A Clear Choice

Blue America endorsed Bill Ostrander in the 9 person race for the Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo CA-24 congressional seat. He ran a strong issues-oriented campaign, very much in line with Bernie's political revolution, to which he ascribed. He wasn't left standing on election night and voters in the 24th will have to pick between a garden variety careerist Democrat or a corruption-tainted GOP extremist. There are no good choices there. 

A few days ago, Bill called me and told me he's backing another "Berniecrat" though, Wendy Reed, who made it through the primary and will face off against Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in November in the district next door. In line with their policy of never challenging GOP leaders, the DCCC has refused to help Reed take on their onerous task. McCarthy, one of the most corrupt members of Congress-- only Paul Ryan has taken more money from Wall Street than he has this year-- has raised $6,727,189 this cycle something like 200 times more than Reed!

We need to do something about that, since McCarthy is not especially popular there; now a white minority district, with over 36% Hispanic population. CA-23 includes much of Bakersfield and Lancaster, as well as Tehachapi, Rosamond and lots of wide open spaces and national wilderness preserves that McCarthy wants to sell off to developers, including Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.

This morning, Bill sent me this note telling me why he is so enthusiastic about backing Wendy's campaign, over and above just helping her beat the odious McCarthy:

CA-23 is the district next door. The two districts meet at Los Padres National Forest, the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge and at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, space very much valued and cherished by people in both districts and space that Wendy has pledged to protect from rapacious developers. She is a land use planning activist who has worked in the community for 3 decades and, like myself, was immediately drawn to Bernie's values-and-policy oriented campaign. She went back to school to earn a Masters degree in Public Administration and is a land trust founder, and a climate change educator, with experience working with federal, state, county, and local agencies.

I saw a mailer that McCarthy sent out about her called "The Choice Is Clear." It featured a picture of Wendy and Bernie and excoriated her as a liberal. She probably didn't have the resources to create and send out a flier like that herself but I know it brought her a tremendous amount of positive attention. 

I was impressed that her top two platform commitments are (1) to get money out of politics/politics out of government-- as she said, "reversing or superseding Citizens United, eliminating loopholes for contributions, establishing limits for expenditures, excising lobbyists from the halls of government, establishing clear conflict of interest and insider trading restrictions and enforcing them mercilessly, prosecuting patronage at all levels of government, and supporting effective public funding for elections-- to restore representational self-government, and (2) to bring resources to this part of our state to invest in local infrastructure, upgrade the health and safety of our industries, and face the challenges of climate change. These aren't partisan issues and they appeal broadly to people in central California regardless of party ID.

McCarthy was advertising that he is a friend to veterans while he was whipping GOP efforts in Congress to slash Veterans Administration funding and services, and eliminate safety nets for military families. He blamed President Obama for FEMA's denial of services and loans to the Kern River Valley after the Erskine Fire, while he was whipping GOP efforts to slash FEMA funding, staffing, and services. McCarthy and the Republicans even tried to eliminate FEMA as an agency in 2012. 

McCarthy appears to do nothing for central California and nothing for the taxpayers of the 23rd district. That, along with Wendy's reasonable and innovative approach to the problems in our area, ise why I'm asking my supporters and the Blue America members who did so much to help me to contribute to her grassroots campaign today.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Alex Law Makes A Case For ‘Our Revolution’

Many people are celebrating that Wasserman Schultz was finally given the heave-ho as DNC chair a few minutes ago, but that doesn't mean the job is done. She was causing great harm to Democratic Party values long before she was elevated to that post and unless she's thrown out of Congress by Broward and Miami-Dade Democratic voters on August 30, she will continue doing exactly that into the foreseeable future.

