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Author Topic: Duh Debates
AI Wessex
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Can't hurt to get ready. I do expect them to be very interesting, even illuminating. I read today a sage bit of expectation for Mitt:
quote:
There are three things Mitt Romney must do to win the first presidential debate on Wednesday. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.
OK, that could have been more specific, but nobody else has said anything I agree with more. I've been in the Venture Capital world for over 15 years and gone through several investments. One VC described their challenge in a way that echoes that above quip/quote and how I think of Romney's mental approach to politics, thanks to his Bain conditioning: You get about 100 proposals a week. 95 of them are crap, but which ones? You think about the 5 that remain, but 4 of them are crap. Usually you decide the 5th one is crap, too. Maybe you pick 3 or 4 a year. If you're a big firm with lots of Directors, Managers and MBA "staffers" you get more and pick more. For every 10 that you invest in, 8 of them turn out to be crap. The other two maybe you make money, maybe 10x your investment, but one of them goes bankrupt. That's ok, because the two that made money made a huge profit that far outweighs the 8 you lost money on.

Mitt still hasn't narrowed down his policy choices to the 3 or 4 good ones, so the first debate will tell us if he's ready to choose and whether he is choosing crap.

I predict the GOP will declare his performance a smashing success beyond all expectations and he'll get a bounce -- and also that his poll numbers will drop below where they are today within a week.

Obama will be his usual smooth self. People will miss the soaring rhetoric they remember from him last time around and be disappointed. The Party will declare his performance a smashing success, but there will be no bounce -- and after people have had a chance to think about what he said and Romney said, his poll numbers will begin to slowly rise.

And then will come the second debate, but that's in the future so it's a little harder to predict.

The only poll numbers that matter, of course, are the actual poll, but since those numbers aren't in yet, we have to work with what we have to work with.

Wax on, wax off. Will you watch? What do you expect?

[ October 02, 2012, 06:30 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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I rarely watch these things. Not when I have the awesomely insightful analysis from the Council of Ornerond to sink my teeth into.

I honestly feel this election is in the bag. I've pretty much seen the writing on the wall since February. The President is Bruce Lee on the political stage, facing down Mitt Romney's overweight Sheriff Steven Segal. All Master Obama needs to do is sit back, keep calm, carry on, and do nothing outrageous.

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EDanaII
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You mean nothing outrageous like spending 5 trillion dollars in his first 4 years and focusing on health care when he should have addressed the economy? Check!
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JoshCrow
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I doubt the debates are going to move the poll numbers in either direction. Obama is too much of a known entity to generate excitement by saying something at a podium, and Romney is too cardboard-like up there to win new friends.

[ October 02, 2012, 09:16 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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EDanaII
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People said similar about Reagan. The debates changed their mind. Not saying it will be similar for Romney, as Reagan was a trained actor and quite capable of projecting image on the stage.
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AI Wessex
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Romney also has a long track record, arguably much longer than Obama's. Digging into Obama's past to challenge his current credentials would be a losing proposition for Romney, given how many positions he has reversed, and even re-reversed, over the years.

I expect Romney to try to counter his image as a glib debater who would say anything by digging in really hard on one or two specifics. He desperately needs to be identified with something other than he's a "proven businessman". Obama will suggest a few specifics on his behalf, which I think will give Romney fits.

"People said similar about Reagan."

Big differences. Reagan was a trained actor with charisma and a winning personality, both of which Romney sorely lacks. "Cringe-worthy" is the characterization I've seen most often when Romney goes for the ad lib or the funny. Maybe Obama will try to force him into either of those...

[ October 02, 2012, 09:36 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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EDanaII
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Sorry, Al, but you're missing the whole point there. Once again, many thought Reagan was "cringe-worthy" too, but his performance at the debates made all the difference. Romney is no Reagan, he will have to stand on his own two feet and I think he's capable of that.

However, Reagan's charm is not what won the election. What did that was failed fiscal and foreign policy, much as we're seeing today. Reagan's charm simply turned his win into a landslide.

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AI Wessex
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Nobody's right, nobody's wrong and nobody knows what's going to happen. I always make a big pot of popcorn for these things. I am aware of only two debates that could be said to have changed the outcome (I have watched all of them), and Reagan's wasn't one (or the other, either). Nixon died on stage against Kennedy, or at least looked like he had, and Gore looked like he wanted to grab Bush and shake sense into him, which made no sense in a debate. Otherwise, they haven't really mattered. Even Ford liberating Poland didn't do him in; his record of acting like he was an acting President did it for him.

