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Video: Bullock talks love of adopted city and son

  1. Transcript of: Bullock talks love of adopted city and son

    MATT LAUER, co-host: We're back now at 8:09. For Oscar winner and new mom Sandra Bullock this has been the best of times and the worst of times this year. But now she has a new sense of purpose, a school in New Orleans .

    Ms. SANDRA BULLOCK: A school that has close to 100 percent graduation rate, a school that has its very own health clinic. Oh, my God, I'm talking like a politician. No offense. But I need to be doing this; no pointing, only thumbs. I know, I've learned that.

    LAUER: That is Sandra Bullock speaking at the Warren Easton Charter School , which suffered more than $4 million in damages during Hurricane Katrina . Thanks to the generosity of Sandra and other people, that school and its students are now thriving. And that's where I met up with her and school board member Arthur Hardy . I started by asking Arthur how Sandra and the school got connected.

    Mr. ARTHUR HARDY: She found us and she did her due diligence, but called me on a Sunday afternoon. And she said...

    LAUER: She called you personally?

    Mr. HARDY: Yeah. 'This is Sandra Bullock .'

    Ms. BULLOCK: I like to cold call people, just -- people I think are outstanding community...

    LAUER: 'How you doing?'

    Ms. BULLOCK: 'How you doing? What's happening ?'

    Mr. HARDY: You know, I'm in the Mardi Gras business and I deal with crazy people every day. So when she said, 'This is Sandra Bullock '...

    Ms. BULLOCK: I'm sorry.

    Mr. HARDY: ...'Yeah, I'm Clark Gable .' I was about to hang up, you know. Who knows? But, 'No, it really is,' and it really was.

    LAUER: And...

    Mr. HARDY: Pretty cool.

    LAUER: ...tell me how the conversation went.

    Mr. HARDY: She knew what we were all about and I think had done enough work to know we were the real deal. And then once she came and met the kids, it was all over. I didn't have to sell anybody after that.

    LAUER: Money is one thing, though, and something that Arthur has said in an interview in the past, he was saying, 'OK, it's one thing for Sandra Bullock to come in here and give us some of her money or help us raise money.' But you said something else about her. You said she also arrived at a time where we needed a cheerleader.

    Mr. HARDY: Oh, a good one. We really did.

    Ms. BULLOCK: And I was a cheerleader. Not a very good one in high school , but I did my best .

    Mr. HARDY: Well, you're doing pretty well...

    LAUER: I was speaking in more the general sense.

    Ms. BULLOCK: I know, Matt.

    Mr. HARDY: No, that's exactly right. And I believe she thinks, as we do, that public school education is the answer to crime, poverty, prejudice. I mean, a good school system . And we want the whole city system to be good, not just us. We want to be the best among many good schools. And I think we're an example that it can be done. It takes a lot of work, but yes, you can do it .

    LAUER: One of the things that the floodwaters exposed here in this city was this -- I mean, for -- I don't have a better term, abject poverty.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: And the -- and the fear here, I think, in a lot of people's minds in New Orleans is that those same people who were most victimized...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: ...by that hurricane have been left out of the recovery.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: That they aren't the ones who are enjoying the recovery. How do you feel about that?

    Ms. BULLOCK: There are a lot of things that fell through the cracks during the storm, and it was embarrassing. Those cracks exist throughout the United States , throughout the world. And it just sort of opened up something that I don't think people knew about or maybe didn't want to see. But right here under this roof there are souls and spirits and young people who don't come from any money but carry this extraordinary spirit to, like, override that, suck in every ounce of education that the school provides, and get out of here and create a life for them that is beautiful and fulfilling and filled with all those things that they might not have had. It's always going to be the way that people that shouldn't be left behind are left behind . But let this school be an example of how we don't need to leave anyone behind.

    LAUER: We've known each other for a pretty long time. And I...

    Ms. BULLOCK: I don't admit to that.

    LAUER: I will.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Really?

    LAUER: I'm proud of it. I don't know that I've ever heard the level of passion. Where did this passion come from for this particular city?

    Ms. BULLOCK: I spent so many summers and New Year 's and fun times in New Orleans . It was always a place where I felt like I could go and actually let go and enjoy the spirit of something.