That said, it probably wasn't hard to figure out that among all of our wonderful congressional candidates upholding the ideals and values that make up Bernie's political revolution, Alex Law from South Jersey was one of the ones who most impressed us. His energy, his devotion and his strategic way of thinking reminded me of the first Velvet Underground album-- which didn't sell millions but launched the careers of scores of the most important rock bands in the world. The good news is that Alex is just 25 and will have other opportunities for public service. He contacted me this week and offered to help raise money for three of the Blue America candidates he was most impressed with this cycle: Alan Grayson (FL), Zephyr Teachout (NY) and Tim Canova (FL). This is the letter he asked me to send out to our members:

When I needed help in my campaign against political corruption in New Jersey, Blue America was there for me. This organization of committed progressives is an inspiring example of what we can accomplish when we work together. Because of your help, my campaign was able to fight back in a truly meaningful way and lay the foundation that will eventually win against establishment, machine politics.
 
I thank you for your support of my campaign, but our work this campaign season is not done. Three incredible individuals need your help more than ever: Alan Grayson, Tim Canova, and Zephyr Teachout.
 
I know all three of these wonderful candidates, and I personally urge you to support them as well.
 
Alan Grayson has been one of the most active, intelligent Congressman of the last decade. He is locked in a primary battle against an establishment, conservative politician in his run for US Senate in Florida. We need to help Alan win his primary because not only is he the best man for the job, he is also the only person that can make sure Marco Rubio does not return to Washington DC.
 
Tim Canova is one of the bravest politicians in America. We all know how awful Debbie Wasserman Shultz has been, but he actually stepped forward to run against her. Tim has put together one of the best campaigns in the country by tapping into the progressive revolution Bernie began. Not only will Tim make an excellent Congressman, we need Tim to win his primary so that we can shake up the DNC to make it clear that we will not accept the kind of leadership we have seen for too long.
 
Zephyr Teachout is someone I personally admire; she wrote a book called Corruption in America that was part of my inspiration to get into politics. She has been a champion to get big money out of politics working with Professor Lessig at MayDay PAC. Zephyr ran a principled campaign for Governor of New York where she shocked everyone, giving the machine there a real scare. Now, she is mounting one of the most important Congressional campaigns in the country as she has a real chance to flip a red district.
 
Bernie brought progressive politics to the forefront of America’s cultural attention more than any politician in my lifetime. We must continue the good work that he started by making sure leaders like Alan, Tim, and Zephyr are in Washington to fight for us. Join me in supporting them by contributing to their campaigns today.
 
Thank you!

-Alex Law



THIS is what 'Party Unity' Looks Like


Zephyr Teachout, my friend and Blue America endorsed candidate for Congress, just won a terrific victory for all progressives. She will be running in November as the Democratic nominee in New York's 19th Congressional District, a Hudson Valley seat that we can win with Zephyr.

Zephyr is THE authority on campaign finance.   A Fordham University law professor and activist, her book --  Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press, 2014) -- sounded the alarm about the systemic nature of corruption, and how “money in politics” undermines our democracy.

I am writing to ask that you help Zephyr to fight her big-money, Wall Street backed Republican opponent. Zephyr can make it to Congress and be the leading voice on reforming our corrupt democracy, opening the floodgates for real change. But she needs our help. Please consider making a contribution of $5, $25, $100 or more to Zephyr’s campaign.

I am grateful for the support that you and others provided to my campaign and Blue America – a stalwart ally that was first to endorse and provide on-line funding and on-going support of my campaign. And, of course, many other people and organizations moved our campaign forward, especially Bernie Sanders’ endorsement and rally, Representative John Conyers’ endorsement, Raul Grijalva’s endorsement, Democracy for America's strong advocacy on my behalf, National Nurses United, Progressive Democrats of America and my fantastic staff and volunteers.

I have much pride in what we did together. I remain active as a committed progressive advocate of economic, political and social justice, beginning this week when I go to Orlando as a member of the Democratic Party’s National Platform Committee and in my ongoing work to expand Social Security. Thank you again for the opportunity to advance a progressive agenda. Will be in touch...

For now, I ask that you turn your generosity toward Zephyr Teachout, a talented and widely respected academic and advocate who will, with your help, win a seat for progressives in the next Congress.

For Justice and Peace,

--Eric
 
Eric Kingson for Congress
P.O. Box 631
Manlius, N.Y. 13104
eric@erickingson.com



Bao Nguyen Defies The Media--November Ahoy!


