Ted Cruz says a vaccine mandate is ‘authoritarianism,’ but he supports them in Texas

Ted Cruz
GOP Sen. Ted Cruz gestures as he speaks to members of the media during the fifth day of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, February 13, 2021.

  • President Biden has said federal workers will have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, argues that is a display of “authoritarianism.”
  • But the US Senator admits that he does not believe other vaccines are a matter of individual choice.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When he was running for president in 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz pledged to fire around 150,000 federal workers, outright eliminating the Department of Education and IRS. But now he is advocating for unelected bureaucrats in Washington, at least when it comes to their right to resist a life-saving vaccine in a pandemic.

“President Biden’s new vaccine mandate for federal employees is a brazen example of how the Left is politicizing science in the service of their authoritarian instincts,” Cruz said in a press release on Thursday.

The Texas Republican is himself vaccinated and has recommended others follow suit. Still, he said, “The American people must maintain their individual liberties and the right to make their own medical decisions.”

Biden’s directive provides a loophole; if a federal worker refuses to get vaccinated, they can get tested weekly, keep wearing masks, and socially distance.

Read more: Anti-vaxxers are engineering a wave of legal battles to fight mandatory workplace Covid jabs

If COVID-19 were not an infectious disease – more contagious than Ebola, far more deadly than the flu, and with potentially long-term health effects – the senator might have a point. Freedom, for better or worse, entails the liberty to make a bad decision.

But we are dealing with a virus, not a personal vice. The available vaccines are incredibly effective, making one 25 times less likely to end up in the hospital or die, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But they are not perfect – and the likelihood of a “breakthrough” case is substantially higher when one is regularly exposed to an unvaccinated population that is a breeding ground for new variants.

You may drink yourself to death in a free society, at least in the privacy of your own home, but you are not permitted to cruise down the interstate. Federal and state laws are in place that prohibit drinking and driving.

Requiring the vaccine of the country’s 2.1 million federal workers appears to be a last resort, coming amid a surge brought about by lagging vaccination rates and the more contagious Delta variant. Though corporate America may follow the government’s lead, most Americans are simply being encouraged to get a shot, the iron fist of the state holding a $100 voucher for those who choose to get vaccinated.

In almost any other context, the senator from Texas would likely defend the right of an employer to set the terms of employment – indeed, he has argued there’s a right to deny it on the basis of sexual orientation. Every day, people accept restrictions on their liberties, from how they dress to what they say, in exchange for money. This is a system that enjoys overwhelming support from Republicans.

Vaccine mandates are also commonplace in Texas. There, the government mandates that every child who attends a public school receive seven vaccines covering everything from polio to Hepatitis to Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Parents can obtain exemptions, under certain circumstances, but “in times of emergency or epidemic” Texas relies on blunt force. If you want your child to attend school, they must be vaccinated or they will be barred from entering the building – a recognition that, when it comes to a contagious disease, an individual choice can impinge on the liberty of others.

“Of course not,” a Cruz spokesperson, Dave Vasquez, said when asked if the senator objects to requirements for other vaccines. “Sen. Cruz has been clear that he opposes COVID vaccine mandates.”

And that is the crux: amid a pandemic, Cruz and others have decided now is the time to make public health another battle in the culture war, and to inveigh against liberal “authoritarianism” with respect to one particular life-saving inoculation. That looks more like politics than principle.

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Trump aides told him over a McDonald’s meal to stop bitching about losing in Iowa to Ted Cruz in 2016

President Donald Trump admiring fast food at the White House.
President Donald Trump talks to the media about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, for the reception for the Clemson Tigers.

  • Trump was told over a McDonald’s meal to stop whining and get his act together after losing the 2016 GOP Iowa caucuses.
  • “If he wants to continue to bitch about the results in Iowa … this race was over,” Corey Lewandowski said he warned Trump at the time.
  • Lewandowski and 21 other insiders spoke to Insider for its definitive history of Trump becoming the king of the GOP.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s long been known that former President Donald Trump has an affinity for fast food.

His love affair with burgers and fries also features prominently in a key part of the story into how Trump aides thought he was on the verge of nearly blowing his chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

Upset about losing the Republican Iowa caucuses in 2016 to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the future president’s aides placated him over a McDonald’s meal in New Hampshire.

