At SXSW, Mark Cuban Calls Himself a Libertarian 'at Heart,' Wants to Be Convinced to Run for President

Also believes some healthcare should be a basic right written into the Constitution.


Mark Cuban

"At heart I'm a libertarian," famous entrepreneur Mark Cuban said at a South by Southwest panel focused on disruption and government regulation.

But moments later, he said that while he believed many government regulations are bad, he had "evolved" on some healthcare issues and believed that America had taken on a liability and should guarantee that citizens have access for emergency or chronic medical problems.

"If a toilet falls out of a space lab and hits you on the head," Cuban joked, you should be guaranteed healthcare. But he also made it clear that healthcare shouldn't be guaranteed for every medical problem, and he thought the terms should be provided by a constitutional amendment.

Many libertarians may look askance at such a position, and perhaps also wonder why guaranteed government healthcare was even a topic of discussion for a panel titled "Is Government Disrupting Disruption?" In reality, talks about disruptive innovation and government regulation probably took up only a quarter of the conversation of the panel.

The panel's apparent actual function was to float the trial balloon of "Mark Cuban: 2020 Presidential Contender."

Interestingly, while Cuban is critical of Trump's mental acuity (diplomatically speaking), he made it clear that he is indeed in favor of much of Trump's deregulation hopes, though Cuban believes there are regulations that should be preserved (including federal water management) if they achieve a public safety goal. It was not pointed out to him that nearly every single regulation is claimed to preserve public health and safety even when they do not, but he's at least aware that there are other regulations that are designed to "protect moneyed interests" or to serve as a "source of revenue" for government agencies. (Also of interest, he told the SXSW crowd that net neutrality was "bad, scary" and the Federal Communications Commission "worse, worse, worse.")

Cuban was critical of Trump's economic growth strategy while accepting the reality of the tough lives of people in parts of the country. He, like many trade and economic analysts, doesn't believe the president can roll back the clock to give people their old jobs back. "Our current administration is not going to solve this problem by thinking they're bringing back factories," he said.

When moderator Michele Skelding, an entrepreneurial advisor with the University of Texas at Austin, suggested his comments were "a great platform to run on." Cuban wouldn't commit one way or the other as to whether he would consider a presidential run in 2020, but it seemed clear it was something he was thinking about.

"There's somebody who has to run that looks forward and not like it's 1975," he said. But while the former Trump-praiser-turned-critic ("I got to know him," he explained) could oppose Trump, he made it very clear there are parts of Trump's agenda (deregulation) that he actually supports.

"But I like presidents who read," he said, to the crowd's cheers.

NEXT: NYT Executive Editor Says Trump's Insults Help Media Keep Him Accountable

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  1. The panel’s apparent actual function was to float the trial balloon of “Mark Cuban: 2020 Presidential Contender.”

    Do. Not. Want.

    1. Well, now, wait a min. Assume Trump gets renominated in 2020. Who, plausibly, could the Democrats nominate? Out of those, might not Cuban prevent someone worse from getting the nomination? Then consider that a major party nominee almost always has a shot at winning. Cuban might be valuable insurance.

      1. Yeah but there’s always someone worse. Trump’s ONLY appeal to me is that he’s not Hillary Clinton. I might take Cuban but I don’t want him.

        1. There’s always someone worse, but how credible is it that nobody worse will be elected? It doesn’t do any good “wanting” someone who can’t get elected. We can each vote for ourselves, but don’t woik.

          1. “There’s always someone worse”

            That would be an awesome Cuban for president campaign slogan.

      2. I was assuming that Gary Johnson was going to be the 2020 LP nominee. Reason has reminded us over and over that he was the greatest libertarian candidate in history, so why would they stop nominating him this time?

        1. I think Gary has said he will not run again. He was a candidate with great potential who wasted all it with sloppy speech and driveling nonsense: “Hillary Clinton is a fine person,” to paraphrase just some of his gibberish. He could run again if someone would bitch-slap him sober before every speech.

      3. I really think both major parties and the 3rd turds are going to have 2 celebrity retards for every establishment hack in the primaries for the next several elections.

        I’d say we’re about 4-5 from literally electing President Camacho.

        1. 4-5 terms*

          Gotta stop drinking.