Pass the salt, please.

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Wayward Son
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What Romney needs to do is what he politically cannot do: distinguish himself from Bush.

Ultimately, this (last? current?) recession began with the Bush Administration. They were the guys in charge of the ship when it went aground. If the Presidency is in charge of the economy (and if not, why blame the current President for it? [Wink] ), then they are responsible for the mess of the last four years.

Now the Republicans say they should be in charge again, to steer the ship to safe waters again. But before they can do that, they have to explain what went wrong the first time, and how they won't do it again.

And we all know that, politically, they can't. That would be admitting weakness, admitting they made mistakes. Politicians can't (won't?) do that.

So Romney's stuck. He can make all sorts of grandiose promises of how he'll do so much better than the present President if he were in office, but there is no proof, no actual evidence. There are policies he wants to enact, but they are not clearly distinguished from the policies of the Bush Administration, and not clearly shown to be better. Yeah, the economy might be better for a while, like they were for seven years with Bush. But then they might steer us right back to where we were in 2008. [Eek!]

Promises are easy to make. Any fool can make them. But how can we be confident that Romney's policies will deliver? I can't be, until he explains how we got into this mess in the first place and how his policies will prevent it in the future.

[ October 02, 2012, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
What Romney needs to do is what he politically cannot do: distinguish himself from Bush.

Ultimately, this (last? current?) recession began with the Bush Administration. They were the guys in charge of the ship when it went aground.

Nope. It started in the last 9 months of Clinton.
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DonaldD
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The USA has not been in recession for 12 straight years... The last/most recent recession started in December 2007.

The previous recession started in March 2001.

[ October 02, 2012, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: DonaldD ]

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Pete at Home
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I've not been indoctrinated in any economic priesthood, so I don't know where the chicken dropped. http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s13e03-margaritaville

Whether we started another recession later in the Junior presidency, or whether it's the same recession that Junior started with ...

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DonaldD
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The 2001 recession lasted only 8 months and was fairly minor. There's no realistic way to characterize the following 6 years as a continuous state of recession without completely changing the definition of the word.

You can certainly blame repeal of the Glass-Steagall act for the activity that led to the 2007 recession and you can definitely lay some of that on Clinton's head, but that still doesn't put the USA in recession for 12 years.

[ October 02, 2012, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: DonaldD ]

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Pete at Home
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Can we at least admit that the so called 2001 recession started in 2000?
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DonaldD
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No - but you can say that none of President Bush's policies had any effect on causing that recession.
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EDanaII
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The issue isn't who kicked the ball. The issue is what the receiver did with it after he caught it...
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Wayward Son
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You wish. The ball shouldn't have been kicked in the first place.

First explain the reason for the punt before criticizing the other team's return. Because if you can't, then you're just arm-chair quaterbacking. And we all know how well they do... [Wink]

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Pete at Home
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My personal opinion is that this "recession" is simply the way things are, after the final deflation of the 60 year post-WWII bubble.
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AI Wessex
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"First explain the reason for the punt before criticizing the other team's return."

Because that team's offense was poorly coached, poorly staffed and poorly executed?

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Wayward Son
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Exactly. Then just explain why it's a good idea to give the ball back to them. [Smile]

IOW, how would they do better this time.

Just saying the other team is screwing up doesn't mean your team will do any better, or even as well.

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AI Wessex
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"My personal opinion is that this "recession" is simply the way things are, after the final deflation of the 60 year post-WWII bubble."

The premise of an endlessly growing standard of living and ever-increasing prosperity is a Ponzi scheme. When the savings rate went negative around 2000 we had to either cash out or watch it fall apart. Ever the pragmatists, we chose to stay the course instead.

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EDanaII
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The 2008 crisis was multifaceted and was contributed to by many people, not just Georgie Boy.

But, yea... just you let Obama make that argument in the debates and see how well he does. _Romney WILL raise it_ and if Obama abdicates his responsibility for his tenure, as he has done so well these last four years, he will lose...

