Castellanos: GOP convention’s winners and losers


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Presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers his acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, August 30.Presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers his acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, August 30.

Attendees celebrate as confetti and balloons drop after Romney's speech.Attendees celebrate as confetti and balloons drop after Romney’s speech.

Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan take the stage with their families at the end of the night.Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan take the stage with their families at the end of the night.

People bow their heads for the benediction to wrap up the GOP convention.People bow their heads for the benediction to wrap up the GOP convention.

Romney and Ryan wave to the audience after Romney's speech, which described a future of opportunity and promise for the nation.Romney and Ryan wave to the audience after Romney’s speech, which described a future of opportunity and promise for the nation.

Romney greets supporters as he enters the arena Thursday.Romney greets supporters as he enters the arena Thursday.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduces Romney after his speech.Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduces Romney after his speech.

Delegates wave signs on the final day of the RNC.Delegates wave signs on the final day of the RNC.

 Actor Clint Eastwood speaks as a surprise guest. Actor Clint Eastwood speaks as a surprise guest.

Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, and son Josh sit in the VIP box.Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, and son Josh sit in the VIP box.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks on stage.Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks on stage.

A man holds an American flag in the audience.A man holds an American flag in the audience.

Pam Finlayson speaks during the convention.Pam Finlayson speaks during the convention.

Jane Edmonds, the former Massachusetts secretary of workforce, delivers remarks.Jane Edmonds, the former Massachusetts secretary of workforce, delivers remarks.

Olympians and gold medalists Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode stand on stage at the convention.Olympians and gold medalists Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode stand on stage at the convention.

A woman clasps her hands during the program.A woman clasps her hands during the program.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, speak during a tribute to former president Ronald Reagan on Thursday.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, speak during a tribute to former president Ronald Reagan on Thursday.

Callista and Newt Gingrich take the stage during the final day of the Republican National Convention.Callista and Newt Gingrich take the stage during the final day of the Republican National Convention.

Delegates listen to the national anthem at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Delegates listen to the national anthem at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry applauds during the final day of the convention.Texas Gov. Rick Perry applauds during the final day of the convention.

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Florida, speaks on stage during the final day.U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Florida, speaks on stage during the final day.

Law enforcement officials work to free protesters with Earth First, who had connected themselves to each other in front of the Big Bend TECO Power Station in Apollo Beach, Florida. Substantially fewer protesters took to the downtown Tampa streets Thursday.Law enforcement officials work to free protesters with Earth First, who had connected themselves to each other in front of the Big Bend TECO Power Station in Apollo Beach, Florida. Substantially fewer protesters took to the downtown Tampa streets Thursday.

GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan addresses the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan addresses the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.

Paul Ryan's wife, Janna, is flanked by her sons Charlie, left, and Sam during Ryan's keynote address Wednesday night.Paul Ryan’s wife, Janna, is flanked by her sons Charlie, left, and Sam during Ryan’s keynote address Wednesday night.

A woman grasps her hands during speeches on the third day of the GOP convention.A woman grasps her hands during speeches on the third day of the GOP convention.

Paul Ryan and his wife and children exit the stage after the biggest speech of his political career.Paul Ryan and his wife and children exit the stage after the biggest speech of his political career.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday. She accused President Barack Obama of yielding the nation's leadership role in the world.Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday. She accused President Barack Obama of yielding the nation’s leadership role in the world.

George Engelbach, dressed as President Abraham Lincoln, attends the GOP convention.George Engelbach, dressed as President Abraham Lincoln, attends the GOP convention.

Mike Huckabee, a Republican candidate in the 2008 presidential primaries, backs his one-time rival Mitt Romney.Mike Huckabee, a Republican candidate in the 2008 presidential primaries, backs his one-time rival Mitt Romney.

A woman snaps an image with her iPhone during Wednesday night's events.A woman snaps an image with her iPhone during Wednesday night’s events.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty takes the convention stage.Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty takes the convention stage.