“I called the grown children – Don, Eric, and Ivanka – told them what was happening, brought Mr. Trump in, and, over a meal of McDonald’s in the back room of our Manchester office, told him that if he wants to continue to bitch about the results in Iowa and not lay out his vision for what he wanted to achieve for America to the people in New Hampshire, this race was over,” Corey Lewandowski, who was Trump’s 2016 campaign manager at the time, told Insider in the definitive oral history of how his boss took over the GOP.

Read more: The definitive oral history of how Trump took over the GOP, as told to us by Cruz, Rubio, and 20 more insiders

Insider spoke with nearly two dozen insiders who had front-row seats for Trump’s ascent to king of the party.

“It was a very candid conversation, it was just he and I in the room,” Lewandowski added. “He listened intently. You walked out of that room. He went to a town-hall meeting with CNN that afternoon and Manchester. He came and ran a positive message.”

Trump would go on to win the New Hampshire Republican primary.

After he lost in Iowa in 2016, Trump made it no secret that he was enraged. Offering a preview of how he would eventually respond to losing the 2020 election, Trump accused Cruz of fraud.

“Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!” Trump said in a February 2016 tweet.

Throughout the 2016 campaign cycle, Trump relentlessly attacked Cruz – often referring to him as “Lyin’ Ted.” At one point, the former reality TV star alleged that Cruz’s father was linked to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Trump also insulted the appearance of Heidi Cruz, the Texas Republican’s wife. Cruz responded to the attack in a tweet, stating, “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.”

Though Cruz and Trump frequently butted heads during the 2016 campaign season, the Texas senator swiftly morphed into a close ally of real-estate mogul-turned-politician once he was in the White House. The drastic shift in the dynamic between the two was emblematic of how Trump rapidly consolidated power in the GOP and demanded loyalty.

To read the full Trump oral history story, click here.

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Ted Cruz mulls 2024 presidential bid, says his 2016 campaign ‘was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life’

ted cruz
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) heads to a vote on the Senate floor on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz said he’s “certainly looking” at a 2024 presidential bid.
  • “I’ll tell you, 2016 was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” he told Newsmax on Thursday.
  • Cruz lost the 2016 GOP presidential nomination to then-candidate Donald Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said he’s thinking about a 2024 bid for the White House in an interview on Thursday evening.

“Well, sure, I’m certainly looking at it,” Cruz said during an appearance on Newsmax.

“I’ll tell you, 2016 was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” he continued, reflecting on his last presidential campaign.

The Texas senator was the first candidate to run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, eventually facing a crowded field of 17 opponents, including real estate mogul and celebrity Donald Trump.

Cruz had held a strong position in the primary elections, yet Trump repeatedly garnered the most Republican support as the frontrunner. Cruz dropped out of the race in May after he lost the Indiana primary to Trump.

“We came incredibly close, had an incredible grassroots army,” Cruz told Newsmax.

At the time, Cruz refused to endorse Trump once he became the presumptive GOP nominee. The two bitterly feuded for months on the campaign trail, infamously attacking each other’s wives and lobbing insults at one another.

“It’s not easy to tick me off. I don’t get angry often, but if you mess with my wife, if you mess with my kids, that will do it every time,” Cruz told reporters after Trump tweeted a photo mocking Cruz’s wife. “Donald, you’re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.”

Over the past four years, the two have become allies. Cruz was one of the many GOP officials that perpetuated Trump’s lies that the 2020 race was rigged. The Republican lawmaker also led the challenge to the election results in the Senate.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle later blasted Cruz’s efforts to discredit the election results. GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming has said that the move should be a “disqualifying” factor in the 2024 race.

Should Cruz run in 2024, Trump could become his opponent yet again, as the former president has left open the possibility of launching his third presidential campaign.

Cruz told Newsmax that his focus right now is on the battle for the Senate in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.

“Whether it is in the Senate, or whether it is in a presidential campaign, I’m committed to fighting to defend free enterprise, to defend freedom, and to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” he said.

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Ted Cruz joins forces with other GOP lawmakers to try and end the mask mandates for vaccinated travelers, ahead of Independence Day

Senator Ted Cruz without a mask on an escalator in the US Capitol
Sen. Ted Cruz reflects on a Capitol Hill escalator.