          1. no, you’re ok…

          2. Drink more.

          3. Drink Brawndo! It’s what plants crave!

      4. If Cuban runs as a Dem, he is no Libertarian. Come on!

  2. The one certainty of Trump’s Presidency.

    Every billionaire wants to buy their own election now and play EmperorGod.

    1. You’re thinking of Ross Perot. Trump didn’t buy the election. In fact he spent hardly any money on it.

      1. I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them. – Donald Trump in June 2016. And he was right

      2. Drumpf is not a billionaire either.

        1. though he may be closer to the mark than you’re likely to get, unless you’re Bill Gates in a donkey suit…

          1. Wow. Someone is defending their dear leader at all costs.

            1. seriously, you don’t recognize trolling when you read it…what a fucking dope!

        2. Do some people still think the “Drumpf” thing is clever?

          1. Yes, the same people who consider Bill Maher sagely wise and intellectually genius. The same ones who didn’t stop using “Not!” until 2003. It pains me.

        3. Who?

          Who is this Drumpf person you idiots keep referring to? Is he related to Liebowitz? Because he sounds more like his grandfather–which would make the whole issued something that was settled before he was born, no?

      3. I think he meant Oprah.

    2. God Emperor

      1. this is exactly the kind of thing you get when you allow wymen to vote…

      2. That’s already been Dune


    1. isn’t that a sandwich?

  4. in case you ever wondered if there was an ego larger than Trump’s.

    1. Andrew Cuomo is rumored to be prepping for 2020. Whose ego is bigger, Cuban or Cuomo?

      Neither. It’s de Blasio!

      1. I don’t know about ego, but for sheer douche baggery, my vote goes to…the envelope please…

        1. wait, wrong fucking envelope…

  5. Perhaps “right” is not the appropriate word for justifying government provision of health care coverage. I don’t have a “right” to expect anyone to defend my life and property, but libertarians acknowledge the appropriateness of having a national defense (most of them, anyway). If it is appropriate to have mutual defense against foreign invasion, why not a mutual defense against death from injury and disease, which is even more likely to happen to each of us than an invasion?

    1. aajax|3.12.17 @ 9:27PM|#
      “…If it is appropriate to have mutual defense against foreign invasion, why not a mutual defense against death from injury and disease, which is even more likely to happen to each of us than an invasion?”

      I’d suggest you read what you just posted; the answer is right there, having to do with false equivalence.
      Hint: One NEEDS mutual effort, the other doesn’t.

    2. mutual defense against death?

      so what do you think are the odds that that particular mutual defense results in anyone’s immortality?

      1. All defense is temporary.

        1. I’m pretty sure the five branches of the armed forces plan to continue operations indefinitely.

    3. Mutual defense against injury and disease used to be provided by mutual insurance companies. Unfortunately, Obamacare made medical insurance illegal.

    4. Disease is fought by medical practitioners and mortality improved by applied research. Unless and until a foreign nation starts spreading disease or killing people, the government doesn’t have a role in the matter.

      1. Yeah well we don’t even screen bugs for their radical Muslim tendencies

  6. “”But I like presidents who read,” he said, to the crowd’s cheers”

    Oh, EDGY! Did he have a Bush joke handy?
    FFS, Trump deserves plenty of grief; don’t waste time making stupid comments that suggest he’s due sympathy instead.

    1. “But I like bush”?

    2. I highly doubt Cuban is brushing up on his Bastiat.

    3. Trump is an ignoramus who thought Frederick Douglass was still alive. Not that you are a Trump supporter.

  7. You know who else called himself a libertarian at heart?

    1. Not the standard answer:
      There’s a guy who runs a pizzeria in eastern SF. He claims to be a libertarian. He turned over running the place for two years to work on Pelosi’s staff in DC, and it wasn’t to ‘convert’ her.
      The pizzas are pretty good.

      1. if you happen to like shit CA pizza…

    2. Gary Johnson?

    3. Ronald Reagan?

    4. Jeffrey Dahmer

    5. Sloppy’s mom?

    6. Bill Maher?
      Every big government liberal?

    7. Chris Matthews? ‘Til he found his true love?

  8. Hey, the Libertarian Party has already nominated candidates that were Libertarian in name only.

    Why not nominate a wealthy arrogant blowhard celebrity? It worked for the Republicans.

