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Dan Quayle

In office
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by Al Gore

In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Birch Bayh
Succeeded by Dan Coats

In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by J. Edward Roush
Succeeded by Dan Coats

Born February 4, 1947 (1947-02-04) (age 63)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marilyn Quayle
Children Tucker Quayle
Ben Quayle
Corinne Quayle
Residence Paradise Valley, Arizona
Alma mater DePauw University and Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis
Religion Presbyterianism
Military service
Service/branch National Guard
Years of service 1969-1975
Rank sergeant
Unit Indiana

James Danforth "Dan" Quayle (pronounced /ˈkweɪl/; born February 4, 1947)[1][2] was the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving under George H. W. Bush (1989–1993). He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indiana.


Early life

Quayle was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Martha Corinne Pulliam and James Cline Quayle. He has often been incorrectly referred to as James Danforth Quayle III. In his memoirs, he points out that his birth name was simply James Danforth Quayle. The name Quayle originates from the Isle of Man.[3]

His maternal grandfather, Eugene C. Pulliam, was a wealthy and influential publishing magnate who founded Central Newspapers, Inc., owner of over a dozen major newspapers such as The Arizona Republic and The Indianapolis Star. James C. Quayle moved his family to Arizona in 1955 to run a branch of the family's publishing empire. While the Quayle family was very wealthy[citation needed] , Dan Quayle was less so; his total net worth by the time of his election in 1988 was less than a million dollars.[4]

After spending much of his youth in Arizona[citation needed] , he graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Indiana, in 1965. He then matriculated at DePauw University, where he received his B.A. degree in political science in 1969, and where he was a member of the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon (Psi Phi chapter). After receiving his degree, Quayle joined the Indiana Army National Guard and served from 1969–1975, attaining the rank of sergeant. While serving in the Guard, he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1974 at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. At law school, he met his future wife, Marilyn, who was taking night classes at the time.

Early political career

Quayle became an investigator for the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General in July 1971. Later that year, he became an administrative assistant to Governor Edgar Whitcomb. From 1973 to 1974, he was the Director of the Inheritance Tax Division of the Indiana Department of Revenue. Upon receiving his law degree, Quayle worked as associate publisher of his family's newspaper, the Huntington Herald-Press, and practiced law with his wife in Huntington.

In 1976, Quayle was elected by a wide margin to the House of Representatives from Indiana's 4th congressional district, defeating eight-term incumbent Democrat J. Edward Roush. He won reelection in 1978 by the greatest percentage margin achieved to date in that northeast Indiana district. In 1980, at age 33, Quayle became the youngest person ever elected to the Senate from the state of Indiana, defeating three-term incumbent Democrat Birch Bayh. Making Indiana political history again, Quayle was reelected to the Senate in 1986 with the largest margin ever achieved to that date by a candidate in a statewide Indiana race. His 1986 victory was notable because several other Republican Senators elected in 1980 were not returned to office.

In 1986, Quayle was criticized for championing the cause of Daniel Anthony Manion, a candidate for a federal appellate judgeship, who was in law school one year above Quayle.[5] The American Bar Association had evaluated him as "qualified", its lowest passing grade.[6] According to the ABA, "the rating of 'qualified' means that the nominee satisfies the committee's very high standards... (and) is qualified to perform satisfactorily all the duties and responsibilities required of a federal judge."[7] Manion was nominated for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President Ronald Reagan on February 21, 1986, and confirmed by the Senate on June 26, 1986. As of 2008, Manion continues to serve on the Seventh Circuit.

Vice Presidential candidate

On August 17 at the Republican convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, George H. W. Bush called on Quayle to be his running mate in the 1988 United States presidential election. The choice immediately became controversial.[8] Press coverage of the convention was dominated with questions about "the three Quayle problems", in the phrase of [H. Brent Bozell], executive director of the Media Research Center, a conservative group that monitors television coverage.[9] The questions involved his military service, a golf trip to Florida with Paula Parkinson, and whether he had enough experience to be President. Quayle seemed at times rattled and at other times uncertain or evasive as he tried to handle the questions.[9] Delegates to the convention generally blamed television and newspapers for the focus on Quayle's problems, but Bush's staff said they thought Quayle had mishandled the questions about his military record, leaving questions dangling.[8][9][10] Although Republicans were trailing by up to 15 points in public opinion polls taken before the convention, they received a significant boost that put them in the lead[citation needed] , which they did not relinquish for the rest of the campaign.