Howie:
In November, voters in Orange County will choose between progressive Democrat Bao Nguyen and unsavory DINO, Lou Correa. Blue America has been behind Bao all year and we're asking for fellow progressives to help raise the money he'll need to get out his message and run his grassroots campaign. Here’s a message directly from Bao:


It’s been a tough and bruising primary season for progressive candidates, from the presidential race all the way down to my race for Congress here in Southern California. But I’m excited to announce that because of your support and the support of Blue America, I’ve placed in the top-two primary system, and we’ll be heading to the general election in November. 

Early in the primary, local pundits had reached a consensus: our progressive campaign for Congress stood no chance against two better-known and better-funded opponents. Even on election night, when only absentee votes had been counted, but nothing from the polls and no provisional ballots had yet been processed, people in the media and elsewhere were already declaring victory for a different candidate. 

But we didn't give up. We knew there were more ballots to be counted, so we sent volunteers to the registrar to make sure every vote was counted fairly. Every day, we climbed up in the vote count and narrowed the gap. Eventually, we passed up our opponent who had supposedly already won, and we haven't looked back.

But the fight isn't over, and we're facing an uphill battle against a much better funded opponent.

What the experts don’t get is that this election was never about who has the most money. It’s always been about hardworking middle and working class families. Washington is broken, and we know that sending another politician who’s in the pocket of special interests isn’t going to fix it.

We need to elect a representative who has a record of fighting corruption, not participating in it. The era of big money, special interests, and corporate lobbyists running Washington is over.

The progressive movement is just beginning. The American people aren’t bought and paid for, so why should our Congress be? Let’s vote for political courage this election. Let’s give ‘em hell

Yours truly,

Bao Nguyen
Mayor of Garden Grove
Congressional Candidate CA 46



Zephyr Teachout Can Make A Real Difference In Corrupted, Despised Congress

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Credit: AP Images

Wednesday the democratically-run nurses union, National Nurses United, announced their endorsement of Zephyr Teachout for an open, blue-leaning district in the Upper Hudson Valley and the Catskills. It's ironic that the DCCC refuses to endorse in the race, fearing Teachout's independence, progressive perspective and obvious leadership potential. The Nurses Union president, Karen Higgins said that Zephyr "has a proven record of standing-up to special interests and putting people first. We need someone in Washington who we can trust to take on the establishment and fight for health care for all people, confront the great disparities of wealth in this country, and get big money out of politics." You can imagine how a message like that scares DCCC bosses.

Blue America has long championed Zephyr's message for driving big money and corruption out of the electoral process and for working towards a more equitable and just society. We endorsed her run for governor of New York and we endorsed her on the day she announced she's running for Congress-- in a district where she won over 60% of the vote against Andrew Cuomo. Before that she was the first National Director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan organization that works to make Congress more open and transparent. After the crash of 2008, she helped start an organization to break up big banks that had become "too big to fail" and have damaged community-level small businesses.

Earlier today she told us that "the techtonic plates in American politics are shifting-- there are real dangers if we go the wrong direction, but the shake-up also creates an opening. It is critical time to elect new Congressmembers and down-ballot candidates across the country who are totally committed to greater political equality, economic fairness, and 100% renewable energy. Even more important is a proven willingness to stand up to power-- the only way we are going to get out of the over-reach of billionaires and a few big companies is if millions of people stand up, organize, go door-to-door and vote, not just for the Presidential campaign, but as part of a national campaign to revive democracy and replace corrupt systems with fair ones."

That's a message that should resonate strongly with every member of Blue America. Zephyr's Hudson Valley district is very winnable-- as long as she has the resources to get her message out. Please consider helping her do just that.

And remember, there's no such thing as a contribution too small. In a grassroots race like this-- where she will be facing one of two big-money Republicans, who have already collectively spent over a million dollars battling each other. This race isn't going to be a cakewalk but it's one Zephyr can win and, by so doing, make a significant impact on that den of iniquity known as Congress.