Delegate Carlos Mendez of Puerto Rico watches Wednesday night's program.Delegate Carlos Mendez of Puerto Rico watches Wednesday night’s program.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez delivers remarks. Her speech emphasized her belief in the American Dream.New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez delivers remarks. Her speech emphasized her belief in the American Dream.

Delegate Crystal Berg of Hartford, Wisconsin, cries while watching the George H.W. Bush tribute Wednesday night.Delegate Crystal Berg of Hartford, Wisconsin, cries while watching the George H.W. Bush tribute Wednesday night.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, speaks to the audience.Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, speaks to the audience.

As Sen. John McCain speaks, some audience members display happy birthday posters.As Sen. John McCain speaks, some audience members display happy birthday posters.

Sen. John McCain, who was a POW during the Vietnam War, addresses the crowd.Sen. John McCain, who was a POW during the Vietnam War, addresses the crowd.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention.

Col.Oscar Poole of Georgia puts his arm around Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.Col.Oscar Poole of Georgia puts his arm around Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention. His father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, was one of the hopefuls for the 2012 nomination.Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention. His father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, was one of the hopefuls for the 2012 nomination.

Former President George W. Bush is shown on the giant screens at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Former President George W. Bush is shown on the giant screens at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

A woman gestures during the third day of the Republican National Convention.A woman gestures during the third day of the Republican National Convention.

Rosemary Edwards of Austin, Texas, kisses the face of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.Rosemary Edwards of Austin, Texas, kisses the face of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention.Sen. John Thune of South Dakota speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention.

A woman holds a campaign sign.A woman holds a campaign sign.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio speaks at the podium.Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio speaks at the podium.

Delegates from Maine and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul chant As Maine goes, so goes the nation after they staged a walkout at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Delegates from Maine and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul chant “As Maine goes, so goes the nation” after they staged a walkout at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Paul Ryan speaks during a soundcheck Wednesday.Paul Ryan speaks during a soundcheck Wednesday.

Ryan waves with daughter, Liza Ryan, and sons, Charlie Ryan, right, and Sam Ryan from the stage during a soundcheck.Ryan waves with daughter, Liza Ryan, and sons, Charlie Ryan, right, and Sam Ryan from the stage during a soundcheck.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney exits a vehicle before boarding his campaign plane. As the Republican National Convention continues, Romney will travel to Indianapolis to address the American Legion. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney exits a vehicle before boarding his campaign plane. As the Republican National Convention continues, Romney will travel to Indianapolis to address the American Legion.

Laura Bowman accepts Bradley Thompson's proposal on the stage. Thompson is a production manager and Bowman is a production coordinator for the convention. Laura Bowman accepts Bradley Thompson’s proposal on the stage. Thompson is a production manager and Bowman is a production coordinator for the convention.

Arizona Sen. John McCain walks the floor.Arizona Sen. John McCain walks the floor.

Bradley Thompson kneels down to propose to Laura Bowman, who accepted, on the stage. Bradley Thompson kneels down to propose to Laura Bowman, who accepted, on the stage.

Journalists and media work the third day of the Republican National Convention.Journalists and media work the third day of the Republican National Convention.

Ryan gives the thumbs-up during a sound check at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Ryan gives the thumbs-up during a sound check at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Ann Romney, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife, greets a crowd of supporters on Tuesday.Ann Romney, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, greets a crowd of supporters on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney joins his wife on stage shortly after she addressed the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday, August 28. Mitt Romney joins his wife on stage shortly after she addressed the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday, August 28.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers the keynote address to wrap up the first full night of the convention.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers the keynote address to wrap up the first full night of the convention.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sits between his wife, Ann, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during Gov. Chris Christie's speech.Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sits between his wife, Ann, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during Gov. Chris Christie’s speech.

Concluding the first night of speech, Chris Christie declared Republicans were willing to face the tough issues and find solutions that work.Concluding the first night of speech, Chris Christie declared Republicans were willing to face the tough issues and find solutions that work.

