny.

Hey, Jesse Watters: How about an O’Reilly-style ambush interview of the car czar Steven Rattner? Wonder if we catch him getting out of a nice new BMW?

 

74 Responses to “What The Car Czars Are Driving Might Shock You”

  • Jim Gobetz (Twitter Aiki14) says:

    I’ll take the contrarian side, the big three have, by consistently making poor choices, put themselves in the position that they will have to fight an uphill battle. They quite frankly got their heads handed to them on an even playing field, so if they want us to believe they are worth saving, and their products worth buying, beat the odds and prove it, or be replaced by those who can, be they domestic or foreign.

    The Unions made their choices as well, and now they have come back to haunt them, the companies they work for cannot survive with those constraints. Time for them to change or succumb to the fate of the steelworkers who refused to change. The rust belt is the monument to that refusal.

    The folks you call out for buying foreign cars made the choice to buy what they see as a superior product, in a capitalist society the superior product wins. Like the american people writ large these are the people who have to be convinced. I am glad they like me drive foreign cars, if they are convinced of the viability of the big three it will be believable to me that they made the choice based on the product not the political exigencies.

  • Don says:

    Eric, you’re a world economy advocate, why are you complaining about people driving world cars?

  • skutch says:

    Why is that so shocking? Last time I checked they weren’t required to drive an american car. It’s not their fault the US has made crappy cars for so long. I drive a japanese car and work in the US. Does that make me a traitor or somehow incapable of overseeing an american business problem. Stop being so ridiculous and just looking for salt to pour into wounds.

  • Over the past twenty years the Detroit big three auto manufacturers were being bit in the butt by Toyota and Honda yet Detroit failed to recognize the teeth marks. Detroit still thinks that Hondas and Toyotas are throw away cars. Really??? Tell that to the U.S. consumer. I still question if Detroit even has a clue as the the auto buying choices of U.S. consumers. Consumers control the market and apparently vehicles manufactured by the big three are not at the top of the average consumers likely to buy auto list. Hello Detroit, is anybody there???

  • Bruce says:

    Toyota, Honda, and BMW have huge production facilities in the US – and more of their models are made in the USA, some of which are exported back. Mazda is owned by Ford. Some Chryslers (made in Ontario) are technically foreign cars (based on less than 70% domestic content). So, what’s the problem?

    Choosing a superior product is not hypocrisy. Misrepresenting the facts to advance your story is.

  • Mike says:

    Well, so far the first three comments are taking the side of the free market… regardless of where a company’s home office is. And remember, the brands that the five task force members are driving could have very well been made in the US. Honda/Acura, Toyota, and Mazda build many of their most popular cars here in American. They are designed, by Americans, built by Americans, transported by Americans, sold by Americans, and serviced by Americans. Companies like these, as well as VW, BMW, Mercedes, and many others have employed thousands of us – and in all probability will continue to employ people across this country.

  • Movers says:

    Remember it is do as I say not do as I do. Heck if you can be the head of the IRS and not pay your taxes then should not be an issue to be us car czar and drive a Japanese car.

  • Ronnie says:

    I’ll put my Chevrolet pick up up against any pick up made anywhere in this world. The only truck on the road which can pull with mine is the F-250s. And I get 18-20mpg on the highway. Bring on the Toys and the Hondas. My Detroit steel eats them for snacks.

  • Tom says:

    Biased from the Motor City. Also a conservative and a capitalist. In this particular case I think the Detroit 3 (or 2) must survive or the nations economy will see devistation like never before. What I hear from the other bloggers is basically what I hear in the news. As a Detroiter and an engineer in the auto industry I work with people from several states and countries to create the product for which I am assigned (I am only responsible for 1 part). In order to accomplish my deliverable I must work with IT specialists from Florida and Texas, suppliers of tools and components from Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Alabama, we also recruit help from Universities from all over the US for research and developement. These same people that I employ to create a product are the same people that are key to the economy. My family and I have been driving American engineered and manufactured cars for 50 years. I’ve had very little if any problems and I often drive them to about 175k miles than sell or trade-in. Detroit/We have also learned from our past mistakes and are well positioned to dominate the Global auto industry if we can whether this economic storm.