Vice Presidency

Vice President Quayle bust from the Senate collection, the last addition to the Vice Presidential bust collection

The Bush/Quayle ticket went on to win the November election with a 53–46 percent margin by sweeping 40 states and capturing 426 electoral votes.

Bush named Quayle head of the Council on Competitiveness and the first chairman of the National Space Council. As head of the NSC he called for greater efforts to protect Earth against the danger of potential asteroid impacts.[11]

Throughout his time as vice president, Quayle was widely ridiculed in the media and by many in the general public, in both the U.S. and overseas, as an intellectual lightweight.[12] Contributing greatly to the perception of Quayle's incompetence was his tendency to make public statements which were either self-contradictory and confused ("The holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history.… No, not our nation's, but in World War II. I mean, we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century, but in this century's history."), impossible and confused ("I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future") or simply confused, as when he addressed the United Negro College Fund, whose slogan is "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," and said, "You take the UNCF model that what a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."[13]

Shortly after Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, which included a manned landing on Mars, Quayle was asked his thoughts on sending humans to Mars. In his response he made a number of errors: "Mars is essentially in the same orbit [as Earth]....Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."[14]

His most famous blunder occurred when he corrected student William Figueroa's correct spelling of "potato" to "potatoe" at an elementary school spelling bee in Trenton, New Jersey, on June 15, 1992.[15][16] Although he was relying on cards provided by the school which included the misspelling, Quayle was widely lambasted for his apparent inability to spell the word "potato". According to his memoirs, Quayle was uncomfortable with the version he gave, but did so because he decided to trust the school's incorrect written materials. Figueroa was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman and was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

On May 19, 1992, Quayle gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California on the subject of the Los Angeles riots. In this speech, Quayle blamed the violence on a decay of moral values and family structure in American society. In an aside, he cited the single mother title character in the television program Murphy Brown as an example of how popular culture contributes to this "poverty of values", saying: "[i]t doesn't help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown — a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman — mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice.'" Quayle drew a firestorm of criticism from feminist and liberal organizations and was widely ridiculed by late-night talk-show hosts for this remark.

The "Murphy Brown speech" became one of the most memorable incidents of the 1992 campaign. Long after the outcry had ended, the comment continued to have an effect on U.S. politics. Stephanie Coontz, a professor of family history and the author of several books and essays about the history of marriage, says that this brief remark by Quayle about Murphy Brown "kicked off more than a decade of outcries against the 'collapse of the family.'"[17] In 2002, Candice Bergen, the actress who played Brown, said "I never have really said much about the whole episode, which was endless, but his speech was a perfectly intelligent speech about fathers not being dispensable and nobody agreed with that more than I did."[18]


1992 election

During the 1992 election, Bush and Quayle were challenged in their bid for reelection by the Democratic ticket of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee Senator Al Gore, as well as the independent ticket of Texas businessman Ross Perot and retired Admiral James Stockdale.

As Bush lagged in the polls in the weeks preceding the August 1992 Republican National Convention, some Republican strategists (led by Secretary of State James Baker) viewed Quayle as a liability to the ticket and pushed for his replacement.[19] Quayle survived the challenge and secured renomination.[20]

Quayle faced off against Gore and Stockdale in the vice-presidential debate on October 13, 1992. Quayle attempted to avoid the one-sided outcome of his debate with Lloyd Bentsen four years earlier by staying on the offensive. Quayle criticized Gore's book Earth in the Balance with specific page references, though his claims were subsequently criticized by the liberal group FAIR for inaccuracy.[21] Quayle's closing argument sharply asked voters "Do you really believe Bill Clinton will tell the truth?" and "Do you trust Bill Clinton to be your president?", whereas Gore and Stockdale talked more about the policies and philosophies they espoused.[22] Republican loyalists were largely relieved and pleased with Quayle's performance, and the Vice President's camp attempted to portray it as an upset triumph against a veteran debater. However, post-debate polls were mixed on whether Gore or Quayle had won.[23] It ultimately proved to be a minor factor in the election, which Bush and Quayle would subsequently lose.