Delegates watch Gov. Chris Christie deliver the keynote address.Delegates watch Gov. Chris Christie deliver the keynote address.

A delegate snaps a photograph of Chris Christie just before his speech.A delegate snaps a photograph of Chris Christie just before his speech.

As the crowd cheers, Mitt Romney embraces his wife, Ann, on stage during the convention.As the crowd cheers, Mitt Romney embraces his wife, Ann, on stage during the convention.

An excerpt from Ann Romney's speech is displayed on a teleprompter Tuesday. She repeatedly referred to her first date with Mitt Romney in urging Americans to trust him to fix the nation's problems.An excerpt from Ann Romney’s speech is displayed on a teleprompter Tuesday. She repeatedly referred to her first date with Mitt Romney in urging Americans to trust him to fix the nation’s problems.

A veteran claps during Ann Romney's speech.A veteran claps during Ann Romney’s speech.

Ann Romney addresses the crowd in the biggest political speech of her life. She concluded by declaring you can trust Mitt.Ann Romney addresses the crowd in the biggest political speech of her life. She concluded by declaring “you can trust Mitt.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum addresses the crowd Tuesday.Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum addresses the crowd Tuesday.

Leslie Jones of Virginia Beach, Virginia, wears a hat with tea bags attached.Leslie Jones of Virginia Beach, Virginia, wears a hat with tea bags attached.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich waves as he takes the stage.Ohio Gov. John Kasich waves as he takes the stage.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich walks the floor.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich walks the floor.

American pop opera singer Neal E. Boyd performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.American pop opera singer Neal E. Boyd performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

American country and gospel vocal quartet Oak Ridge Boys perform.American country and gospel vocal quartet Oak Ridge Boys perform.

Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who is running for the U.S. Senate, speaks.Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who is running for the U.S. Senate, speaks.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley waves on stage.South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley waves on stage.

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis speaks. He changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican earlier this year.Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis speaks. He changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican earlier this year.

Delegates crowd the floor after the tallying of votes during the roll call for nomination of president of the United States at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Delegates crowd the floor after the tallying of votes during the roll call for nomination of president of the United States at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Delegates display signs in support of Mitt Romney after the tallying of votes during the roll call for nomination of president of the United States.Delegates display signs in support of Mitt Romney after the tallying of votes during the roll call for nomination of president of the United States.

Scott Romney, brother of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, cheers during the roll call.Scott Romney, brother of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, cheers during the roll call.

People cheer as the screen displays Over The Top during the roll call of delegates.People cheer as the screen displays “Over The Top” during the roll call of delegates.

Supporters flash posters supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Supporters flash posters supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

People hold signs that say Mitt! as U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks.People hold signs that say “Mitt!” as U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks.

Delegates from host state Florida face photographers and cameras as they pose for the official convention photograph.Delegates from host state Florida face photographers and cameras as they pose for the official convention photograph.

A delegate takes a picture of the floor at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.A delegate takes a picture of the floor at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Ann Romney, Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's wife, stands onstage with stage manager Howard Kolins during a soundcheck.Ann Romney, Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s wife, stands onstage with stage manager Howard Kolins during a soundcheck.

People from the Texas delegation say the Pledge of Allegiance.People from the Texas delegation say the Pledge of Allegiance.

A delegate from Wisconsin sports a cheese hat at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.A delegate from Wisconsin sports a cheese hat at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Ann Romney leans on a seat aboard the campaign plane en route to Tampa.Ann Romney leans on a seat aboard the campaign plane en route to Tampa.

Karl Rove, former deputychief of staff and senior policy adviser to President George W. Bush, talks on a phone at the convention hall.Karl Rove, former deputychief of staff and senior policy adviser to President George W. Bush, talks on a phone at the convention hall.

Republican candidate Ron Paul waves to supporters at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Republican candidate Ron Paul waves to supporters at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

A woman cheers during the second day of the Republican National Convention.A woman cheers during the second day of the Republican National Convention.