    LAUER: Your connection to the city just got deeper officially; you finalized your adoption.

    Ms. BULLOCK: I did. I did. I did.

    LAUER: And Louis 's from New Orleans .

    Ms. BULLOCK: He's from New Orleans .

    LAUER: So, I mean...

    Ms. BULLOCK: He's my little Cajun cookie.

    LAUER: ...you are forever now hitched to this city.

    Ms. BULLOCK: I am. How lucky am I?

    LAUER: What was it like to fine -- when you finalized that, you...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: It's a long process.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Long, long process. As sterile as the room seemed, it felt so rich. It felt like it was time, you know? And the process is the way that the process is for very, very good reasons, and I did not circumvent. I wanted to do everything exactly the same way everyone else did. It was nice to have someone say, 'I think you're a fit parent,' which is what I heard, which was like, ah.

    LAUER: The waterworks began. But you can't celebrate too long, you got to go home and change diapers and feed and things like that.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Oh, yeah. Oh, that.

    LAUER: Kids don't care about celebrations.

    Ms. BULLOCK: He -- no, he does.

    LAUER: He does?

    Ms. BULLOCK: He likes to...

    LAUER: At eight months old?

    Ms. BULLOCK: Oh, he likes to celebrate. He likes to dance and celebrate. He's -- you know what? I got blessed, I got lucky, and he's extraordinary. He's extraordinary.

    LAUER: The nicest thing I read that you said recently, you said, 'Even throughout the whole process, I didn't care what he would look like'...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Unh-unh.

    LAUER: ...or whether it be a he or a she.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: What...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Color, what -- yeah. No.

    LAUER: Anything about it. 'I just had faith that they were going to put me together with the right child.'

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: Where'd that faith come from?

    Ms. BULLOCK: I don't know.

    LAUER: It doesn't always happen that way.

    Ms. BULLOCK: I don't know. You know, everything works out the way the universe wants it to work out. And we'd always said that it didn't matter where the child came from, the child that needed us in the home is the child that's going to be placed.

    LAUER: Looking forward to your future with Louis , you said recently, "I want to feel the sun on our face when we go for a walk, not having to hide anymore, not having my friends and family lie anymore, telling everyone I meet about the most beautiful man I know, including his poop schedule."

    Ms. BULLOCK: Yeah. Pretty regular.

    LAUER: How close are you to that day?

    Ms. BULLOCK: I'm very -- well, the poop schedule's pretty regular, which is good.

    LAUER: That's not what I meant.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Yeah? Well, you brought it up. I'd like to share it with America . He has a healthy poop schedule. He's going to hate me because this'll be...

    Mr. HARDY: Twenty years from now.

    Ms. BULLOCK: 'Mom!'

    LAUER: I'll keep the tape, by the way.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Yeah, would you? Thanks so much. I was saying to a girlfriend of mine, no one understands the shift in priorities about having a child in your life, that you have -- you are responsible for, until you have a child in your life. It naturally shifts. It just shifted the first day I met him and it was like he'd been there the whole time, yet everything was different. But now Louis 's got the stage.

    LAUER: One thing I want -- I want to compliment you on, you've managed to do something this year that is almost impossible.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Just -- hm.

    LAUER: You have, A, kept a secret...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: ...concerning your adoption. And you've found a way to retain privacy...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: ...at a time where it wasn't all that private.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Unh-unh.

    LAUER: It takes friends.

    Ms. BULLOCK: It takes good people with integrity. I mean, I read something like, 'How did someone keep a secret?' And it's -- human beings exist that have integrity, that know how to keep their mouth shut, that know the bigger picture, that don't sell out their friends. Those people are all over the place . But again, we don't like to talk about it because it doesn't sell a magazine.

    LAUER: Yeah.

    Ms. BULLOCK: But I was blessed with the same friends I've had since before things got really special for me and blessed in life, and when things get bad they're still the same friends. And everything passes. It all passes. But they just, you know, they know if they screw up they're not coming on the next vacation, I'm not going to babysit their kids. I will cut them, I will take them down.

    LAUER: No premiere tickets.