  • Phil says:

    Eric,
    The other point of this is the age of their cars, please check the age, do any these people have car newer than eight years old?
    Another funny fact that I don’t understand is most democrats drive foreign cars, yet they need the rank and file to get their people elected. One would think the unions would wake up and start backing people that drive their products?

  • Roger Steiner says:

    Does the drug czar need to be a rehabilitated drug addict to understand the drug problem we have?

  • Jeffrey says:

    Ronnie….sorry to say, my Titan pulls Chevys and Fords like their rag dolls. I’ve had them all, including Dodge Rams…. after the 5-60 warranty, they start to fall apart.

  • Cary says:

    Look – It’s not that every vehicle that the Big 3 makes is crappy that is the problem. Each of them makes a few really popular models that are as high in quality as what the ‘foreign” companies make. The difference is that their business model has continued to operate with the mentality of trying to please everyone – so they make a high number of models (many with dual branding ie Chevy & GM)that are a lower quality than a comparable Honda or Toyota. Consequently the resell on their cars is lousy and the customer satisfaction is low. A 5 year old Honda that cost $25000 new will resell for two or three times what a comparable 5 year old Ford or Chevy sells for. In addition, they open a lot on every corner so that local competition between local dealers is so fierce that none of them make any money. Their best avenue is to file chapter 11 (quickly), reorganize – concentrating on what they do best, untangle themselves from the Fed Govt (also quickly)and realize that to compete they MUST narrow their focus on what they produce at a profit.

  • Scott says:

    The Big 3 apparently learned nothing from the 1970’s, which was when the Japanese Auto Companies first made significant inroads in the domestic U.S. auto market. They were well positioned to offer fuel-conscious consumers reliable and fuel-efficient compacts, while all Detroit had to offer, regardless of quality, were gas-guzzlers. There is evidently a huge difference between what consumers consider good fuel economy and what the Big 3 consider to be good fuel economy. 18-20 mpg is still a gas hog. Back in the 70’s, a lousy 25 mpg was about what the Ford Pinto and Chev Vega offered while the Honda Civic was getting close to 50 mpg. A prudent policy by any stretch of the imagination would have been to hedge their bets and keep a few lines (domestic) of economical compacts in their portfolios. Did all of those MBAs really believe that cheap gas would last forever or that we didn’t face any supply risks despite importing 75% of our fuel? Did the collective Corporate and UAW cultures think the 1950’s and 1960’s would go on forever? No, they couldn’t be that blind and ignorant. Unless of course they were blinded by greed and too focused on the short term. Like the laws of nature; flawed strategy, bad decisions, and poor leadership, have and will continue to be common causes for business failures and the number one reason why investors should always do their homework prior to laying down their hard-earned cash. Accept it for what it is!

  • Doug O says:

    Jeffrey sorry to say the johnny come latelys’ make great commericals. I have onwed anf pulled with Ford trucks for years. My 1989 ford ranger with the 2.9l pulled my 21 foot fifth wheel trailer with family of four food and water from oneside of the country and back. Had over 240k on the truck before giving it to my daughter who passed it on to my son. People can talk I just go with what works beyond the abilities of the off shore business junk. Just bought a new F 150 (towing a 26′) and I still out pull Titans, Toyotas or what ever. When it comes to trucks the off shore boys are still in my rear view mirror.
    As far as the folks in the poltical crowd they will always tell the american public to do as they say, but not as they do. They will always be SPECIAL….isn’t that nice. People should drive what they want but not tell any one else what to buy. As far as it goes for imports being built here, the profits still go off shore. Proof of that came when Totoya needed bail out money….they went home to get it.