A delegate checks out the convention floor before other delegates arrive at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.A delegate checks out the convention floor before other delegates arrive at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

A convention attendee carries a bag with a Time magazine featuring Mitt Romney on the cover.A convention attendee carries a bag with a Time magazine featuring Mitt Romney on the cover.

A participant walks the convention floor before the start of proceedings Tuesday. Organizers pushed events back a day because of concerns about Isaac.A participant walks the convention floor before the start of proceedings Tuesday. Organizers pushed events back a day because of concerns about Isaac.

The Republican National Convention officially began Monday, August 27, but the bulk of the action was delayed until Tuesday.The Republican National Convention officially began Monday, August 27, but the bulk of the action was delayed until Tuesday.

A woman captures the goings-on with her phone before the start of the shortened first day of the Republican National Convention.A woman captures the goings-on with her phone before the start of the shortened first day of the Republican National Convention.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, convenes the convention with a bang of a gavel.The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, convenes the convention with a bang of a gavel.

Priebus raises the gavel as he convenes the Republican National Convention.Priebus raises the gavel as he convenes the Republican National Convention.

Lynne David walks behind a group of law enforcement officers as they patrol the streets before the convention.Lynne David walks behind a group of law enforcement officers as they patrol the streets before the convention.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks through the convention center before the start of the abbreviated first day.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks through the convention center before the start of the abbreviated first day.

Last-minute adjustments are made to the main stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the abbreviated first day of the GOP convention.Last-minute adjustments are made to the main stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the abbreviated first day of the GOP convention.

An elephant logo is featured on the side of a tent outside of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.An elephant logo is featured on the side of a tent outside of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Two convention-goers wear plastic bags as shelter from the rain caused by Tropical Storm Isaac.Two convention-goers wear plastic bags as shelter from the rain caused by Tropical Storm Isaac.

A man reads a newspaper in the empty seats of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.A man reads a newspaper in the empty seats of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, left, stands at the podium with stage manager Howard Kolins before events begin Monday.Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, left, stands at the podium with stage manager Howard Kolins before events begin Monday.

Men wearing cowboy hats stand on the arena floor before the start of the abbreviated first day.Men wearing cowboy hats stand on the arena floor before the start of the abbreviated first day.

Convention staff hang a Romney-Ryan sign at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Sunday, August 26, in preparation for the Republican National Convention.Convention staff hang a Romney-Ryan sign at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Sunday, August 26, in preparation for the Republican National Convention.

A tribute to NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died Saturday, August 25, is displayed at the GOP convention as preparations continue.A tribute to NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died Saturday, August 25, is displayed at the GOP convention as preparations continue.

Donald Trump, who accepted the Statesman of the Year Award from the Sarasota County Republican Party, answers questions in Sarasota, Florida.Donald Trump, who accepted the Statesman of the Year Award from the Sarasota County Republican Party, answers questions in Sarasota, Florida.

A microphone is in place at the front of the convention hall in Tampa.A microphone is in place at the front of the convention hall in Tampa.

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks in the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida in Tampa on Sunday.Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks in the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida in Tampa on Sunday.

Activists hold signs mocking President Barack Obama at the Tea Party Unity Rally at The River at Tampa Bay Church.Activists hold signs mocking President Barack Obama at the Tea Party Unity Rally at The River at Tampa Bay Church.

Police officers question protesters carrying an effigy of Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a demonstration in downtown Tampa.Police officers question protesters carrying an effigy of Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a demonstration in downtown Tampa.

Rachel Bolch Thach tries to shelter herself from the rain in Tampa. Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to bring rain and wind to the area and has caused convention officials to delay the start of the convention until Tuesday.Rachel Bolch Thach tries to shelter herself from the rain in Tampa. Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to bring rain and wind to the area and has caused convention officials to delay the start of the convention until Tuesday.


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Editor’s note: Alex Castellanos, a CNN contributor, is a Republican consultant and the co-founder of Purple Strategies. Follow him on Twitter: @alexcast

Tampa, Florida (CNN) — The 2012 GOP convention in Tampa has just ended. It is not too early, however, to draw a few conclusions.