    1. Pretty sure Weld is loaded and none of that money seemed to find its way to the campaign.

      1. I’m sure some of his money found its way into the Hillary campaign though.

  9. I’m pretty sure there’s a direct correlation between having money and having health – to the extent that my money is taken from me to pay for somebody else’s healthcare, how much does my health suffer? If we’re weighing my marginal teeth-cleaning against some poor shlub’s dialysis, how much does the fact that it’s my money count in the equation? What if it’s not dialysis the poor shlub’s after but a teeth-cleaning? Should a government healthcare chit give you free access to the medical buffet the way food stamps can be used to buy lobster and filet mignon as well as tuna fish and hamburger meat? And does Mark Cuban think he can draw more votes for the LP than GayJay?

    1. “I’m pretty sure there’s a direct correlation between having money and having health – to the extent that my money is taken from me to pay for somebody else’s healthcare, how much does my health suffer?”

      Without going into a lot of detail, there have been a couple of times in my life where most of my money was going to starting a business or covering a mortgage. During those times, I did not have an employer ‘paying’ my medical insurance at those times; I wrote a check once a month.
      Believe me, I am VERY sensitive to covering the cost of insurance for other folks; screw you, pay it yourself.

    2. If it worked as w food stamps, it’d take a lot more healthcare chits to buy the lobster & filet mignon of medicine than to buy the tuna & hamburger of medicine. What that would mean, I suppose, is that if you needed a lot of medical tuna, then you wouldn’t have enough chits left over to buy the medical lobster.

    3. There’s another aspect of this as well which most people don’t think about and it’s that people in general do not take care of themselves. Most people suffer from general and chronic illnesses because they choose to live in a way that is incompatible with a healthy life. I think people should be allowed to smoke, drink, and eat however they choose, but when their health suffers, it isn’t my responsibility to pick up the tab.

    4. They’re’s always a tradeoff. Would you rather have new tires or food?

      1. I thought we were only allowed guns or butter?

  10. We should cover emergent and chronic conditions? What would NOT be covered?

    1. Yeah … I’m with you. He sounds like every wanna be politician. They’re all “libertarian” until they get right down to policy, at which time they have to fess up. There’s really no such thing as a little free healthcare. It’s like being a little bit pregnant: it ALWAYS morphs into something much bigger. Hey! Let’s have just a little bit of food stamps, you know, just for the basic nutritional needs of the poor. How ’bout some minimal free public education, everyone needs a little readin’ writin’ and ‘rithmatic, right? Ah, the little one room school house out in the country …. I remember it well. LOL

  11. There are very few chronic conditions that can’t be managed with generic meds and a physician’s assistant.

    Fun fact. I just had a surgery. Negotiated insurance rate was $8k. I paid $1k coinsurance.

    Cash price is $3k.

    That is a head scratcher.

    1. Now that you know, if you have a heart attack negotiate yourself a minivan. Just do it fast, OK?

  12. I would like to see him mount a true Independent candidacy to see if it can be done.

  13. So it begins election 2020 great, i thought we’d at least get a year and a half

  14. Many libertarians may look askance at such a position


    Clearly the contractor responsible for the installation of toilets in my Space-Lab should be held liable for any medical costs associated with unscheduled sub-orbital re-entry.

    1. Yes, but tort reform would have limited the liability to $20 and a happy meal, to avoid those frivolous lawsuits.

      “Prove that it was the toilet from that space-lab”

    2. How many years before it is the owners problem and not the contractors? Did you properly maintain the lug nuts every year per the manufacturer specs. on your space lab toilet? Really tired of Space Lab owners shirking their responsible and just blaming the plumber.

    3. Needz moar “to be sures….”

    4. Is that a Dead Like Me reference or am I just tired?

  15. Just another blowhard. Sorry but healthcare is not a right, if I’m a doctor I should have full right to discern who I’m willing to treat based upon my own economic self interest. Better yet, why not get government out of healthcare and the insurance industry and let doctors compete for customers without mandates from the government – which has created this bloated, incentive blocking mediocre system that we currently have.

    1. Or let pharmacists prescribe. America should have a free market in health care or regulate it as a public utility instead of the AMA’s medical cartel.