  • Emil says:

    Americans that drive foreign cars are “economic traitors”. They are selling out their American neighbors for some naive “globalist agenda”. They are foolish, selfish and short-sighted people, and are contributing to the decline of America. Just because a Toyota is assembled in Alabama does not make it an American car. The profits are shipped back to Japan. No “transplant factory” creates any jobs or wealth for Americans. Transplants only shift jobs from the industrial midwest into the Sunbelt and Japan. Every job that is “created” at a transplant factory eliminates 6 good-paying American jobs, including suppliers, support people, high technology jobs and engineers. The auto industry is the single largest private employer of engineers in America. This is not yet a third world country where we have to beg for foreign companies to let us assemble their products. With all due respect, America is not (yet) Mexico or Africa. Have some self-respect and buy American products. The job that you save may be your children’s

  • Bobby says:

    Well the Japanese cars and trucks are far superior to any American made vehicle by far. The american vehicles are starting to get a bit better but have a ways to go to catch up to the Japanese vehicles.Also the same with motorcycles too. Harley’s are not very reliable but the Japanese motorcycles are extemely reliable and way faster too.

  • JustinB says:

    Jeffrey, I am sorry to inform you that your “towing capacity” that us you say “pulls Chevys and Fords like their rag dolls” is not true. Your Nissan Titan simply doesn’t have the torque to pull a Ford SuperDuty, Chevy Big Block, or Dodge Turbo Cummins. It doesn’t have the weight or torque to pull any of those vehicles. Also realize that “pulling a vehicle” means that you are essentially playing tug of war with the other truck to see who gains ground. Towing a vehicle is different. If you put any vehicle in neutral, you can tow it with a small in-line six with no problem. Unfortunately, you need to get some facts before you run your mouth.

  • robert says:

    Next year they’ll all be driving the GM hybrid or be out of a job.

  • Marlin says:

    Wow the President Obama wants me to buy american made cars oh and PAY my taxes. Hell he can’t even get people in his cabinet that do either. Lets ask him to step down and we will vote in a new PRESIDENT

  • phil says:

    bobby – not too familiar with harleys then are you? they are extremely reliable, built more solidly and after ten plus years are worth much more than any ten year old japanese bike. i agree with the big three that japanese cars are mostly throw away cars that aren’t worth much after the new purchaser gets hit with the depreciation. my dodge deisel pulls more than anything japan makes (12000 lb travel trailer WITH 1200 lbs of harleys in the bed) and it gets 24 mpg highway at a MUCH lower cost than ford or gm. as for the family car, nobody does it better than MB especially in the value it retains

  • mike ford says:

    yes, driving a non-us car does make you unamerican, no matter what you tell yourself.

  • Randy says:

    All of the people complaining about the quality of American need to read the latest J. D. Power and Associates report on Automobile Quality. An American car, Buick, is now number 1 in quality. For those that complein that American cars get lousy fuel economy, let’s compare apples to apples. I’ll admit that American manufacturers are known for their gas guzzling SUVs, but if you compare gas mileage of similarly sized and equiped vehicles American cars match and often exceed their Japanese counterparts. If you look at the Japanese full size pickups and SUVs you will find that their gas mileage is considerably worse than their American counterparts. My 10 year-pld Silverado averages 4-5 mpg better than my neighbors new Tundra. I personally find that most of these people complaining about the quality of American cars have not owned one for 15 or 20 years and assume nothing has changed. Anyone that is on the import band wagon needs to visit a Big 3 showroom and drive one of their cars. You will be surprised. My last 4 American cars have exceeded 180,000 miles without any major repairs.

  • MICHAELP says:

    TO ALL OF YOU JAPAN BUYERS. THE CARS ARE NOT MADE HERE, THEY ARE ASSEMBLED HERE 90% 0F THE ALL PARTS ARE MADE IN THE HOME COUNTRY. HONDA CIVIC’S OF THE 70/80,S NEVER GOT 50MPG MORE LIKE 25/30 THE HONDA 600 WAS NOT REALLY A CAR UNLESS U WERE 4FT TALL.
    AS FOR RESALE THEY ARE LITTLE BETTER THEN COMPARABLE DOMESTICS. AS FOR SERVICE/DURABILITY THE JAPAN CAR ARE NO LESS EXPENSIVE TO REPAIRS AND ARE NO MORE DEPENDABLE THEN MOST DOMESTICS. I KNOW AS I OWNED A HONDA DEALERSHIP AND REPAIR SHOP THAT SERVICED ALL JAPAN BRANDS. MOST CUSTOMERS WERE JUST DELUSIONAL IN THE BELIEF THEY WERE SUPERIOR. JAPAN CARS DID HAVE AN EDGE UNTIL THE LATE 80′S BUT NOT MUCH, IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE CARS BUILT 70/80′S TODAY THEY WILL STRIKE U AS A CHEAP PIECE OF JUNK. ALMOST NO JAPAN CAR HAS BEEN KEPT AS A COLLECTOR CAR WHICH SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT BEING “DISPOSABLE”. IF THEIR SO GREAT THEN WHY DOES THE JAPAN GOV’T REQUIRE ALL CARS JUNKED A 35KM. ALL THE ENGINE REPLACEMENTS WE DID ON JAPAN CARS, WHICH WERE MANY, HAD LESS THEN 100K, WE BOUGHT HUNDREDS OF THOSE 35K MOTORS FROM JAPAN TO DO THAT WORK AT $1500 A JOB. MOST AMERICAN ENGINES WILL GO 200K OR MORE WITHOUT REPLACEMENT.

