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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 01/13/2011

User Poll: What did you think of the atmosphere during Obama's speech in Tucson?

By Washington Post Staff

Washington Post reporter David Nakamura attended President Obama's speech in Tucson Wednesday night. He was able to snap some footage from the rope line as the president and first lady Michelle Obama shook hands with members of the audience.

Reaction to the speech has been coming in throughout the morning. Some have called the atmosphere inappropriate to the occasion. But what did you think of the atmosphere?

By Washington Post Staff  | January 13, 2011; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

I THINK THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH WAS RIGHT ON THE MONEY. I DREADED HEARING FROM HIM THAT IT MAY WELL TURN INTO A POLITICAL PRESENTATION.

YOU WOULD THINK THE FIRST LADY OF THIS COUNTRY COULD AFFORD A NICE DARK SUIT AND SOME PANTYHOSE, INSTEAD OF A SWEATER THAT LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING TO BE WORN TO AN OVERLY AIR CONDITIONED GROCERY STORE. SHE MUST HAVE BEEN EXPECTING IT TO BE WARMER HERE AND OBVIOUSLY BORROWED THAT SWEATER FROM SOME WOMAN A COUPLE OF SIZES SMALLER.

SADLY TUCSON IS GOING TO BE KNOWN FOR THIS SHOOTING AROUND THE WORLD FOR SOME TIME. IN THE 15 YEARS I HAVE BEEN HERE, I HAVE VOTED TWICE AND EACH TIME I VOTED FOR GIFFORD REGARDLESS OF THE PARTY CRAP. SHE IS A GOOD REPRESENTATIVE AND SHE HAS HER OWN MIND ON ISSUES. IT'S TOO BAD THAT THIS MAY END HER CAREER.

I JUST CAN'T WAIT FOR MEDIA COVERAGE ON LOUGNER'S TRIAL, I AM SURE I AM GOING TO NEED SOME GOOD DRUGS TO KEEP MY BLOOD PRESSURE FROM GOING OFF THE CHARTS.

I AM AWARE THAT EMAIL PROTOCOL DICTATES THAT ALL CAPS INDICATES THE WRITER IS SHOUTING OR RAISING THEIR VOICE BUT THE IS NOT THE CASE HERE. I AM LIMITED TO THE USE OF ONE HAND.

Posted by: JUSTKEEPINGUP | January 14, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I find it really annoying that people who: 1) don't live in Tucson, 2) were not involved in these tragic events, 3) don't actually know anyone who was and 4) don't have clue about how the people of Tucson, including the students at the memorial service, are/were feeling believe nonetheless that they are in a position to criticize these folks' behavior. One gets the feeling that the critics would feel equally comfortable showing up randomly at any funeral or wake for someone they didn't know and critizing the folks who did for laughing and singing and celebrating that person's life. I would suggest that critics host their own memorial service where they can be as somber and quiet as they want to be. After days of despair and sadness, it appeared to me that many people wanted to be inspired and wanted something to cheer about. The President delivered.

Posted by: Justadad1 | January 14, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

It's very sad that obviously the next time a mourning ceremony with a large audience takes place organizators, newspapers and other media outlets in advance will have to tell the people attending the ceremony that clapping and cheering is appropriate vor a baseball event and the like but not for a mourning ceremony. It's not your beerfest next door either.

I see also that Sarah Palin doesn't get it. During the presedency of George W. Bush Eureopeans thought that politics in the United States couln't get worse. Sarah Palin proved we were wrong. Not only in spitting out her vitriolic rhetorics, she even doesn't know what she spoke about when accusing others of "blood libel". She offended not only Jews but she offended any people on Earth which was accused on ritual murder, with many such accusations leading to atrocities and massacers on men, woman, and children. What Sarah Palin outspoke was anti-semitic. I guess Mr. Ahmadinejad from Iran and Bin Laden are still rolling on the floor and loughing their respective asses off. But to make it even worse – there is no opposition on Palin's misbehaviour from high-ranking members of the GOP. That's what is really sad.