Blue America Billy Joel Contest: Tom Suozzi's in a NY-03 State of Mind

Many progressives were gratified to learn that corrupt Blue Dog Steve Israel would not be seeking reelection. Unfortunately, Israel is working to install one of his cronies, Steve Stern, in his seat. Fortunately, a far better known and respected former Nassau County Executive, Tom Suozzi, is running for the seat. Tom is known all through Long Island and New York as someone who is un-bought and un-bossed, a reformer who isn't interested in special interests, just the legitimate interests of the working families in his constituency. He's running on his record of achievements for the people of Long Island in a district that stretches from Kings Park in Suffolk County, through Huntington, Bethpage, Glen Cove and Great Neck in Nassau into the Whitestone and Beechhurst sections of Queens.

Israel pulled one of his ugly little tricks of having one of his lackeys challenge Tom's petition signatures but a judge ruled the challenges were without edit and threw them out. Meanwhile, Tom has spent his time meeting with voters in 15 townhall meetings in the 3 counties that make up the district and listening to what they want out of Washington and talking about his plans to help bring down the cost of higher education, protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and guarantee equal pay for equal work for women. His unofficial campaign motto is "More skills, more jobs, more wages."

On Friday, May 27, Tom is hosting an event at the Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden. He's given Blue America two pairs of tickets and we're going to give them away to two random contributors who donate to his campaign on this page. Tom goes way back with Billy Joel, over twenty years to when he was first elected mayor of Glen Cove, having, like all Long Island kids, grown up on Joel's music.

The contest ends Wednesday, May 25 and we'll notify the winners on Thursday. And, yes, the tickets are transferable. So... if you live in Allentown or Vienna and can't make it to Manhattan next week you can give the tickets to a couple of friends in Jericho, Syosset or Hicksville.



Volunteers? Bob Poe Is Paying His $15 an Hour-- An Actual Living Wage

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Credit: Daily Kos

Florida's newly, court-ordered redistricted 10th district in the Orlando area is so much bluer than it was under the state legislator's gerrymandered boundaries that the Republican incumbent, Daniel Webster, packed his bags and moved to another, redder district. There are 4 Democrats appealing to Democratic primary voters for the nomination but, as they do, the DCCC has intervened on behalf of the least suitable and most conservative of the candidates. Instead, we'd like you to consider the most competent and progressive of the candidates, Bob Poe.

Today, though, we want to tell you about a field program that Bob is running unlike any filed operation you've never seen before. Because he spends his time the way candidates should-- knocking on doors and talking to voters-- Bob learned early that one of the biggest problems in his district was a lack of opportunity for people with criminal records. They've paid their debt to society, but couldn't get jobs, housing, or car loans, which means they were utterly stuck, with no chance to build any kind of economic security or provide for their families.

Bob likes to say that "in order to make a difference, you have to be a difference." Well, Bob decided not to wait until he gets to Congress to start making a difference. That's why he started the Second Chance hiring program for his field staff. Instead of relying on volunteers or unpaid interns for his campaign, Bob hosted 3 job fairs in the district and ended up giving 30 field positions to people with records of conviction or incarceration. Most importantly, because Bob believes in walking the talk about progressive values, their campaign is paying those field staffers $15 an hourThat's the kind of person we need in Congress living our values and standing up for progressive issues. 

As you can see, Bob isn't running a typical campaign, doing whatever Democratic insiders tell him to-- unlike his reactionary New Dem, corporatist opponent, Val "I lost my gun" Demings.

Despite years working to elect Democrats and promote economic populist issues, Bob is running is own campaign, fueled by community members he's worked with for decades and the kind of grassroots support that shows he's a man who represents the people. Bob's campaign is supporting a $15 minimum wage, expanding Social Security, equal pay for equal work, comprehensive immigration reform, and reducing gun violence. 

At a time when there's so little trust and faith in our leaders in Washington, Bob stands out as his own man, running his own campaign and promoting the progressive values and issues that we all share, no matter whether the establishment Democrats are on board or not. One thing's already been made clear: a Congressman Bob Poe will be the same as candidate Bob Poe-- speaking up for the people and working to advance real progressive change in our communities. Please give what you can to help him today.



What Would It Be Like To Have Your Own Personal Jesus in The Senate?