      1. When you hire someone to do work for you, they do what you want and negotiate a price. Somehow that doesn’t apply to America’s medical deities.

        1. When you hire someone to do work for you, they do what you want and negotiate a price. Somehow that doesn’t apply to America’s medical deities.

          That’s because our system is based on a fee-for-service model and for a lot of reasons it probably can’t be an actual market

          Actual market – I hurt bad. Fix me dammit. If I die, you don’t get paid. And if you make things worse, you are liable.

          Medical market – Here’s the price for asking you a ton of questions and sticking you in machines because you don’t actually have the slightest idea what you actually want. Here’s the price for a scalpel. Here’s the price for cutting you open. ooh – forgot here’s the price for anesthetizing you. Here’s the price for fishing around a bit to feel what’s wrong. Here’s the price to double check and make sure we took out the garbage. Here’s the price to stitch you back up.

          1. Just as an aside – the reason the tummytuck and boobjob market can actually be a free market is precisely because the customer DOES know what they want ahead of time.

      2. Or reopen our residency programs to foreign MDs.

        1. Or at least figure out that person doesn’t have to get an A in physical chemistry to learn how to be a physician.

          1. Not going to search the shelf right now, but not long after the Chi Coms opened the door, several reporters took up residence in Beijing and filed from there. And wrote books from the filings. No surprise, they tended to be fluent in Mandarin.
            One of the books was quite clear; among those who preferred ‘western-style’ medical care (the sort with some reliability) were very careful to check the graduation date on the Doc’s license. If it was during or immediately after the Cultural Revolution, well, maybe it’s time to cut the appointment short.
            So, here’s the deal; if we’re to allow those with less than really-neat grades to provide care, just show those grades and charge accordingly.

        2. And have a foreign bureaucracy certify who gets to be an MD. No. Freedom dictates that in a free market anyone can be a producer and anyone else a consumer. No fucking regulations. Which part of NO government involvement don’t you get?

          1. The part when I’m in prison.

      3. Definitely, I agree, the FDA is horrible in blocking potentially life saving drugs.

        1. Like thalidomide?

          1. saving, not altering…

          2. The lesson learned from thalidomide is that you need to test the effects of drugs that will be prescribed to pregnant women on the fetus. Not that you need to create a massive, bloated bureaucracy that ties every new drug up in mountains of red tape, forces the market to consolidate into a handful of big players who can afford the overhead, drives costs up substantially, and delays time to market on the order of a decade.

            The response to thalidomide was a knee-jerk overreaction of the highest order and a fine example of terrible policy being borne of overwrought emotionalism.

            1. It wasn’t even marketed to be used for pregnancy nausea – definitely what we would call an off-label use. That should mean that the liability should lie with the doctors who prescribed it in situations it hadn’t been tested for..

            2. Based on all the class-action lawsuit commercials I see or hear on TV, it’s clear to me that the knee-jerk overreaction has been effective. Long live the FDA!!!

        2. That’s ok. They are good at relicensing monopolies on 100 year old chemicals like Oxycontin. And let’s face it – that is far more valuable to drug ‘researchers’

          1. The monopoly is granted by the USPTO, not the FDA. Is there interplay between the two?

      4. Why have pharmacists or doctors? Why not let anyone win your business?

        Let them self-certify as pharmacists or doctors, like Rand Paul. Or an exorcist if possession is the cause. For that, get Piyush Jindal.

        1. And? Your point?

          You make it sound like it’s a bad thing. It doesn’t to me.


        2. Let them self-certify as pharmacists or doctors, like Rand Paul.

          Rand Paul has a real MD and was certified by the widely accepted certification board as an ophthalmologist. He also decided to found a competing board of ophthalmologists. He saw problems with the existing structure and not much room to improve it, so he tried to make something better. It is disingenuous in the extreme to imply that he just did it to “self-certify”. He was already certified by an external, well recognized authority and did not need to found his own certification board just to stay certified.

      5. Who needs pharmacists? You should be able to look that stuff up online and buy what you need.

      6. Why does anyone need a prescription to buy an otherwise legal product? All drugs should be OTC. Naturally, you can get all the advice you want before buying …. just like when you get new tires for your car.

