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Biden, Warren to Face Off in Democratic Debate; Trump to Visit Baltimore After Denigrating the City; Trump Administration Moves to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2019 - 07:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: They are facing off for the very first time. Biden is still the frontrunner in a new CNN national poll. But Warren is steadily climbing, battling it out for second place with Bernie Sanders.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Also very shortly, what could be a significant yet conflicted moment for House Democrats. The House Judiciary Committee will vote on a resolution -- frankly, almost guaranteed to pass a resolution -- to define their rules of the investigation into President Trump. And the Democrats are sending very mixed messages about whether or not this is an official impeachment inquiry.

That will happen in the next hour. We will follow that closely. In the meantime, let's talk about this debate. A big night of firsts.

Joining us, CNN political director David Chalian. David, lay out the stakes for us.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, this is the first-time event, guys, one-night only event, right? So the first two --

CAMEROTA: We've been singing it all morning.

CHALIAN: Good, I'm glad. The first two debates were split over two nights, so you're asking Democratic voters to tune in for two nights and figure out across 20 people.

The field cut in half. So the stakes get higher. Right? Because all these people are now playing to survive sort of well into the playoffs here.

What I would say is Joe Biden, who as you just showed in our poll, he maintains this -- thus far, durable frontrunner status, which means he has to be prepared yet again for all the incoming. That's the life of the frontrunner, is that everyone else on the stage wants to draw a contrast.

I know we are all looking forward to seeing Biden and Warren on the stage for the very first time. But it's not a two-person debate. There are going to be eight other people on the stage, all trying to contrast from Biden. So it is -- he is going to have to navigate the knowledge that everyone is looking at the Warren/Biden matchup for the first time, while also making sure he's staying on his toes with everybody else.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, that -- I'm glad that you point that out, because pundits are obviously very interested in seeing that moment, that dynamic. When I talk to real people, if you don't mind, as I did yesterday at my daughter's field hockey game. You know, they're interested in what Cory Booker is going to say, what Andrew Yang is going to say. And so I think that that's just one of the focuses.

BERMAN: But they're still shopping around.

CAMEROTA: They're shopping around. And debates are the moment where voters get to see if somebody has a breakout moment or they get to just kick the tires. You know?

CHALIAN: Yes. Back to John's questions about the stakes, though. For the bottom five in this field, breakout moment is really necessary. I mean, at a certain point, now they've all qualified for the next debate, folks.

But at a certain point in these next couple months, the money begins to dry up if you don't have one of those moments that make you sort of central to the -- to the campaign.

I will note that when people do polls, they call real people. And these real people that are being called, very little more than 1 or 2 percent ever says they're supporting Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar just yet.

CAMEROTA: And to your point, some of the real people I talked to yesterday were under 18. So they may not count.

BERMAN: So -- so David, I am of the belief in political journalism that nothing is a coincidence. So when I woke up this morning, and I saw that Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, mayor of Philadelphia, big Joe Biden supporter, wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post" accusing Elizabeth Warren of hypocrisy on accepting major donations, I was like, huh. That's interesting that a major Joe Biden supporter is all of a sudden calling Elizabeth Warren a hypocrite in a "Washington Post" op-ed.

Does that mean there might be more direct confrontation coming from team Biden or the rest of the political world to Elizabeth Warren?

CHALIAN: Yes, what was Bill Clinton's expression? A turtle on a fence post? It doesn't get there. Unless it's put there deliberately.

So I do think that not just something like the Rendell op-ed, John. But we heard from the Biden camp themselves about how they're sort of previewing this event.

Joe Biden wants to go in, we're told, and make sure people know that having plans aren't enough. Well, who is that about? I mean, that's clearly a shot at Warren, who says she has a plan for everything.

So what I think is pretty clear from listening to Biden's strategists, from looking at what we're hearing from other campaigns, as well, Biden wants to make this case that "You can have all the plans you want. But that is pie in the sky if you can't actually get it done. I have a record of getting progressive goals accomplished." That's one point he's going to make.

The other point, as you were just looking at in our polls, I believe Joe Biden is going to make his last name Obama in this debate at every turn. He's going to be Joe Biden Obama as best he can. African- American support for Joe Biden is critical to his standing in this race. And he is going to attach himself and defend the Obama legacy as much as possible.

CAMEROTA: What's Kamala Harris going to do tonight?