When president Kennedy once outspoke in Berlin that he was proud to say "Ich bin ein Berliner", the people in Germany were happy to hear that. When president Reagan demanded from secretary-general Gorbachev to tear down the wall, Germany was proud of him. After 9/11 many Germans stood by America and, in reminiscence to president Kennedy's words, stated that they are proud to be with America. But today I am wondering how Americans still can be proud of their country. I am sure I would not.

Posted by: matthiasfromgermany | January 14, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Excellent. The president rose to the occasion and the families of the slain and injured all were grateful and that is what is important.

Plus for the country it was good to see the democrats and republican in unison for the first time.
There will always be those who are negative but it is up to our leaders to march on for the good of the country regardless and end this bickering and hate.

Posted by: mac7 | January 14, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Excellent. The president rose to the occasion and the families of the slain and injured all were grateful and that is what is important.

Plus for the country it was good to see the democrats and republican in unison for the first time.
There will always be those who are negative but it is up to our leaders to march on for the good of the country regardless and end this bickering and hate.

Posted by: mac7 | January 14, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Excellent. The president rose to the occasion and the families of the slain and injured all were grateful and that is what is important.

Plus for the country it was good to see the democrats and republican in unison for the first time.
There will always be those who are negative but it is up to our leaders to march on for the good of the country regardless and end this bickering and hate.

Posted by: mac7 | January 14, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Don't be fooled by the supposed concern and greaf this was not an accident. This Administration will stop at nothing remove obstacles in the way of its agenda. The b.o. Boy has already subverted justice by not prosecuting the black panther thugs and now killing a Federal Judge who was appointed by President Bush and missing their chance to get a rouge conservitive democrat who opposes obomacare,supports a strong Boarder, is pro second ammendment and refused to support n. pelosi for Minority Leader and what about the message that went out to the rest of Congress, " We mean business don't get in our way!".
When you need to influence public opinion create a Crises and "Don't waste it!".
People like Loughner are known to Law Enforcement, they're flagged every day and lists are made to use when needed, in any way necessary. What did it take to flip this guy? How many hours of provocative conversation or drugs were needed? We may never know. Perhaps the answer rests in the Oval Office?
The Presidency holds terrible power.

Posted by: rhuben50 | January 14, 2011 3:56 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is the "new memorial service," just as "30 is the new 20." People are, in fact, younger and less formal; I see it in the college classes I teach. I thought Obama was wonderful, as were other speakers. It was bittersweet, for certain.

I just yearn for the day when something can happen in this country without anyone, anywhere invoking the name of that vile woman from AK.

Posted by: fireball1 | January 14, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I was there, and up close it was quite appropriate, even if it didn't seem that way on tv. Many of those people doing the loudest cheering were crying as well. The t was to show support for the things mentioned: community, the victims, the people who helped Gabby and tackled the gunman, Gabby's recovery, etc.; it was not a jovial atmosphere, despite how it may have sounded on tv.

There was not a tv-shirt event, just some handing out shirts that said "Together We Thrive: Tucson & America" while we waiting in line. Other people handed out anti-homicide ribbons and others, water, with donations going to the victims' families. Also strips of paper to write messages to make a memorial chain.

Posted by: c2823708 | January 13, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm older so I often find clapping, shouting and screaming inappropriate to how we behaved when I was young, but last evening's service was a combination of mourning and celebration: sadness for the lives that were lost, but celebration of the heroic efforts of those that risked or sacrificed for others. We also celebrated the right stuff for those fighting valiently to recover and live again.

As one who narrowly missed physically being trapped in that line of fire, I would want my family to celebrate my life if I had lost it. Twenty-six thousand turned out, and while some may have been noisy, they were there to pay tribute and to show they cannot be intimidated by violence.