  16. We must go forwards, not backwards; upwards, not forwards; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

  17. File photo because SOMEBODY decided to eat lunch rather than wait hours in line and ended up in the cheap seats.

    You must deprive yourself for the good of the party, comrade Shackelford.

  18. Cuban/Weld 2020?

  19. . . . .should guarantee that citizens have access for emergency or chronic medical problems.

    I completely agree. This is a pretty standard libertarian position actually. Just ensure that the government does not get in the way of those offering emergency or chronic medical problems (wait – what about acute problems? Are those people just fucked?).

    All the need to do is find a willing provider and agree on a cost.

    Oh, wait – he wants to enslave providers to provide ‘free’ services? No? Then how does he think the costs of this will be covered? OOOOOOOOH, he just wants to enslave *everyone else* to pay providers.

    Yeah, fuck that guy.

    1. “Oh, wait – he wants to enslave providers to provide ‘free’ services? No? Then how does he think the costs of this will be covered? OOOOOOOOH, he just wants to enslave *everyone else* to pay providers.”

      Fantasies always fail on who pays for them.
      If not, the Soviet Union would have taken over the world rather than murdering 60-70M of its citizens.

      1. Be thankful or they’d be doing amphibious landings at Pompano Beach.

  20. OT, the Oroville Dam ‘problem’ in CA.
    Short history:
    The Oroville dam is a keystone of the CA water management system; the largest reservoir. Moonbeam was in office during the last drought (late ’70s) after it was completed, did nothing to increase water storage, but signed the Dills Act to make sure he was able to buy union votes at taxpayer expense, eating up major parts of the state and local budgets.
    This year, CA got rains well within the hundred-year norms, but moonbeam had sworn we were in a permanent drought, ’cause climate change! (…..e-not-hoax )
    The Oroville dam spillway system is in very serious trouble. No one (outside of chemtrail freaks) is yet suggesting the dam will fail, but dam failure isn’t required to cause real harm and major costs. I’ve been watching his guy’s vids for quite a while ( some 18 vids ); he’s done a wonderful job explaining the engineering issues and has been quite sympathetic to the folks involved. Until now.

    1. Cont’d.
      Drilling down (in the jargon), it turns out that the ‘headroom’ available to deal with any emergency has been steadily reduced to the point where *every* system had to perform at 100%, or we are stuck. And some of the systems are already degraded to the point where that is not possible. At the end of this vid, he mentions that the system has been run on ‘crisis management’, and then seems to correct himself to ‘management from crisis-to-crisis’.
      I’m guessing the guy is a run-of-the-mill CA “D” voter; just a guess. It is interesting to see that he is now coming top grips with the pathetic performance of the CA state government.

  21. When did all these douchebag statist narcissists start pretending to be Libertarians? I even remember that leftard moron Markos Moulitsas saying it a few years back, for fuck’s sake.


  22. Mark Cuban is as much a libertarian as most commenters are not Republican.

    1. Yeah the warmth here for Trump, Bush, Mccain etc is just so over the top at reason. They are only slightly less popular than oozing sores but don’t let that perturb your fantasy that everyone will come to the truth and realize Pol Pot or some other similar progressive icon is the way and the light.

    2. “Mark Cuban is as much a libertarian as most commenters are not Republican.”

      She (and YOU) lost. Get over it.

    3. Actually I would say as an equal number of Reason writers.

      If you don’t call BS on Cuban being a libertarian…. you’re not a libertarian. And I really don’t dislike Cuban. Just not a tarian, kinda al.

  23. I don’t buy it….

    He may claim to be a ‘libertarian at heart’, but when it matters (in his pocketbook), he’s a pure corporatist just like every other sports franchise owner. He uses the power of the state to enrich himself.

    Fuck him.

    1. He’s not governed by principles and his comments pretty much reveal this.

      Celebrities are just gonna apply the ‘libertarian’ tag and proceed to be statists.

  24. I see lots of “healthcare is not a right”. Not so much of “government granted monopolies and protected markets” are not a right either.