The Grayson for Senate campaign is getting close to having it's 100,000th contributor. The 100,000th contribution will happen in the next few days. And whoever that 100,000th person is, Blue America will be proud to award them a platinum album as rare in the world of Depeche Mode collectibles, as is Alan Grayson’s "policy of truth" within this corrupt Congress.

The 1991 "Violator" album went platinum in Mexico and Warner Bros Music Mexico, the Depeche Mode label there made a dozen hand-crafted awards and one of those gorgeous plaques is the one that is being given away to the 100,000th donor. Grayson's average contribution is $18.12.

Some people give $1,000 and some people give $5.00 but whatever you contribute to Grayson on our special Depeche Mode “Violator” page doesn't make it more or less likely that you'll be the "winner" of the plaque. Whether the 100,000th person gives $10 or $2,000, he or she will get the plaque.

Alan Grayson is the one of the most valuable members of Congress, if not the most valuable member. He's accomplished more than any other member from either party and has been a leader on issues from fiscal responsibility and peace to health care and consumer protection. He's an independent-minded, brilliant congressman and is very much needed in the Senate to hold McConnell and Schumer to a higher standard.

Grayson's Republican-turned-New-Dem primary opponent, Patrick Murphy, is the top recipient of Wall Street money among any candidate for the U.S. Senate who isn't an incumbent. Murphy pushes Wall Street's agenda in the House Financial Services Committee and the banksters have rewarded Murphy with $1,054,300 so far, the only none incumbent candidate from either party already over a million dollars. Murphy is Wall Street's #1 priority. Grayson doesn't get bankster money. He's dependent on small dollar contributors like us.

The race for the open Senate seat from Florida is one of the most important of the cycle. And this week, any contribution to Grayson's Senate campaign on the special Blue America "Violator" page means you could be the lucky 100,000th contributor and own the very rare, very collectible Depeche Mode Mexican platinum award-- not to mention help Alan win a seat in the Senate where he'll be working alongside Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown.



A Progressive Veteran Will Serve Long Island's Changing Demographics Much Better Than Peter King

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DuWayne Gregory is the presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature. In 2010, redistricting moved Peter King's Nassau County district significantly east into Suffolk County, a “significantly bluer” part of Suffolk County. Because King is a longtime political ally of Steve Israel the DCCC has never challenged his seat— and discouraged local Democrats who have.

DuWayne enlisted in the Army after graduating from college and earned airborne jump wings, so he’s not intimidated by the gaggle of political hacks in Washington. The newly-drawn second CD is home for Dwayne; but new territory to King. This area saw Obama beat McCain 51-48% and saw the president increase his share of the vote four years later when he beat Romney 52-47%. This district is absolutely ready to flip from red to blue

King has represented the more Republican Nassau County part of the district in Congress since 1992. Some of the garbage Ted Cruz was spewing last week-- patrolling communities where Muslims live-- comes straight from the mouth of Peter King, who has used his position to divide his constituents and demonize Muslim-Americans; calling for surveillance of mosques and claiming— without substantiation of any kind— that "85% of Imams" have been radicalized. This kind of bigotry may work in backward parts of Texas but the South Shore of Long Island is not Texas.

As the most Hispanic of any of the Long Island districts (23% Latino), many NY-02 residents were shocked when they read that their own congressman sponsored a bill to deny citizenship to natural born Americans if their parents were not U.S. citizens. Nor were they pleased to see him sponsoring a bill that called for “English only” in government communications. Needless to say, the bigoted King was not a supporter of the comprehensive immigration bill passed by a wide bipartisan majority in the Senate.

Overall, Gregory’s outlook leads in a very different direction from King's. His concerns are about fighting for the middle class, not maintaining a status quo for the very wealthy and for corporate special interests. His goals are to be part of the congressional team that will increase the minimum wage, guarantee college affordability, increase child care credits, provide healthcare credits for healthcare providers and fight for good paying jobs.

When he was endorsed by New York's Working Families Party, Long Island Political Director Emily Abbott noted that "DuWayne has put politics aside to get things done for working families. Washington needs people like DuWayne Gregory who will fight to ensure that all of Long Island’s families and small businesses have a fair shot to succeed."