    Ms. BULLOCK: No -- they don't really want to go to the premieres, which is kind of nice. But, you know, it's -- I'm -- I have friends and family that are filled with massive amounts of integrity. It shouldn't be an oddity.

    Mr. HARDY: And they all learn two words.

    Ms. BULLOCK: What?

    Mr. HARDY: No comment.

    Ms. BULLOCK: No comment.

    LAUER: Yeah. I was speaking to a local journalist here the other day...

    Ms. BULLOCK: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: ...as part of the anniversary of Katrina , and at the end of him asking me questions he said, 'And do me a favor, be nice to Sandra because she, to us here, is a hero.'

    Ms. BULLOCK: Hm. Wow.

    Mr. HARDY: It's true. It is true.

    Ms. BULLOCK: Making me teary.

    Mr. HARDY: It's true. They have a passion...

    Ms. BULLOCK: It's random acts of kindness .

    Mr. HARDY: This whole city is falling in love with her. She belongs to us. Don't mess with Sandy .

    Ms. BULLOCK: I like that.

    Mr. HARDY: And no, I'm serious. They -- it's like you hurt her, you hurt us, and you better be ready for a fight.

    LAUER: Yeah, they really do love her down there.

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Delicious. She's delicious.

    LAUER: They really, really do. And she's doing great work with that school . There's more on the Warren Easton Charter School at todayshow.com.

Photos: Sandra Bullock

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  1. Veteran of hotness

    Sandra Bullock seems to have it all: Beauty, brains and, according to the Guys Choice Awards in June 2014, a decade's worth of hotness. Matthew McConaughey, Keanu Reeves and Hugh Grant presented her with the prize in Culver City, California. (Paul A. Hebert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Prize winner

    Sandra Bullock dazzled on the red carpet at the March 2014 Oscar ceremony. She was nominated for her role in "Gravity," but did not win. (Jordan Strauss / AP, file) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Colorful pose

    Bullock was one of the nominees at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Jan. 12, 2014. She was nominated for her lead actress role in "Gravity" but went home empty-handed. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Critical favorite

    Bullock's turn in "Gravity" had critics sitting up and taking notice, most notably on Jan. 16, 2014, when she picked up a best actress prize at the 19th annual Critics Choice Movie Awards in Santa Monica, California. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Arm in arm

    They love her, they really love her! Bullock walked away from the 40th annual People's Choice Awards on Jan. 8, 2014, in Los Angeles with three prizes for her work on "Gravity" and "The Heat": favorite movie actress, favorite dramatic movie actress and favorite comedic movie actress. (John Shearer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. 'Gravity'

    In 2013's "Gravity," Bullock plays an astronaut stranded in space and has to find a way to get home, all while coping with the recent death of her daughter. Bullock was alone on screen for most of the movie, and delivered a bravura performance lauded by critics and viewers alike. (Warner Bros. via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Dynamic duo

    "Gravity" co-stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney made a powerful team in the movie. Here, at a special screening for members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Oct. 2, 2013, in New York, they also found ways to crack everyone up. (Brad Barket / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Getting her hands dirty

    Bullock's hand and feet prints were immortalized in concrete in front of the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, on Sept. 25, 2013. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. 'The Heat'

    Bullock and Melissa McCarthy broke ground in 2013 when they starred in "The Heat." The film was the first buddy cop comedy to feature two women in lead roles. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. For a good cause

    Bullock arrives at amfAR's Inspiration Gala in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. The Gala benefits AIDS research worldwide. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Loyal friend

    Bullock accompanies friend and former co-star Ryan Reynolds to the premiere of his film, "The Change-Up," at the Regency Village Theatre on August 1, 2011 in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lady in red

    Bullock was a vision in red on the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Golden

    Bullock arrives at the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, January 16, 2011. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Mother and sun

    Bullock tries to shield her son Louis from the photographers on January 6, 2011 in New York. (Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Lending a hand

    Sandra Bullock was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony for a health clinic at the Warren Easton Charter School in New Orleans on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010. She was joined by (from left) Billy Hatchett, Warren Easton Foundation President, Alexina Medley, Principal, Sandra Bullock and school nurse Cassondra Ferrand. The Kellogg Foundation and the San Francisco 49ers Foundation were the main financial contributors of the $700,000 facility. (Kerry Maloney / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Getting her back into it

    Sandra Bullock, left, gets down with "The Proposal" co-star Betty White during the 2010 Teen Choice Awards at Gibson Amphitheatre, in Universal City, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Double whammy

    Copies of People magazine featuring Sandra Bullock and her newly adopted son Louis Bardo Bullock are show on sale in New York on Wednesday, April 28. The actress announced that she was divorcing her husband Jesse James and that she had secretly adopted the boy in January. (Jeff Christensen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Blindsided?