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MattP
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quote:
The 2008 crisis was multifaceted and was contributed to by many people, not just Georgie Boy.
Yep. And most of the negative trends have reversed since that point. The argument is going to be between "I turned it around." and "I would have turned it around better." I don't see a lot of high drama coming of that.
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AI Wessex
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Ed, you don't seem to realize that any President is as much a passenger as pilot. Presidents don't cause house prices to go up and don't actually cause people to get hired or fired. It's extremely partisan that you want to find a point in time that seems to stick a President of the party you don't support with the blame. This has been about a 30 year trend that began when Reagan was in office, but he didn't cause it. He helped it along, as did every President who followed him. Obama is the unlucky sumbitch who inherited it after it all fell apart. But you want to blame him for it anyway.
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Pete at Home
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These days, when you elect a president, you aren't electing a leader so much as a scapegoat that you can blame the problems of the next 4 years on.
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Mynnion
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I remember thinking right before the last election that whoever was elected and had to deal with this economy was going to be a one term president. It may turn out that I was wrong but it seems sad how close Pete's words come to the truth (and from a lawyer on less [Wink] ).
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Will you watch? What do you expect?

I will watch some of the Presidential, a few minutes at best. The highlights will suffice.

I will watch the VP debate. I think it's liable to be hilarious to watch Joe "Gaffe-tastic" Biden up against someone as intelligent and fully in command of the facts like Ryan is. I almost feel bad for Joe, it's like Ryan is mugging the handicapped (I often feel that way with some of you- [LOL] I kid because I love! ). I can't believe Barry is going along with it.

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
The USA has not been in recession for 12 straight years... The last/most recent recession started in December 2007.

[QUOTE]... we’re seeing a spate of depressing numbers that could signal a recession on the horizon — or that one is already here. On Thursday the Commerce Department revised down its estimate of second-quarter GDP growth to 1.3% from an already sluggish 1.7%. If that weren’t bad enough, the Department also reported that orders of durable goods – long-lasting pieces of equipment like airplanes or heavy machinery – fell 13.2% in August.

quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
[QB]The previous recession started in March 2001.

It appears the next one is starting now despite the full faith and effort of Keynesian economics which should have gotten us to uber prosperity.
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AI Wessex
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" I think it's liable to be hilarious to watch Joe "Gaffe-tastic" Biden up against someone as intelligent and fully in command of the facts like Ryan is."

That would be true if it were reality. Ryan and his Russian-Jewish-atheist muse may have trouble convincing more than members of the cult that he really does have the goods. I'm expecting him to upstage Romney and have Romney have to "clarify" his remarks.

"I often feel that way with some of you- [LOL] I kid because I love!"

Well, some of us wish you would seek treatment -- tough love. Do you blame Obama for your high A/C bills this summer, too?

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AI Wessex
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"It appears the next one is starting now despite the full faith and effort of Keynesian economics which should have gotten us to uber prosperity."

You remind me of the economist who predicted 7 out of the last 3 recessions and 5 out of the last 2 stock market crashes.

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yossarian22c
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If you listen to the Keynesian economists then we should have had a stimulus about double what we actually had. Several of our members who are quite knowledgeable about Keynesian economics predicted this type of sluggish recovery with the size and type of stimulus we had. With halfhearted stimulus we got half-ass results.

Please before you use a BIG number to talk about how BIG the stimulus was consider how large the reduction in demand/economic activity was at the time.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:

"I often feel that way with some of you- [LOL] I kid because I love!"

Well, some of us wish you would seek treatment -- tough love.

Get a room, you two! [Wink]
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TCB
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From an NYT article on the debate preparations:
quote:
Mr. Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August. His strategy includes luring the president into appearing smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy.
It will be interesting to see how this works out. Trying to set yourself up for a canned zinger can come across as pretty awkward for people who aren't funny.

I also question this seemingly-ubiquitous analysis that debates are about creating moments. Sure, today no one remembers anything about the Carter-Reagan debate besides "there you go again," but voters at the time had fresher memories and probably evaluated the debate holistically, rather than as a single moment.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by yossarian22c:
If you listen to the Keynesian economists then we should have had a stimulus about double what we actually had. Several of our members who are quite knowledgeable about Keynesian economics predicted this type of sluggish recovery with the size and type of stimulus we had. With halfhearted stimulus we got half-ass results.