My takeaways from this fine event are as follows:

Ann Romney added dimension to Mitt Romney. We see more in him now, through her eyes, if not our own.

Paul Ryan passed the first and most important test of a VP nominee, “Do no harm.” Ryan did not say he could see the deficit from his porch.

Alex Castellanos

Ryan helps because he adds the prospect of action and reform to the ticket, helping lead them into the future. He is an agent of change. What Barack Obama had last time in a slogan, “hope and change,” Mitt Romney has now in a running mate.

Condoleezza Rice would have been a great VP pick and needs to be somewhere in a Romney administration. This woman can play more than golf.

Susana Martinez is moving up fast on the outside rail for national office but has a long way to go.


Eastwood uses empty chair as prop


Rubio: Obama is a bad president


Romney’s speech: Did he win the crowd?

President Obama tried to send Joe Biden to Tampa, but our VP had to cancel because of the storm. Both the Obama campaign and Republicans were disappointed.

Conventions are ridiculously overburdened with security. Note to the Secret Service: If you put “Secret Service” on your vest in big yellow letters, it is no longer a secret.

When you start talking about humanizing your candidate, you are dehumanizing your candidate.

If Obama loses, “you didn’t build that” may become the biggest gaffe in presidential campaign history, and the most revealing, too.

If nothing else, the Christie speech proved we are the party of the Big Tent.

There is a great bar in Ybor City, the Bad Monkey. You don’t have to bring a bad monkey to enter. They have plenty and, upon request, will fly a screaming “bad monkey” for you.

Conventions, as part of a campaign, have to change what people think. Nearly 70% of Americans think we are on the wrong track. Chris Christie told us we were on the wrong track. If you tell voters what they already know, they stay where they already are.

Wisconsin may lose a congressman, but Romney has gained a son. If anything happens to Romney, Ryan will become president and inherit one-sixth of Romney’s money.

Rand Paul’s speech was chloroform via teleprompter. He lacks his father’s wit and humor. The next lap of Paulites are in big trouble.

In politics, winning isn’t everything: You can still lose by winning the wrong war. Republicans may win the war over Medicare while they should be fighting a more relevant conflict, the war to create jobs and growth.

Ryan is a catfish noodler. He wades into a muddy river, sticks his hand in a catfish’s mouth and pulls it out of a hole. We now have a perfectly balanced ticket because my guess is Romney has never done that.

The next Republican to place a convention in a hurricane zone in August will have his head held under water for the duration of any storm.

Chris Christie may be a force, but he is not yet a leader. Babe Ruth, disappointingly, bunted.

Marco Rubio is “The Natural.” The most important part of his wonderful speech was its generosity. He toned his speech down to serve his primary purpose. Rubio set up the man he was nominating, Romney.

Clint Eastwood can’t do improv. He may have hurt Clint Eastwood, but he didn’t hurt Mitt Romney. If Woody Allen is right and 80% of success is showing up, then Eastwood was successful. Joe Six Pack in Ohio will remember that Gunnery Sergeant Highway showed up.

Mitt Romney’s speech met the moment. It left the impression that a good and decent family man is ready to go to work. That may be enough. It framed this year’s choice in a thought: “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise … is to help you and your family.”

At some point in a debate, Obama is going to turn and challenge Romney, saying, “Mitt, you have nothing new to offer. In fact, on social issues, foreign policy, taxes, spending, Medicare and everything else, you have nothing different to offer than taking us back to what George Bush proposed. That’s what got us into this mess.” Romney has yet to answer that question. He has until the first presidential debate October 3, in Denver, to find a response.

Conventions are fading into the past, and this may be the last great parade of GOP elephants. Any convention that can be shortened to three days can be abridged to two days, one day and then none.

Lastly, New Democrats have, for the first time, a counterpart: In Tampa in 2012, the New Republican was born. It turns out, we do believe in evolution.

Stay tuned. We have 67 days yet to go.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alex Castellanos.






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