  • A group of GOP senators on Friday asked the CDC to end federal mask requirements for travelers.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz said the guidelines were an “outdated and unnecessary mandate.”
  • The group introduced a three-page bill in the Senate on Thursday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A group of Republican senators led by Ted Cruz on Friday announced a bill seeking an end to federal mask mandates for vaccinated travelers on planes, trains, and other public transport.

Mask requirements from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have outlasted their purpose, the lawmakers said.

The CDC in February recommended that travellers stayed home until they were fully vaccinated, but still required everyone to wear a mask while on public transport. The same was true for the TSA, which extended its requirement until September. Airlines have their own requirements, too.

“Americans should be able to travel to celebrate Independence Day with their friends and loved ones without having to follow an outdated and unnecessary mandate,” Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement accompanying the bill.

In addition to Cruz, the GOP effort involved Susan Collins, Jerry Moran, Roger Wicker, Cynthia Lummis, and Marsha Blackburn. It came as states across the country continued loosening restrictions on daily life.

TSA mask mandates have led to altercations in airports and on flights, where cabin crews have had to deal with unruly passengers. Flight attendants have described “unprecedented” violence. The TSA in July will restart its self-defense training for flight crews.

Travelers wearing masks line up at an airport in Colorado.
Masked travelers at Denver International Airport.

A frequent flier last week sued seven airlines, saying vaccinated travelers should be able to fly without masks.

The resolution, introduced in the Senate on Thursday, said the CDC could incentivize more people to get vaccines by dropping the mask requirement.

The three-page text said that getting rid of the mask mandate “would be instrumental in helping the economic recovery of the United States by boosting travel and benefitting the travel and tourism industries without sacrificing public health.”

In late May, the transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, said the mask requirement on public transit was a “matter of safety, but it’s also a matter of respect” for flight crews.

Collins in a statement said she’d spoken with flight attendants about the mandate. The senator said she’d heard about “horrendous and unthinkable violence” on recent flights.

If vaccinated people on the ground no longer need masks indoors, then fliers don’t need them either, Collins said.

“It makes no sense that someone can go to a restaurant without wearing a mask, but they cannot fly on an airplane without one, even though it has a far better ventilation system,” she said.

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Ted Cruz has won a lawsuit against the FEC over a loan to his re-election campaign. A federal court ruled that his freedom of speech rights had been violated.

Senator Ted Cruz speaks to an audience in Jerusalem in May
Sen. Ted Cruz in May.

  • Federal court ruling says FEC violated Sen. Ted Cruz’s First Amendment rights with repayment limit.
  • Cruz loaned $260,000 to his 2018 re-election campaign, which was $10,000 over the repayment limit.
  • The “loan-repayment limit burdens political speech” three federal judges wrote.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A federal court has handed Sen. Ted Cruz a victory, saying a $250,000 limit on post-campaign repayments to candidates violated his First Amendment rights.

On April 1, 2019, Cruz’s campaign filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission after contributing $260,000 to his 2018 reelection campaign. He sued as he attempted to repay his personal loan.

“We find that the loan-repayment limit burdens political speech and thus implicates the protection of the First Amendment,” a trio of federal judges wrote on Thursday in a memorandum opinion.

They added: “Because the government has failed to demonstrate that the loan-repayment limit serves an interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption, or that the limit is sufficiently tailored to serve this purpose, the loan repayment limit runs afoul of the First Amendment.”

Thursday’s ruling amounted to another victory for conservative politicians and donors, who have long sought to remove limits on political fundraising. The Supreme Court in 2010 ruled against the FEC in its case against Citizens United, striking limits on corporate election spending, and giving rise to super PACs.

In the back-and-forth between Cruz and the FEC, the commission’s lawyers said last year that Cruz had intentionally broken the rules, forcing his lawsuit.

Cruz’s campaign staffers started discussing taking action against the repayment limit as early as 2012, according to court filings.

“Those discussions continued for several years, concurrently with Senator Cruz’s preparation to run for reelection in 2018,” FEC lawyers wrote as they sought a summary judgement in 2020.

Cruz had raised more than $35 million during the campaign against Beto O’Rourke. But the day before the election, Cruz loaned his campaign $260,000. As polls closed on November 6, 2018, his campaign had $2.38 million in cash on hand, according to court filings.

Campaign finance law allowed campaigns to repay up to $250,000 in personal loans from candidates, but they had to wait 20 days before distributing the funds.