Posted by: mugwumper | January 13, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm older so I often find clapping, shouting and screaming inappropriate to how we behaved when I was young, but last evening's service was a combination of mourning and celebration: sadness for the lives that were lost, but celebration of the heroic efforts of those that risked or sacrificed for others. We also celebrated the right stuff for those fighting valiently to recover and live again.

As one who narrowly missed physically being trapped in that line of fire, I would want my family to celebrate my life if I had lost it. Twenty-six thousand turned out, and while some may have been noisy, they were there to pay tribute and to show they cannot be intimidated by violence.

Posted by: mugwumper | January 13, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm older so I often find clapping, shouting and screaming inappropriate to how we behaved when I was young, but last evening's service was a combination of mourning and celebration: sadness for the lives that were lost, but celebration of the heroic efforts of those that risked or sacrificed for others. We also celebrated the right stuff for those fighting valiently to recover and live again.

As one who narrowly missed physically being trapped in that line of fire, I would want my family to celebrate my life if I had lost it. Twenty-six thousand turned out, and while some may have been noisy, they were there to pay tribute and to show they cannot be intimidated by violence.

Posted by: mugwumper | January 13, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm older so I often find clapping, shouting and screaming inappropriate to how we behaved when I was young, but last evening's service was a combination of mourning and celebration: sadness for the lives that were lost, but celebration of the heroic efforts of those that risked or sacrificed for others. We also celebrated the right stuff for those fighting valiently to recover and live again.

As one who narrowly missed physically being trapped in that line of fire, I would want my family to celebrate my life if I had lost it. Twenty-six thousand turned out, and while some may have been noisy, they were there to pay tribute and to show they cannot be intimidated by violence.

Posted by: mugwumper | January 13, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Sarah spreads fertilizer on the weeds in our garden and then denies that in so doing she is promoting their growth. She is preaching to her choir - those who hate Obama and Jews, heretics, racists in general, and those who idolize guns. She may not be electable but she has a sufficient following to influence the rational members of her party to their and our detriment.

Posted by: outridercastle | January 13, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

God bless our Country and God bless our President, My thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Arizona, time for everyone to start trying to heal, The Hatred and divisiviness has got to stop, I cried and laughted and smiles and cried last night God bless you Barak Obama our President he did a mighty fine job last night...

Posted by: janetmramos | January 13, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

God bless our Country and God bless our President, My thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Arizona, time for everyone to start trying to heal, The Hatred and divisiviness has got to stop, I cried and laughted and smiles and cried last night God bless you Barak Obama our President he did a mighty fine job last night...

Posted by: janetmramos | January 13, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Much reporting regarding motivations did jump to conclusions. That being said, for people to deny that the tone of political debate has gotten ugly is not reality based.

Did the tone of political debate inspire the attack -- probably not.

Has Palin been subjected to 'hateful attacks' largely no -- at least by the mainstream media. Have some of her tweets and other statements seemed over the top -- yup, you betcha.

Palin's response to ANY criticism is to deny the legitimacy of it and to immediately launch an attack.

Most Palinites have the same approach. It is apparent in the Post blogs and basically forecloses ANY rational discussion.

I find it rather depressing to attempt to engage in discussion here. As soon as folks try to go rational and fact-based, there is an irrational and aggressive emotional response.

Folks in blogs, and emails, and tweets, and on social networks simply have lost sight of the fact that words have meanings and words have consequences.

We lack basic understanding of accountability, and in this online age, we have seriously lost sight of the meaning of civil discourse. Today, civility is tossed around as an epithet.

Any efforts to return civility to public discourse (including blogs) is treated as some socialist plot. This is a seriously sad commentary on the blog based universe.

"Palin has the right to defend herself from hate reporting, that is coming her way for no good reason. Her comments were appropriate for the situation."