Post-vice presidency

Quayle considered but decided against running for Governor of Indiana in 1996.[24]

He declined to run for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, citing health problems related to phlebitis.[24]

In April 1999, he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for 2000, attacking George W. Bush by saying "we do not want another candidate who needs on-the-job training". In the first contest among the Republican candidates, the Ames Straw Poll of August 1999, he finished eighth. Commentators said that while he had the most political experience among prospective candidates (over Bush and Bob Dole) and potential grassroots support among conservatives, his campaign was hampered by the legacy of his vice-presidency. He withdrew from the race the following month and supported Bush.[24]

Dan Quayle is Chairman of an international division of Cerberus Capital Management, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm, and president of Quayle and Associates. He is an Honorary Trustee Emeritus of the Hudson Institute.

Quayle authored a memoir, Standing Firm, which became a bestseller. His second book, The American Family: Discovering the Values that Make Us Strong, was published in the spring of 1996 and a third book, Worth Fighting For, in 1999. Quayle writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column, serves on a number of corporate boards, chairs several business ventures, and was chairman of Campaign America, a national political action committee. As chairman of the international advisory board of Cerberus Capital Management, he recruited former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, who would have been installed as chairman if Cerberus had successfully acquired Air Canada.

The Quayles live in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Quayle, then working as an investment banker in Phoenix, was mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Arizona prior to the 2002 election,[25] but he declined to run.

On a February 12, 2010, interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News, Quayle announced his son, Benjamin "Ben" Quayle, would be a candidate for the U.S. Congress, running for a seat representing the 3rd Congressional District in Arizona.

Dan Quayle signed the statement of principles of the Project for the New American Century.

The Dan Quayle Center and Museum is located in Huntington, Indiana, and features information on Quayle and all U.S. vice presidents.

Electoral history

  • 1976 election for U.S. House of Representatives — 4th District
    • Dan Quayle (R), 54%
    • Ed Roush (D) (inc.), 45%
  • 1978 election for U.S. House of Representatives — 4th District
    • Dan Quayle (R) (inc.)
  • 1980 election for U.S. Senate

Published material

  • Standing Firm: A Vice-Presidential Memoir, Harper Collins, May 1994. hardcover, ISBN 0-06-017758-6; mass market paperback, May, 1995; ISBN 0-06-109390-4; Limited edition, 1994, ISBN 0-06-017601-6
  • The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong (with Diane Medved), Harpercollins, April 1996, ISBN 0060173785 (hardcover), ISBN 0060928107 (paperback)
  • Worth Fighting For, W Publishing Group, July 1999, ISBN 0-8499-1606-2


  1. ^ QUAYLE, James Danforth (Dan) - Biographical Information
  2. ^ U.S. Senate: Art & History Home > J. Danforth Quayle, 44th Vice President (1989-1993)
  3. ^ Ancestry of Dan Quayle (b. 1947)
  4. ^ Ramesh Ponnuru, No Joke: Dan Quayle runs to win, National Review, April 5, 1999, accessed May 16, 2007.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Squeeze Play - TIME
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b SHAPIRO, WALTER (August 29, 1988 By WALTER SHAPIRO). "The Republicans: The Quayle Quagmire". Time Magazine. pp. 32.,9171,968278-1,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  9. ^ a b c ORESKES, MICHAEL (August 19, 1988). "THE REPUBLICANS IN NEW ORLEANS; Convention Message Is Garbled by Quayle Static". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  10. ^ Ander Plattner et al., "Quayle Under Glass", U.S. News & World Report, August 29, 1988, p.32.
  11. ^ Quayle Backs Group's Effort To Head Off Asteroid Threat Seattle Times 1990
  12. ^ The value and vitality of V.P.s | The San Diego Union-Tribune]
  13. ^ Dan Quayle, by William Boot - CJR, Sept/Oct 91
  14. ^ William E. Burrows, This New Ocean, p.576. ISBN 0-679-44521-8.
  15. ^ Mickle, Paul. "1992: Gaffe with an 'e' at the end". Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  16. ^ Fass, Mark (August 29, 2004). "How Do You Spell Regret? One Man's Take on It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  17. ^ For Better, For Worse
  18. ^ "Candice Bergen agrees with Quayle". - Entertainment: Showbuzz (CNN). 2002-07-11. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  19. ^ Rumor has it that Cheney's on way out / Theory appears far-fetched but is making the rounds
  20. ^ Time, "Quayle Vs. Gore", October 19, 1992. Accessed August 29, 2008.
  21. ^ FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Post-Debate Fact-Checking Is Media's Main Job
  22. ^ "Debate Transcript, Commission on Presidential Debates,
  23. ^ Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 1993 "
  24. ^ a b c David Broder on PBS Newshour. September 27, 1999
  25. ^ B. Drummond Ayres Jr. (2001-02-11). "Political Briefing; From Arizona, Talk Of a Bid by Quayle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 