Within that 20-day waiting period, Cruz’s campaign could have repaid the extra $10,000 using cash on hand on election day, according to the FEC.

“The plaintiff repaid no money during that period, however, because they wanted to bring this lawsuit,” the commission said in a court filing.

Cruz’s campaign waited 20 days, then began repaying the funds.

In an email to his campaign 2 days after the deadline, Cruz said, “Since more than 20 days have passed, it would be REALLY good if we could pay back at least some of the $250k now. Our cash is really getting stretched.”

In the lawsuit filed on April Fools Day in 2019, Cruz’s team said the limit on repayments violated the First Amendment rights of candidates. Cruz argued that his campaign should have been able to continue raising funds after the election to repay the $10,000 balance of his personal loan, according to the filing.

The limit on repayment “restricts the political speech of candidates and their campaign committees by limiting the time period in which the candidate may raise money to communicate his or her political message and by effectively limiting the candidate’s ability to lend the campaign necessary funds,” Cruz’s lawyers wrote in their complaint.

Insider has reached out to Cruz’s office for additional comment.

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Chris Cuomo and Ted Cruz traded jabs over who should be controlling women’s bodies

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, on the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

  • Chris Cuomo challenged Sen. Ted Cruz in a tweet about women controlling their own bodies.
  • Cruz responded with a slight to Cuomo’s brother, Andrew Cuomo, and his sexual misconduct allegations.
  • “Not sure Cuomo’s [sic] should be talking about controlling women’s bodies….” Cruz said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CNN star Chris Cuomo and Sen. Ted Cruz traded barbs on Twitter over who should be controlling women’s bodies.

Cuomo retweeted an audio clip shared by Cruz where he discussed vaccine passports. In the tweet, Cruz wrote: “This is a civil rights and individual liberty issue: There should be no federally mandated vaccine passport.”

Cuomo responded by asking the senator: “Does this liberty extend to women who want to control their bodies?” Cruz is against abortion and has described himself as a “strong advocate for the pro-life movement.”

Cruz hit back at the “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor, in an apparent reference to his brother.

“Not sure Cuomo’s [sic] should be talking about controlling women’s bodies….” Cruz wrote.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo’s brother, has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, including sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior. He has denied ever touching someone inappropriately, but apologized for acting “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable.”

Chris Cuomo got somewhat wrapped up in his brother’s scandals recently after The Washington Post reported he participated in “strategy calls” regarding how the governor should respond to the allegations.

The news caused concern from media-watch dogs and prompted CNN to release a statement calling the calls “inappropriate.”

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Ted Cruz follows suit from red states and introduces a bill to ban the federal government from using vaccine passports

ted cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz during a Senate hearing on November 17, 2020.

  • Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Braun, and Cynthia Lummis introduced a bill banning federal vaccine passports.
  • At least 10 US states already have bills or executive orders banning vaccine passports.
  • Vaccine passports are becoming more common, as US tourists to the EU will be required to prove they are vaccinated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Three Republican senators have introduced a bill to ban the federal government from establishing COVID-19 vaccine passports, following in the footsteps of at least 10 GOP-led states.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming introduced the legislation to the Senate Friday. The bill would also prevent the government from working with third parties, such as airlines, on setting up their own vaccine passport systems.

“Americans shouldn’t be discriminated against because of COVID-19 vaccine status – whether that is at work or in everyday life,” Cruz said in a statement announcing the bill. “We should be encouraging individuals to receive the vaccine through increased patient protections, not mandating it.”

The senator also said he got the vaccine because “it was the right decision for me, but people should be free to make the decision that is right for them.”

At least 10 states, including the home states of the senators introducing the bill, have enacted legislation or issued executive orders banning or limiting the use of vaccine passports. They are: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

Vaccine passports are becoming increasingly common internationally. The European Union will require Americans traveling to the EU this summer to provide proof they are fully vaccinated.

Read the original article on Business Insider

WATCH: Sen. Ted Cruz tells Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal to change his iPhone password after he enters it in on live TV

richard blumenthal iphone
Sen. Richard Blumenthal holds up his iPhone during a subcommittee hearing on gun violence.

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal entered his password into his iPhone on live television.
  • He did so during a live subcommittee hearing, and while his phone was angled toward the camera.
  • “I would note you put out on CSPAN the code on your iPhone, so you might want to change that now,” Sen. Ted Cruz told Blumenthal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas advised Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday that he should change his iPhone password after Blumenthal held his phone up to the camera and entered his password in on live television.