    Bullock and James celebrated after she won the best actress Oscar on March 7, 2010, for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in the football drama, "The Blind Side." The couple looked happy, but rumors that the marriage was in trouble circulated later in the month, when Bullock abruptly pulled out of participating in the movie's London premiere. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. One from her peers

    Bullock poses with the Screen Actors Guild Award for female actor in a leading role for her work in "The Blind Side" at the 16th annual event at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Jan. 23, 2010. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. 'Monster' man

    Bullock and her husband, "Monster Garage" host Jesse James, arrive at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 23, 2010. (Matt Sayles / AP file) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. On a roll

    Bullock poses with her award for best performance by an actress in a motion picture -- drama for "The Blind Side" at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 17, 2010. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. In the game

    In 2009's "The Blind Side," based on a true story, Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, the mother of a family that takes in Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home. They help him fulfill his potential and with the help of his coaches and adopted family, he becomes an All-American football player. (Warner Bros. Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. 'All About' Sandra

    Bradley Cooper and Bullock arrive at the premiere of Twentieth Century Fox's "All About Steve" held at Mann's Chinese Theater on Wednesday, Aug. 26 in Los Angeles. The film tells the story of a woman who becomes obsessed with a man she's only been on one date with and ends up following him across the country. Bullock later won the Razzie award for worst actress for her role in the film--but it came just one day before she won her best actress Oscar for "The Blind Side." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Giving back

    Bullock talks to high school junior LaShanta Williams on Friday, May 15, 2009, before being inducted into the Warren Easton High School Hall of Fame in New Orleans for her help rebuilding the school after Hurricane Katrina. (Cheryl Gerber / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Decent 'Proposal'

    In 2009's "The Proposal," Bullock plays a pushy boss who forces her young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. Bullock told the TODAY show that the film is not a romantic comedy, but simply a comedy. She's no longer a fan of the rom-com, saying, "They're not comedy and they're not romantic." (Touchstone Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Future shock

    In 2007's "Premonition, Bullock finds out that her husband was in a car crash, but when she sees him the next day, she realizes that she had a premonition and will do anything she can to keep it from coming true. Bullock told the TODAY show that the film's bleak outlook played into her natural impulses. "I worry and I expect the worst out of everything," she said. (TriStar Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Reunited

    ‘Speed’ co-stars Reeves and Bullock reteamed for 2006’s “The Lake House.” In the film, they play a couple who fall in love despite the fact they live in different years. They bond over the house they both live in and trade letters by using the mailbox. "I was a little nervous," Bullock told the TODAY show about reuniting with Reeves. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. True love

    Bullock married motorcycle builder and "Monster Garage" host Jesse James on July 16, 2005. They met when Bullock arranged for her 10-year-old godson to meet James as a Christmas present. She's the stepmother to James' son Jesse Jr. and his daughters Chandler and Sunny. “Thankfully I married someone who loves me just the way I am – and all the nuttiness that goes into me,” Bullock told InStyle magazine. (Eric Charbonneau / WireImage for Vanity Fair Magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Surprise winners

    The cast of "Crash," including Bullock, Matt Dillon and Terence Howard celebrates after the movie beat out favorite "Brokeback Mountain" for the best picture Oscar at 78th Academy Awards on March 5, 2006. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Secretly charitable

    Glamour magazine awarded Bullock the “Undercover Activist” award at the its “Women of the Year” Awards in 2006. The actress was celebrated for quietly donating millions to the Red Cross after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the 2004 tsunami without trying to get publicity for her charitable actions. (Evan Agostini / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Stardom!