Further reading

  • What a Waste It Is to Lose One's Mind: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Dan Quayle, Quayle Quarterly (published by Rose Communications), April 1992, ISBN 0-9629162-2-6.
  • Joe Queenan, Imperial Caddy: The Rise of Dan Quayle in America and the Decline and Fall of Practically Everything Else, Hyperion Books; October 1992 (1st edition). ISBN 1-56282-939-4.
  • Richard F. Fenno, Jr., The Making of a Senator: Dan Quayle, Congressional Quarterly Press, January 1989. ISBN 0-87187-506-3.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
George H. W. Bush
Vice President of the United States
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Succeeded by
Al Gore
President of the United States Senate
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
United States Senate
Preceded by
Birch Bayh
United States Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1989
Served alongside: Richard Lugar
Succeeded by
Dan Coats
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. Edward Roush
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1981
Succeeded by
Dan Coats
Party political offices
Preceded by
George H. W. Bush
Republican Party vice presidential candidate
1988, 1992
Succeeded by
Jack Kemp
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Walter Mondale
United States order of precedence
Former Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by
Al Gore


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

James Danforth Quayle (born 4 February 1947) is a former United States Representative, Senator, the 44th Vice President of the United States (1989–1993), and a minor candidate for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. After retiring from politics, he became the chairman of Cerberus Capital Management.

Although many of Quayle's remarks that were reported as gaffes can be verified, several others are difficult to verify. This is partly due to the echo chamber effect of writers who copy quotations from other writers without a direct citation. Adding to the problem, many quotations that were once attributed to Quayle (whether accurately or not) have since been attributed both privately and in print to Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Al Gore, and John Kerry. Even references from publishers that might normally be considered trustworthy have stumbled where Quayle quotations are involved.[1]



  • Let me just tell you how thrilling it really is, and how, what a challenge it is, because in 1988 the question is whether we're going forward to tomorrow or whether we're going to go past to the back! … That's a Hoosierism. You've got to get used to that!
    • Speech to California delegates to the Republican National Convention (17 August 1988)
  • Bobby Knight told me this: "There is nothing that a good defense—cannot beat a better offense." In other words a good offense wins.
    • Speech to the City Club of Chicago (8 September 1988)
  • The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. [followup] No, not our nation's, but in World War II. I mean, we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century, but in this century's history.
    • Press conference (15 September 1988), paraphrased in Esquire, 8/92, The New Yorker, 10/10/88, p.102.
  • It is not just age; it's accomplishments, it's experience. I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.
  • In George Bush you get experience, and with me you get the future.
    • Speech in Illinois (October 1988), quoted in Cathleen Decker (1988-10-19), "Quayle, in Illinois, Says He's `the Future'" Los Angeles Times
  • People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.
    • Interview with Hendrik Hertzburg (October 1988), referring to Grigori Rasputin
  • We are ready for any unforseen event that may or may not occur.
    • Cited to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (27 September 1990)
  • You all look like happy campers to me. Happy campers you are, happy campers you have been, and, as far as I am concerned, happy campers you will always be.
    • Speech to American Samoans (April 1989)
  • Hawaii has always been a very pivotal role in the Pacific. It is in the Pacific. It is a part of the United States that is an island that is right here.
    • Press comment in Hawaii (25 April 1989)
  • When you take the UNCF model that, what a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful, how true that is.
    • Speech to the United Negro College Fund (9 May 1989), mangling the Fund's slogan "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
  • The other day [the President] said, I know you've had some rough times, and I want to do something that will show the nation what faith that I have in you, in your maturity and sense of responsibility. Would you like a puppy?
    • cited to the Los Angeles Times (16 May 1989)
  • I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy, but that could change.
    • cited to the Wall Street Journal (26 May 1989)
  • Mars is essentially in the same orbit.… Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.
    • Press comment on Mars exploration (11 August 1989), televised on CNN and referenced in 9/1/89 Washington Post article: "A Quayle Vision of Mars")
  • I have been asked who caused the riots and the killing in LA, my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame. Yes, I can understand how people were shocked and outraged by the verdict in the Rodney King trial. But there is simply no excuse for the mayhem that followed.
    • Speech to the Commonwealth Club of California (19 May 1992)
  • Our policies must be premised on, and must reinforce, values such as family, hard work, integrity and personal responsibility.
    • Speech to the Commonwealth Club of California (19 May 1992)
  • Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong. We must be unequivocal about this. It doesn't help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman—mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another "lifestyle choice."
    • Speech to the Commonwealth Club of California (19 May 1992)
  • This is what I say about the scorn of the media elite: I wear their scorn as a badge of honor.
    • Speech to the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis (9 June 1992)
  • You’re close, but you left a little something off. The "e" on the end.
    • Luis Muñoz Rivera Elementary School in Trenton, New Jersey (15 June 1992), mistakenly correcting student William Figueroa on his spelling of "potato."
  • I believe that I've made good judgments in the past, and I think I've made good judgments in the future.
  • We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to move forward.
  • We understand the importance of having the bondage between the parent and the child.
  • The future will be better tomorrow
  • I was known as the chief graverobber of my state.
  • I had a good political career, and I have a good business career. I didn't get the brass ring, but I did very well.
    • Interview with Cathleen Decker (5 September 2008) "Before Sarah Palin, the GOP had Dan Quayle", Los Angeles Times