Posted by: Barry8 | January 13, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I am so proud of President Obama and Mrs. Obama attended Tucson Memorial Service at the University of Arizona from last night.I think he did a good job and try do his best he can do for his speech. A lot of fans and community and students were having been giving support for Congresswoman Giffords because she lives in Tucson, Az all in her life.
I agreed with President Obama mentioned have a exercise rights a freedom and assembly.
I highly admired to Daniel Hernandez's heroism to help save to Congresswoman Giffords.
I disagreed with Sarah Palin, she did not do well on her speech.

Posted by: CAdeafsunny1345 | January 13, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The President's speech was much like an Irish wake - the celebration of the lives of the deceased. He covered a number of subjects, including th progress of the wounded Gaby. I didn't notice the T-shirt event. If I had I may have felt it inappropriate. The President's speech was, indeed, a great speech and the applause was merely agreement with what he said. We should be celebrating the lives of the victims, should we not? They were all very worthy people. Chill out - nay-sayers. His speech was not written nor delivered to please YOU. As usual, the Obama-haters just do not get it.

Posted by: littlepaws | January 13, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The President's speech was much like an Irish wake - the celebration of the lives of the deceased. He covered a number of subjects, including th progress of the wounded Gaby. I didn't notice the T-shirt event. If I had I may have felt it inappropriate. The President's speech was, indeed, a great speech and the applause was merely agreement with what he said. We should be celebrating the lives of the victims, should we not? They were all very worthy people. Chill out - nay-sayers. His speech was not written nor delivered to please YOU. As usual, the Obama-haters just do not get it.

Posted by: littlepaws | January 13, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The President's speech was much like an Irish wake - the celebration of the lives of the deceased. He covered a number of subjects, including th progress of the wounded Gaby. I didn't notice the T-shirt event. If I had I may have felt it inappropriate. The President's speech was, indeed, a great speech and the applause was merely agreement with what he said. We should be celebrating the lives of the victims, should we not? They were all very worthy people. Chill out - nay-sayers. His speech was not written nor delivered to please YOU.

Posted by: littlepaws | January 13, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't the AU cheerleaders just launch the T-shirts into the crowd with air guns and get it over with?

Posted by: ddaly7 | January 13, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@ first I was a bit troubled by the atmosphere but that probaly came from tradition. Upon reflection, the killer, for example, sported a big smile on his mug-shot. While we greive we shouldn't let this lunatic steal the joy from us, especially those closley affected by the tragedies, as they and us honor the departed, pray for the wounded and celebrate the heroes. Maybe on the 10th anniversary of 911 we should a litte cheering. I'm sure that would anger Bin Laden. Throughout the event I laughed and cried and most of all as a non-american this is one of the reasons why I admire and love the USA - she is able to rise to any occasion and challenge...may God continue to bless the USA. P.S. let this not b another apportunity to beat upon each other!

Posted by: wildaboutUSA | January 13, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing wrong with celebrating life at a memorial service. I wouldn't want everyone standing around moping. They were also reacting to the message the President was delivering, which was cause for celebration.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 13, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The presidents speech was fantastic. That said... the crowds behavior was not, to pretend otherwise is to put lipstick on a pig. Specifically subjecting "a memorial service" to persistent and spontaneously infelicitous interruptions of clapping and cheering like it was a political rally.

To say such behavior "given the venue" was inappropriate is an understatement. The memorial service degenerated into a base spectacle, it debased a somber event, and showed a grave lack of class and poise. Unfortunate crowd, shameful sports rally behavior, but the speech overshadowed the imbeciles. Again good speech by the prez, and prayers out to the victims and thier families.

Posted by: Homunculus | January 13, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The presidents speech was fantastic. That said... the crowds behavior was not, to pretend otherwise is to put lipstick on a pig. Specifically subjecting "a memorial service" to persistent and spontaneously infelicitous interruptions of clapping and cheering like it was a political rally.