    Bullock was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame on March 24, 2005 in Hollywood, Calif. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Rom-com fever

    Hugh Grant plays a billionaire who can't get along without the help of his attorney (Bullock) in 2002's "Two Weeks Notice." But when she gets fed up and decides to quit, Grant realizes that he may be in love with her. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Armed and dangerous

    Bullock got serious for 2002's "Murder By Numbers," in which she plays a crime scene specialist on the trail of two students (Ryan Gosling, Michael Pitt) accused of murder. Bullock briefly dated co-star Gosling. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Ya Ya!

    In 2002's "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," Bullock plays Siddalee, a New York playwright who gets into a fight with her mother (Ellen Burstyn) after she's quoted in Time magazine. It's up to her mother's friends (Fionnula Flanagan, right, Maggie Smith, second from right, and Shirley Knight, left) to explain her mother's history to Siddalee in order to patch up their rift. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Playing to her strengths

    In 2000's "Miss Congeniality," Bullock plays an FBI agent who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant in order to catch a terrorist. But the tomboy agent has to undergo a complete makeover in order to play a believable contestant. "The one thing me and this latest character have in common is we're both slobs," Bullock said. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Here's to Bullock

    Bullock played an alcoholic who reluctantly gets the help she needs in the 2000 film, "28 Days." The film received mixed reviews. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Showing a sultrier side

    Bullock walks onto the stage in a bright orange dress at the VH-1/Vogue Fashion Awards on Dec. 5, 1999 in New York. She introduced singer Beck. (Timothy Clary / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. 'Nature' calls

    In 1999's "Force of Nature," Ben Affleck plays a man who must get from New York to Savannah, Ga., for his wedding but finds himself sidetracked by an eccentric woman (Bullock). (DreamWorks via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. 'Magic' time

    In 1998, Bullock and Nicole Kidman starred as women with witch-like powers in "Practical Magic." But their gifts come with a curse -- any man who falls in love with them is doomed to an untimely death. (Warner Bros. via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. People's Choice

    Bullock was named the favorite motion picture actress for her work in "Hope Floats" at the People's Choice Awards on Jan. 10, 1999. (Gerard Burkhart / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Staying 'Hope'-ful

    In the 1998 film "Hope Floats," Bullock stars as a recently divorced woman who returns with her daughter to her Texas hometown to stay with her mom, played by Gena Rowlands. As she tries to get her life back together, she strikes up an attraction with an old friend, played by Harry Connick Jr. (20th Century Fox via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Sinking sensation

    Bullock reprised her "Speed" role for the ill-fated 1997 film, "Speed 2: Cruise Control." Jason Patric took over for Keanu Reeves in this story about a cruise ship that becomes the target of a computer hacker. Scoring just 2 percent "fresh" on RottenTomatoes.com, the USA Today critic called the film, "A waterlogged sequel that'll soon be bottom-feeding with 'Beyond the Poseidon Adventure.'" (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Hemingway's lady

    In 1996's "In Love and War," Bullock plays a nurse who cares for Ernest Hemingway, played by Chris O'Donnell, during World War I. The film marked a dramatic departure for Bullock, but didn't light up the box office, earning only around $14 million. (New Line Cinema via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. 'Sleeping' beauty

    Bullock won hearts playing a lovelorn subway token taker in 1995's "While You Were Sleeping." She played Lucy, a woman who has a crush on a man she doesn't know and then saves life. He goes into a coma and through a series of misunderstandings his family comes to believe that she is his fiancée. Demi Moore was originally supposed to play Bullock's role. (Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. 'Speed'-y road to success

    Bullock's breakthrough role came in 1994's "Speed." In it, she played a feisty passenger on a city bus who finds herself at the center of a mad bomber's plot to blow up the vehicle if its speed drops below 50 miles per hour. (20th Century Fox via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. The 'Potion' worked

    Bullock starred opposite Tate Donovan in the 1992 film, "Love Potion No. 9." The film tells the story of an elixir that makes people of the opposite sex fall love with each other. The potion must have worked for Donovan and Bullock because the couple dated for four years after meeting on the set. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. 'Working' for a living

    One of Sandra Bullock's early roles was on the short-lived series, "Working Girl," the small screen version of the film that starred Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford. The series only lasted for 12 episodes. (20th Century Fox via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
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