  • Brian says:

    Bobby- I’m sorry but if you can show me a Japanese truck, (if you can call a little toy that will fit in the bed of my pickup a truck), then I will eat my words. I work full time in construction and I ranch cattle, and anything less than a 3/4 ton truck with a long bed simply will not complete the job needed, not to mention the powertrain required to operate. Any of the options put forth by the domestic automakers are sufficient, and with a little bit of tuning can put out more power than anything a foreign car can imagine. As for the guy who said that his Titan can out pull anything on the road, are you sure that is your truck or the guy with the tow rope connected to your front cross member? I may not have seen your “truck” but I’m pretty sure that 860 horsepower and 1200 lbft torque is more than enough to leave it in the dust with a fully loaded 5th wheel. If the specs don’t prove quality good enough, take into mind that this is an engine with over 400,000 miles and has yet to be rebuilt. Back to bobby, for quality cars, take a look at the 2010 Camaro, and that is not even the best that Detroit has to offer. Foreign cars stay where you belong….foreign.

  • john allen shaw says:

    and this crap is why intellectuals shouldn’t watch fox news….

  • Vietnam Vet says:

    Jeffrey sorry but your a little off track about trucks and their towing/pulling capabilities. The Titan sorry to say is in deep trouble ( not selling enough) and the Toyota just sells on the name. Notice the first three letters TOY!! Ford trucks are the #1 seeling truck for reasons to numerous to mention. My advise would be to go with a proven leader in its field. I currently own a Supercrew with 140k miles on it and the truck looks and perfoms the same as it did when I drove it off of the dealers lot back in 2001. By the way, when I pull my 8,000 lb. travel trailer or my 4000 lb. boat the Ford pulls them with ease. Gas mileage could be better but they have corrected that for 09. I’m not a union guy and I think they did a diservice to Detroit, along with management and the government, but I do buy American as much as I can.

  • Scott says:

    Japanese cars sell because they are cheap, not because they are good. Americans would rather spend less money now than have quality products; Japan caters to that market with rubber-band engines and tiny interiors to keep production costs down. In terms of quality, American cars soundly beat Japanese cars, but are more expensive as a result. Almost every hobbyist that I know (including myself) deals with primarily American cars, maybe some Volvos or Mercedes but mostly American Cars (I myself drive a 1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC) because with routine maintenance, an American Car will last much longer (and in the long run, much cheaper) than a Honda or a Toyota as long as you take the time to maintain them. Thats why we still see Pontiacs from the 1960s driving around, yet the most recent Honda is from around 1996.

  • Kevin says:

    Part of the problem with GM is that it was run by the finance guys and had no real focus on the product. More finance guys in the loop won’t help. Worse than that, it’s obvious the new finance guys have little knowledge about cars or much seem to like cars so we’ll end up with a brilliant financial solution and a crappy product. Brilliant only in the way it moves money around, we as taxpayers will be funding the unions at GM for the rest of our lives.