The interaction came during a hearing before the the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. Blumenthal is the chairman of the panel and Cruz is the ranking member.

The purpose of the hearing was to address gun violence in the US and how safe gun storage practices could help mitigate the problem. When it was his turn to speak, Blumenthal noted that “far fewer than 90 seconds would be required to use the kind of safe storage that is available now.”

He then held up his phone to face the camera and added: “On May 25, 2021, we have technology, and it’s on all of our cell phones that enable us to press in less than a second, or if we don’t like that, in again, less than a second, to access our phones -“

While speaking and as his phone was still facing toward the camera, Blumenthal went on to enter in the password.

Cruz then interjected: “Senator Blumenthal, I would note that you put out on C-SPAN the code on your iPhone, so you might want to change that now.”

Blumenthal laughed and replied, “My life is an open book, but I recognize that it’s happened before.”

Watch the interaction below:

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Ted Cruz reacts to ‘Kremlin Cruz’ nickname given to him by MSNBC anchor Brian Williams after the Texas senator shared Russian army propaganda

  • Ted Cruz shared a TikTok comparing ads for the US military and the Russian military on Thursday.
  • The GOP senator said the US military was “woke” and “emasculated” compared to Russia’s military.
  • MSNBC anchor Brian Williams nicknamed the senator “Kremlin Cruz” after the comments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

GOP Senator Ted Cruz lashed out at Brian Williams after the MSNBC anchor bestowed him with the nickname “Kremlin Cruz” for sharing Russian army propaganda.

“Is there a more pitiful example of corrupt corporate media than Brian Williams?,” Cruz wrote in a six-part Twitter thread. “He was fired as the anchor of NBC Nightly News for ‘misrepresenting events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003.’ Now, he’s a left-wing hack at MSNBC.”

Williams called him “Kremlin Cruz,” noting that the senator hated being called “Cancun Cruz” after he fled Texas for Mexico during a deadly winter storm in Texas.

The anchor’s criticism came after Cruz called the US military “woke” and “emasculated” compared to Russia’s military in a tweet on Thursday. A TikTok video comparing a Russian recruitment ad with a US Army commercial was the basis of Cruz’s criticism.

The GOP senator then suggested that President Joe Biden supported Russia and called on Williams to refer to the president as “Kremlin Joe.”

Cruz’s tweets on Saturday have doubled down on his previous claims, which have prompted critics to highlight that he was a firm supporter of former President Donald Trump, who on multiple occasions praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Ted Cruz implies the US military is too ‘woke’ and ’emasculated’ to compete with Russia

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, on the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted a TikTok comparing a Russian Army commercial with a US Army commercial.
  • While the Russian ad was rife with masculine tropes, the US ad was the animated story of a service member with two moms.
  • Cruz said that in comparing the two military ads, “perhaps a woke and emasculated military is not the best idea.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the US military “woke” and “emasculated” compared to Russia’s military in a tweet on Thursday.

Cruz based his criticism on a TikTok video comparing a Russian recruitment ad with a US Army commercial spot. While Russia’s ad featured moody lighting and buff, shirtless men writing in the dirt, the US Army clip offered an animated telling of the life of US Army Corporal Emma Malonelord, who was raised by a lesbian couple in San Francisco.

Insider reached out to Cruz’s office for additional comment on the tweet.

“After graduating high school at the top of my class, and after meeting with an Army recruiter, I found it: A way to prove my inner strength,” Mannelord says in the clip.

Malonelord is one of five military members featured in the Army’s newest commercial series featuring a diverse array of recruits. The series, dubbed “The Calling,” aims at sharing “a rich tapestry of stories that represent the diverse upbringings and life experiences that make up today’s Army,” according to a US Army press release.

Read more: Trump DOJ secretly obtained CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s phone and email records

Cruz never served in the military. During a 2015 interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, he said that he had “considered it many times” but had never enlisted. “I will say it’s something I always regretted. I wished I had spent time in the service. It’s something I respect immensely.”

Nevertheless, he’s spoken out on his opinions on women joining the service in the past. In 2o16, while running for reelection, he said he thought women serving in combat roles in the military was “nuts” and that it was simply “political correctness run amok.”

Insider has reached out to the US Army for comment.

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