To say such behavior "given the venue" was inappropriate is an understatement. The memorial service degenerated into a base spectacle, it debased a somber event, and showed a grave lack of class and poise. Unfortunate crowd, shameful sports rally behavior, but the speech overshadowed the imbeciles. Again good speech by the prez and prayers out to the victims.

Posted by: Homunculus | January 13, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Palin's use of the term "blood libel" was unfortunate. It carries so many anti-Jewish connotations.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | January 13, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

There is language equally as hateful and disturbing coming from the neoconservative party side of the aisle on our house and senate floor on many matters
frequently.

Palin,Beck and Limbaugh are not alone. FOX News is sooooooo bad.

Posted by: rheckler2002 | January 13, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The memorial service was on a university campus, not a church. It pre-empted the start of classes for the students, many in attendance. That it was filled with the kind of noisey expression which is to be expected, was support for the survivors. It was the expression from a community seeking healing. There is no right or wrong way to mourn as was seen with the overwhelming public expression of grief for Princess Diana in Britain and for 9/11. Tucson is trying to recover and this was a public event where a cross-section of the American public was represented in droves. If the expectation for a somber, tear-stained, breast beating, rending of garments was expected, then Tucson is not going to follow this model. We are a multi-cultural nation and in the southwest, some communities celebrate loss based in beliefs far older than 1776. That distinction was most obvious in last night's program at U of AZ. Whether the noise was for the President, and/or for the families of the survivors in attendance, it was uncensored expression of love and support from a community trying to ultimately right an outrageous wrong done against its citizens, a child, leaders, grandparents, mothers, and fathers.

Posted by: azindn | January 13, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

There is language equally as hateful and disturbing coming from the neoconservative party side of the aisle on our house and senate floor on many matters
frequently.

Palin,Beck and Limbaugh are not alone. FOX News is sooooooo bad.

Posted by: rheckler2002 | January 13, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The memorial service was on a university campus, not a church. It pre-empted the start of classes for the students, many in attendance. That it was filled with the kind of noisey expression which is to be expected, was support for the survivors. It was the expression from a community seeking healing. There is no right or wrong way to mourn as was seen with the overwhelming public expression of grief for Princess Diana in Britain and for 9/11. Tucson is trying to recover and this was a public event where a cross-section of the American public was represented in droves. If the expectation for a somber, tear-stained, breast beating, rending of garments was expected, then Tucson is not going to follow this model. We are a multi-cultural nation and in the southwest, some communities celebrate loss based in beliefs far older than 1776. That distinction was most obvious in last night's program at U of AZ. Whether the noise was for the President, and/or for the families of the survivors in attendance, it was uncensored expression of love and support from a community trying to ultimately right an outrageous wrong done against its citizens, a child, leaders, grandparents, mothers, and fathers.

Posted by: azindn | January 13, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Same 30 to 35 percent.
We've obviously got a problem with bottom feeders.
They say that "take up arms" means cast their vote, but obvious that they can't get a majority, so yes, taking up arms and trying to scare the rest of us is their only option, because they won't listen to reason (lack the mental capacity?) and they won't compromise.

Posted by: TOMHERE | January 13, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

From what I understand the atmosphere seemed totally appropriate to the Republican mayor of Tucson.

Good enough for me. End of non-story.

One of the few pearls of wisdom I've gleaned over the years is not to judge how others chose to handle their grief.

Time for the media to move on and not facilitate the Right's attempt to "Wellstone" yesterday's memorial.

Posted by: abbatrey | January 13, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The memorial was appropriate for the situation, the atmosphere of the UofA was off for this. I view this as a political rally for those who hate Sarah Palin..shame on those who are reporting their hate for Palin and not really what happened in Tucson

Posted by: benward_247 | January 13, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The Tucson murders and injuries was caused by a mentally ill person..the press is using this to show their true side of "ill" reporting and inappropriate behavior. The memorial was the thing to do, but unfortunately it was /is being used by those who hate Sarah Palin to get their shots in at her. Palin has the right to defend herself from hate reporting, that is coming her way for no good reason. Her comments were appropriate for the situation.