  • Caz says:

    What is an “American” car? Is it the GM/Chrysler/Ford made in Mexico or Canada, or the Toyota/Nissan/Mercedes/BMW/Subaru made in the US?? I have owned quite a few brands, and have had the most trouble out of the “American” brands (2 GM station wagons that required either a new engine or new transmission every 50K (one I was able to go after GM on for Lemon Law & won on consumer fraud), 2 ford wagons that the engines disintegrated just after the warranties expired) and on the other side of the coin, I had a Nissan Pickup made in the US, lasted 275K before it was totalled and a Nissan sedan that lasted more than 200k with minimal servicing before the trans exploded. All of my cars are serviced regularly BY THE DEALERS. I now have 2 PT Cruisers that have given me no trouble yet.

  • patrick says:

    It’s funny how democrats call themselves pro American,and yet drive foreign cars at a rate far higher than republicans. dems pretend to be”pro labor” and yet prefer to buy foreign. repubs don’t call themselves “pro labor” and yet buy American products,made by American labor. I’m not a fan of either political party,but it seems on this issue, those that call themselves democrats truly are anti-American. we currently have a national debt of about 11 trillion dollars,and by the time obama is done with his second term the national debt is expected to be about 20 trillion dollars! one of the things that will get our national debt back to a reasonable level is to support American business and American labor by buying products manufactured HERE whenever possible.

  • T. Stamps says:

    Sorry Mike. Foriegn vehicles are assembled here. All the high paying jobs are kept over seas.

  • RMH says:

    American cars are just fine. My family and I own 2 dodges, 4 Fords, 1 Mercury, 2 Chevies, 1 Buick, and 1 Jeep. They all run fine and have had no problems. All they need is regular maintenance. They also look better and are more comfortable than the foreign cars. The only foreign car I have is a 1985 Mercedes Benz 380SL convertible, and while it is very cute, it isn’t any better than the American cars in my opinion. Even if you buy a foreign car made in America, the profits and taxes go back to the mother country. It’s not the same as buying American.

  • D. Huck says:

    Hey Eric. Two of the “foreign” brands are made, or will soon be made, right here in Mississippi. Please try to contain the faux outrage.

  • James says:

    I have 205,000 + miles on my 1997 Honda CR-V. It’s still running great. Not going back to the Big 3 anytime soon.

  • manus karapus says:

    No Worries, eventually we will all be driving cars made by Tata Motors.

  • Jake says:

    That just proves that American cars are crap and have lousy resale no wonder the US automakers are going under..If they start making cars people actually want to buy they they will be profitable. Anyone under 40 wants a foreign car and the people even younger wouldn’t be caught dead in a American car. The automakers need to get young designers and get rid of all the old men at GM and Ford…

  • W. Bach says:

    For 31 years,I’ve worked as a mechanic. This allows me to see things in cars and trucks that the average car owner doesn’t.I’ve witnessed the decline in quality of U.S. cars in the 80,s. This opened the door and Japan, Germany and Korea took away a huge share of the U.S. car market.But, in the 90’s ,GM,Chrysler and Ford turned it around. Quality and DURABILITY have surpassed the foreign cars. When I was a teenager, I was loyal to one brand of car, but this changed in 2004. My family has switched to what I know is more dependable than the rest. These are the dame folks that have the most in depth, comprehensive web site of any car company. If they put this kind of effort into their web site, just imagine what they put in their product!) Don’t just take my word for it. Check them all out on your own. There is one company that stands out above all the others. Our family now owns cars of one manufacture. We put our trust in the very capable hands of the people at GM and have not been disappointed.

  • cobra86 says:

    No worries, we are truly a global economy. When all of you foreign vehicle drivers loose your jobs because some Indian dude will do your job for less and much better, you are just a crappy worker. The media would have us believe all of we Americans are crap and we make crappy products.

    I drive a Ford. Try one, It’s not crap, you will like it.

  • Democrats are a Joke says:

    Democrats are a joke, this is just another example. http://www.democratsareajoke.com is one of the websites starting to show how stupid these guys are. They say one thing, and do another.

  • David says:

    How can you argue what they drive when from an economic point of view those cars are more economic? My Mazda Tribute is the exact same thing as a Ford or Lincoln except I got a 50,000 mile warranty instead of a 30,000 mile one. Fully loaded six cylinder (showroom, so you know it has EVERYTHING) with all the bells and whistles and my Mazda was $3k cheaper. With that came VIP dealer status…free oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, free teflon coating, leather protection, and front of the line service.