Yes and non-Keynesian economists predicted the stimulus wouldn't work either. So that's not really saying anything at all.

To be fair, non-Keynesian a bit of a misnomer. Most main stream economists agree with a lot of Keynes ideas, just not to the degree of advocacy some economists promote.

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yossarian22c
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What does "doesn't work" mean?
Does it mean we would have gotten sluggish recovery if government had buried its head in the sand? Does it mean we would have gotten strong recovery if the government buried its head in the sand?

I think the simplest measure of how undersized the stimulus was is to look at total government employment (federal+state+local) over the last four years.

quote:
To examine the direct consequences of lower government employment, consider the case in which employment had hewed to its historical level. Between 2001 and 2007, the average ratio of government employment to population was 9.7 percent. Had that share remained steady, government employment would have been more than 23.6 million in June 2012 as compared to its actual level of 21.9 million. That is, employment would be 1.7 million jobs higher today if the share had remained constant, and the unemployment rate would be 7.1 percent instead of the current rate of 8.2 percent (see graph below).
link

So if the stimulus had simply been big enough to prevent federal, state and local government layoffs we would have 1.7 million more jobs today without any multiplier effects.

[ October 02, 2012, 08:19 PM: Message edited by: yossarian22c ]

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EDanaII
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Ed, you don't seem to realize that any President is as much a passenger as pilot. Presidents don't cause house prices to go up and don't actually cause people to get hired or fired. It's extremely partisan that you want to find a point in time that seems to stick a President of the party you don't support with the blame. This has been about a 30 year trend that began when Reagan was in office, but he didn't cause it. He helped it along, as did every President who followed him. Obama is the unlucky sumbitch who inherited it after it all fell apart. But you want to blame him for it anyway.

Right... no President has control of the Economy but Reagan pushed this along. Obama's not responsible for Bush's recession. It's not the receiver's fault, it's how the other guy kicked it... [Roll Eyes]

All of which misses the point. If Obama wants to win the debate, he needs to look presidential. Blamin' the other guy ain't gonna do it. But then, increasing the debt by 5 trillion and chasing health care while we were sinking deeper and deeper into debt doesn't actually look presidential either.

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Pete at Home
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Obama proposes to at least do something about the economy. And trying to settle the national debt while a recession is raging, is kind of like the pusillanimity of a man who uses his cell phone to dispute credit card charges while his daughter is getting gang-raped before his eyes.

[ October 02, 2012, 08:32 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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yossarian22c
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Reagon's bogus trickle down economic theory contributed to the mess. Clinton's signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall was another big contributing factor. Bush II's renewal of trickle down economic theories contributed. None of these actions on their own caused the 2008 collapse. In conjunction they all made the recession much worse. But even all together they did not make the recession inevitable. Wealthy people could have redistributed wealth through charity, investing more in companies producing things and paying wages instead of investing in debt, or simply buying lots of stuff made in the US. Wall street could have managed itself more responsibly.

Presidents can impact the economy, probably more than any other single person (except maybe the fed chairman). This impact is somewhat limited though. In our constitution the president shares power with congress. The government has a big impact on the economy, particularly over the long term. In the short term the government has only so many tools at its disposal and using them effectively requires the president and congress to get along.

Government hasn't used all these tools effectively. The clearest evidence of this is reducing public sector payrolls by over 1 million people during times of high unemployment. This is insanely bad economics.

[ October 02, 2012, 09:25 PM: Message edited by: yossarian22c ]

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Pete at Home
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I still think the ultimate answer to American bitchiness and discontent is human sacrifice. We have all the other elements of the Aztec scapegoat sacrifice in place. An election. Blame placed on the winner. All we need is to kill the winner and Americans will be happy.

[Wink]

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Adam Masterman
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I don't have a prediction about the outcomes of the debates, but I recall the first debate of 2004, where there was overwhelming consensus that Kerry won, and won hard. By overwhelming, I mean, Sean Hannity conceded that Kerry won. And yet, it seemed to have almost no effect on the race. I know that the Kennedy/Nixon and Reagan/Carter races are said to have hinged on the debates, but I wonder if that's still true, even potentially. The debates are a whole heck of a lot less authentic than they used to be, though I'm not sure that impacts their weight with the public.
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