    Benjamin Tucker’s critique of Herbert Spencer in 1884 applies to many of the commenters on Reason:

    It will be noticed that in these later articles, amid his multitudinous illustrations (of which he is as prodigal as ever) of the evils of legislation, he in every instance cites some law passed, ostensibly at least, to protect labor, alleviate suffering, or promote the people’s welfare. He demonstrates beyond dispute the lamentable failure in this direction. But never once does he call attention to the far more deadly and deep-seated evils growing out of the innumerable laws creating privilege and sustaining monopoly. You must not protect the weak against the strong, he seems to say, but freely supply all the weapons needed by the strong to oppress the weak. He is greatly shocked that the rich should be directly taxed to support the poor, but that the poor should be indirectly taxed and bled to make the rich richer does not outrage his delicate sensibilities in the least. Poverty is increased by the poor laws, says Mr. Spencer. Granted; but what about the rich laws that caused and still cause the poverty to which the poor laws add? That is by far the more important question; yet Mr. Spencer tries to blink it out of sight.

    1. Not so much of “government granted monopolies and protected markets” are not a right either.

      There are plenty of articles in Reason criticizing the notion that government-sanctioned monopolies are detrimental to the economy, to personal freedoms and the market, spaning the years. I’ve visited this page since 2003 and commented since 2005 and I know that you’re either obfuscating or lying, for reasons I can’t yet fathom.

    2. What are you even talking about? The AMA? There are not many defenders of that organization’s government-sanctioned stranglehold on the market here.

      You post the same drivel repeatedly but never bother to explain it or elaborate.

  25. If a toilet falls out of a space lab and hits you on the head,” Cuban joked, you should be guaranteed healthcare….now that’s some good policy thinkin right there…

    1. Somehow I have a feeling this gem will not get as much play in the media as guns and grizzlies in schools which tells you all you need to know about Cuban’s libertarian or even small government bona fides. If he was a threat to the progressive program that comment would be page 1 news with an SNL skit in the works.

    2. In the sense that the owner of the space station should make good the damage done by their faulty toilet installation, sure. Somehow, though, i don’t think that’s where he was going with that example.

    3. What if it’s a bidet?

      1. Then you sue the European Space Agency instead of NASA.

    4. From this statement we can determine that Cuban was a “Dead Like Me” fan.

    5. It’s downright Trumpian! Both its irrelevance and its poor logic. Some Shark.

  26. At SXSW, Mark Cuban Calls Himself a Libertarian ‘at Heart,’ Wants to Be Convinced to Run for President

    Well, okay, i guess we could give him a-

    Also believes some healthcare should be a basic right written into the Constitution.

    Oh. Uh, hmm.

  27. Cuban’s libertarian moment was even shorter than the original.

  28. A Cuban in the White House! Castro is spinning in his grave. (he did, eventually, make it to the grave site, didn’t he?)

    1. he’s got enough RPM to lift off a short runway…

  29. Also believes some healthcare should be a basic right written into the Constitution.

    So he may be a libertarian in heart, but he is not a libertarian at mind.

    1. Libertarian = AMA/ medical cartel? I don’t agree.

  30. One does not use their heart to determine if they are libertarian;one uses their head.

    “Feelings” are of no consequence.

    1. but the feelz and the chidrenz…have you no hart or shamwow?

  31. Cuban and Jillette can form Libertarians for Hillary and back her again next time.

    Actually, Mark Cuban is probably about the best libertarians could hope for — a billionaire with name recognition and some level of business understanding whose first option isn’t government fixing everything. Sort of like Trump might have been if he hadn’t been co-opted by the weird right.

  32. “At heart.” An interesting choice of phrase. Means “I don’t have to take any actual libertarian positions on any real-world problems.” Probably the way, at heart, Al Capone was “a legitimate businessman.:”

  33. But he also made it clear that healthcare shouldn’t be guaranteed for every medical problem, and he thought the terms should be provided by a constitutional amendment.

    Any one who believes that idiocy should not be anywhere near the presidency.

    Not only is health care not a legitimate function of government, but the idea that you should construct an amendment to include some things yet exclude others–such as what gets covered by your health “rights”–is quite shocking, reducing what should be a broad statement of principle restricting government action, to nothing more than ordinary legislation. Let’s try that with the First Amendment, shall we, Mark?

    Cuban is a Third Wayer, a Clinton-Obama clone, using the catchall “libertarian” to flatter and deceive. That said, he represents a substantial segment of the so-called libertarian base for whom liberty has more to do with immigration and social freedoms than a separation of economy and state. In that regard they are essentially Liberals.

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