  • I also try to discipline myself when I get into a situation … and I'm trying to think of an answer, instead of being verbose, which is a tendency that I have, to be concise. Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.
    • Quoted in the Los Angeles Times (30 October 1988), attributed to an earlier Associated Press interview
  • If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.
    • Attributed to a speech in Phoenix, Arizona to the Phoenix Republican Forum (23 March 1990), quoted in Esquire (August 1992)
  • For NASA, space is still a high priority.
    • Remarks to NASA employees, 9/5/90 (reported in Esquire, 8/92)
  • What we have here is clear-cut evidence that illegitimacy—something I've always said we should talk about in terms of not having it—leads to drug abuse.
    • Remarks (20 May 1992), quoted in Esquire (August 1992) and Ann Beatts (23 November 1997) "ABSURDUM; Murphy Brown's Got Dan All Fired Up Again," Los Angeles Times
  • I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix.
    • Although Quayle's home town is in Arizona, it is only a two and a half hour drive from the California border.
  • My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will never surrender to what is right.
    • In a speech to the Christian Coalition
  • We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.
  • One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Vice President, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.
    • Attributed in the Quayle Quarterly, a short-lived publication about Quayle's gaffes
  • It's wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.
    • If Quayle said this, he would only be repeating a phrase that first appeared in print approximately 100 years earlier. See: Staff writer (13 May 1889) "The Great State of Chicago," Chicago Daily Tribune; Staff writer (13 April 1895) "The State of Chicago," New York Times; Norman Mailer (1968) Miami and the Siege of Chicago


  • Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts.
    • Video footage shows Quayle saying:
      • Thank you very much Bob, Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, Dick Truly and fellow astronauts, and ladies and gentlemen.


  • A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.
  • Republicans have been accused of abandoning the poor. It's the other way around. They never vote for us.
  • It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.
  • I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.
    • U.S. Representative Claudine Schneider (RI) telling an admitted joke about Quayle
    • "Quayle Quotes", Urban Legends Reference Pages

About Quayle

  • He's a very different man than the intellectual midget that has been portrayed in much of the media.… I think he's going to make an excellent Vice President, and I believe that he's going to be a popular Vice President just as soon as the people of this country see him as he is.
    • Richard Nixon, quoted in the New York Times (22 November 1988)
  • I don't think I could shoot a deer. Quayle, that's something else again.


  1. For example, the 2002 Oxford Dictionary of Phrase includes a list of supposed "Bushisms," some of which were previously attributed to Quayle.

External links

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