In his own communications to Long Islanders, Duwayne stresses his own record of inclusion and vows to go to Washington "to fight for fairness for all Americans by working to bring about justice reform" and to "ensure that no one is treated differently because of their race or economic status when it comes to our justice system." He's one veteran who has every intention of going to Washington to ensure that "the problems with the VA never happen again to our war veterans" and to "work to provide quality healthcare to every veteran in need." Last week, he was endorsed for the seat by VoteVets. 

Peter King's antiquated perspective on women doesn't work in NY-02, not in 2016. He voted against equal pay for women and his anti-choice extremism belies his claims to be a "moderate." Moderates, unlike King, don't oppose women's choice even in cases of rape and incest. "The disparity of pay between men and women doing the same work is unjustifiable and I'll never forget when I'm in Congress that my constituents don't want any part of that," DuWayne told us. "Nor will I ever countenance the government coming between a woman and her doctor or her minister or whomever she choses to consult about her intimate health matters. My opponent talks about government getting off the backs of our people. I don't know how he squares that with his extreme positions on women's choice and his shameful, ideological vote to defund Planned Parenthood."

Once again, the DCCC is trying to give Peter King a free pass. Please help Duwayne Gregory put an end to that right now. If the Democrats are going to win back the House, it's going to be with proven progressive leaders in moderate suburban districts like NY-02.



Wall St. Hopes You Won't Give to Donna Edwards' Money Bomb

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Credit: Edwards Campaign FB

Donna Edwards has been an active and effective part of the progressive community for decades, and one of the most effective and steadfast progressive leaders inside Congress for a progressive agenda that advances the legitimate aspirations of working families. Her opponent in the race for Maryland's open Senate seat, Chris Van Hollen, is another cog in the machine that Thomas Frank was writing about when he lamented to Thom Harmann that the Democratic Party has been turning its back on working families to cater to the special corporate interests, Wall Street and the Top 10%. In 22 days early voting begins for the April 26 primary election.

Goal Thermometer

The financial forces behind the establishment have lined up behind Van Hollen and have bloated his campaign chest. As of the December 31 FEC filing report he had already amassed $6,295,124. Donna's grassroots campaign has brought in $2,166,226. Van Hollen has already outspent her two to one but she leads in the polls by as much as 10%. Unfortunately, Wall Street and other corporate special interests have rushed to his side and he now has ten times more money on hand than she does and plans to swamp the airwaves with more false attack ads she will be unable to respond to.

Schumer has made sure the Financial Sector was aboard Van Hollen's train and it has stepped up to the tune of $390,807 so far, in gratitude to the Ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee who always made sure the banksters' priorities were covered. Although he is trying to wiggle out of his reactionary positions for the primary, Van Hollen has supported the job-killing trade policies that have devastated American manufacturing and has advocated "saving" Social Security by cutting benefits, the kind of "saving" Paul Ryan and the Republicans advocate under the guise of "compromise."

Last May, the New York Times recognized the Maryland race as "a fight over the future of the Democratic Party... a fight over what a true Democrat should, and should not, be."

Although our top reason for backing Donna is about electing a proven and effective progressive fighter, we're cognizant that if she wins she'll make history as the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland-- and only the second black woman in the history of the Senate.

The fact that she's taken a pledge to not take a dime from the Wall Street banks; has led the fight against the TPP; has been a strong defender of Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose; a leader on equality; and is fighting for every family-- regardless of zip code, has led Blue America to endorse her and to ask you to chip into her money bomb this week.

She's shown that she's not afraid to lead on issues we care about: Medicare for all, marriage equality-- she was the first member of Congress in Maryland to publicly endorse the idea, far before it was a "safe" position for establishment Democrats-- and she actually took a stand against her own party's Republican-like gerrymandering.

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It's important to remember that Donna’s personal experience is tied to being an African-American single mom who founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence, fought developers in her neighborhood, and won her first race for Congress against a corrupt Democrat bought by special interests. That informs her policy positions and, in a Congress dominated by well-off white males, it matters. We backed her in every race she's ever run and America-- and an increasingly off-the-rails Democratic Party-- need her voice at the table in Washington.




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