  • Mike says:

    Bobby, you’re living in the 70’s. Back then Harley’s WERE junk. Neither me, nor any of my buddies would have one. So I rode only Honda & Yamaha for 30 years. My last Honda started leaking oil at 9000 miles, repaired (warranty), it leaked again after 2 days. The Honda factory rep said it was my fault!! At 30000 miles, Japanese bikes are ready for the junkyard and have no trade in value (my Honda (19000 at trade-in) lost 75% value in 4 years). I’ve had my FatBoy for 1-1/2 years now (I live in a northern state) so only have 19,000 miles on it – problem free. My buddy at work just turned over 100,000 on his H-D, and he shrugs it off (“Don’t all motorcycles last that long?”). Personally know anyone with 100,000 on their Japanese bike? I didn’t think so. By EVERY measure that foreign car lovers use to justify buying foreign over domestic, Harley has the Japanese beat. And if you have to go 150 MPH to call your bike good, get a (H-D) Buell. Harley-Davidson DID listen, and DID make better bikes. You know what I see in Japanese riders eyes at stop lights? Jealousy. Welcome to 2009, Bobby.

  • FedUp2 says:

    I’m not surprised, the American car is for the most part is overpriced junk. You get more for your money with an Asian import. What surprises me is they want to bail out GM and Chrysler. Why, they public isn’t going to a have epiphany and start buying US junk.

  • DDV says:

    Typical hypocracy by the government. It is a shame that everyone is focused on GM. Why hasn’t anyone discussed how FORD has still not accepted any government money???? Maybe it is because they have a business plan that works. Cerbirus capital deserves to have chrystler fail as they have done donthing to fix the company… No designs that people want to buy… ect. I also find it hypicritical that everyone complains about the big 3. Look around at what American are driving… SUV’s. These companies produced what the public wanted to buy.. Gee is this not the way business works????

  • MEL says:

    Scott — are you kidding me???? I drive an import. I am proud to drive an import and will continue to do so!
    Nothing the american car companies can do will change that!

  • Chuckie says:

    GM is building cars in China for the Chinese with US taxpayer money. My Honda was built in Ohio. Reality trumps ideology every time.

    GM = Government Mule

  • Massachusetts Indy says:

    This is a strawman argument. I have 2 Toyota’s and BOTH were built in the US by American auto workers. I owned 1 “Big 3″ vehicle and that was built in Hamilton, Onterio, Canada. Now which is an “American” car? For me my 2 Toyota’s are American cars.

  • Massachusetts Indy says:

    BTW, the “where the profits go” argument is also moot. The profit margin on a car is @$4K on average. There is @$10K in labor (manufacturing, selling etc.) that stays here. That is put into mortgages and other goods here. I don’t care if Wags and the rest of the CEO’s don’t get their bonuses and multi-million dollar salaries.
    Remember we are a consumer driven economy. If Canadians build your car they consume in Canada, if an American builds your car they consume in the US. A Japanese car built by American auto workers puts more money into the US economy than an “American” car built in Canada (or Mexico) every day of the year.

  • JJAlan says:

    Your import can be bought with a slightly better warranty and for less BECAUSE those companies, even ones that have plants here in the U.S. are not unionized. They handle it all themselves and don’t have to pass on the ridiculous costs that ultimately go to the unions. Being anti union doesn’t mean your anti worker, but just like the government, the union leaders get the money, and the workers, in the long run, get the shaft. The problem is that, we, as Americans should be able to buy whatever we want. If it’s a gas saving import, or a monster suv, but the powers that be want to change that and eliminate our choices in the GUISE of a better world. Make me puke.

  • Merv says:

    How do you determine “foreign” cars? Some of those companies make a lot of their vehicles in the United States, while some of the vehicles with “Big 3″ brand names were made outside the U.S. In fact, many years ago one state tried to buy mini-pickups that had been made in the U.S. The “Big 3″ were all rebranded versions of Japanese brands, and had been made in Japan; the one pickup that did come from a U.S. factory said “Volkswagen”.

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