Posted by: benward_247 | January 13, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What I watched last night was a memorial, not a funeral. Those whose lives were taken (not lost) were honored and eulogized, but the message was about healing, which was appropriate.
Another appropriate theme was Community, which I also saw in abundance. The recognition that the way your neighbor votes does not make him/her your enemy should not be lost.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | January 13, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Who are we to judge how these people in that city should react or respond or behave at such an event? They are the ones that went through this tragedy and have been crying and going through the sorrow and horror since Saturday morning. I think it's up to the mourners and survivors of any memorial to dictate the tone of the service. Some of you would think that funerals in New Orleans are inappropriate with their Second Line (a little parade of musical instruments played, with singing and dancing), but that is the way they mourn their dead and celebrate the lives of the departed. Who are we to say what is appropriate?

This was more than just a memorial, it was also a recognition of the survivors and the heroes of the day and a celebration of that. They were also celebrating the lives of the fallen.

People say they don't want the government intruding in their lives, yet they themselves are constantly intruding and try to dictate other people's lives and behavior.

Posted by: denise4925 | January 13, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was about us. Palin's was about her. (again)

Posted by: carolo43 | January 13, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It was dismaying to me and, from his look, Obama, that when the university was mentioned a group of, mostly female voices, seemed to think they were at a pep rally. It doesn't speak well of their upbringing, our education system or our society's future. Obama was great.

Posted by: mot2win | January 13, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It's my understanding that the event was apparently billed as a "unity rally" by the University itself. Key word there is "rally." If that's true, then the response by the crowd was completely appropriate.

On top of that, I'm not going to police the reactions of a community that's mourning and shocked. If they wanted a rally, if they wanted to cheer for something, in the midst of all the memorial services that they've been doing, more power to them.

Posted by: dkp01 | January 13, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was excellent, but I did find the audience's reaction somewhat inappropriate for the occasion. It was a memorial service for those killed, and I don't think we honor their memory by cheering and shouting the way some people did.

Posted by: Wigboldus | January 13, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was excellent, but I did find the audience's reaction somewhat inappropriate for the occasion. It was a memorial service for those killed, and I don't think we honor their memory by cheering and shouting the way some people did.

Posted by: Wigboldus | January 13, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The Atmostphere did not not feel appropriate..

I don't lay blame with Obama, He seamed uneasy, and gave a good speech. I was disapointed at the cheers and Elbow rubbing at this event. The Crowd was who disapointed me. It was not Obama, I though His words were appropriate, and Some Cheers and laughs would have been appropriate. By the way.. I don't really care for Obama, But today, I felt bad for his Supporters.. Obama got it and I felt was sincere.. They just didn't get it and were too Wow'd by obama to listen and reflect rather than Cheer. But that's my opinion and I've been wrong before.

Posted by: buddyw | January 13, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The speech was great, thank you! But the cheers were Totally Inappropriate, and yes,
for awhile it did feel like a pep rally,
unfortunately.
But, this was just a speech. It does not solve the big, heavy problems this country faces.
The State of Illinois INCREASED Income Tax
by 66% overnight, along with Increasing
Corporate Taxes by 45% .
Unless we want to see the same happen in our state, we need to start asking some hard questions:
What caused Illinois to get into this mess?
What can be done to prevent it in the future not only for Illinois but Every state?
Taxpayers need to pay attention to this.

Posted by: ohioan | January 13, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

It was excellant. The fact that the young people from the University of Arizona cheered only made the point that the President connected with the youth of America. the readings by the two cabinet secretaries set the tone for the President. the people want a leader who connects with them in moments of great trial and tribulation.

Posted by: johnturkal1 | January 13, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It was both comforting and uplifting. God bless the community in Tuscon as they work to heal from the trauma.

Posted by: austinlcj | January 13, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

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