CHALIAN: Well, it's interesting that you say that. She looks -- her campaign is telegraphing a sort of shift in strategy not so much taking on Joe Biden like she's done in the last two debates, which has left her in the polls about where she started before the debates.

But instead, she's going to use her prosecutorial tenor to take on President Trump and make the case against President Trump part one. Part two, the Harris folks say she's going to present herself as a unifier. In these very polarized times, she's going to try to present herself as the one that can bring and stitch the coalition of the country back together.

BERMAN: I find that so interesting, because another way of saying that would be Biden alternative.

CHALIAN: Well, and there's no doubt. I mean, look at the -- she is a Biden alternative in many ways. I mean, if you look at the voter profile, I think part of the reason we haven't seen Harris really other than that blip after the first debate make a big move is because a lot of potential Harris voters are parked with Joe Biden right now.

CAMEROTA: Beto O'Rourke cannot curse.

BERMAN: This is actually a big deal. ABC went out of its way to say please no swearing.

CHALIAN: Yes, exactly. I mean, they're a broadcast network.

CAMEROTA: He's taken on that role lately.

CHALIAN: Yes. And that is, of course, in order to then sell T-shirts on his website that says, "Hey, I cursed on TV." Or, you know, "I'm really tough." This has been a pattern in American politics, that people think if you curse on TV you're able to, you know, raise small- dollar donations. You might get a bump in the polls. Yes, so O'Rourke and the whole field have been warned about their language tonight.

CAMEROTA: David, thanks for previewing it for us. Good to talk to you.

All right. So President Trump, interestingly, will be in Baltimore tonight to speak at a House Republican retreat. Why is this so interesting?

Well, you'll recall this visit is coming after the president repeatedly denigrated the city and called it names this summer.

Joining us now from her hometown of Baltimore is CNN political analyst April Ryan. She's the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

Great to see you. How's the president --


Let's start with this. How's he going to be received in Baltimore?

RYAN: Well, Baltimoreans are ready and able to use their voice tonight when President Trump helos -- he's not driving in. He's going to fly over the city. And prayerfully, when he flies over the city, he'll take a look at the city not in a condescending view where he's, like, look at that, look at that. But in a way to help.

And I mean, traditionally, we know what this president does. He points at things, makes fun of it, and moves on.

But he can't move on from this. This trip is going to be problematic for him one way or the other. He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

The bottom line is that Baltimoreans are very upset. Rain Pryor, the daughter of the icon, the late icon Richard Pryor is running for city council in Baltimore for the 3rd District. And she says the president needs to come and look at the blight.

She also says, No. 2, the president needs to deal with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has a lot of blighted properties himself in the city. So people are looking for action, not pointing fingers. People want help.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I just don't know if he's going to do that. I mean, there's -- he might just zoom in and zoom out. He might just zoom in and go to this Republican retreat and zoom out. I mean, is there any suggestion that he's going to take a tour of some of the blighted areas?

RYAN: Well, Alisyn, that's a good point. You know, this White House, as of now, is saying that he's not slated to take a tour. But the young lady, the African-American woman who started all of this with that video, she's been encouraging the president to take a tour.

He needs to take -- he is the president of all America. Whether he likes Baltimore or not, be it African-American -- It's a majority African-American city. So what? You are president to protect and serve all of America. The last I checked, Baltimore is like 36 miles from the White House, and not only that, it's part of the United States, and it's part of the country that you protect and serve. So what it's a black community? So what it's rodent infested? Fix it.

So at this point, we don't -- at this point -- and my sources are telling me at this point, it's critical. Because he could wind up taking a tour. We don't know as of yet. But at this point, there's no -- there's no effort on the schedule for him to do it. But he will fly over.

He's going to fly over at a time where there will be light out. He can see the city. So the question is what will he see? Will he be of the mind to say, "I want to help"?

This president is limited in his approach to urban America. And we hope tonight that he will change his idea. Because let me tell you something. Baltimore is a city that is hurting.

You know, 22 percent, according to the U.S. census, a little over 22 percent poverty rate. You know, the median home income here -- I mean, the median home ownership. Those who own homes, over 100 -- a little over $150,000. This is not a city that is as prosperous as other areas. But it needs help.

The blight came when a shipping magnate, the steel industry left. Beth Steele left Baltimore. It left a lot of people without jobs. A lot of people who didn't have college education, you know, went to these places; and they got jobs, and they were able to build their lives here. And build families. Now a lot of those companies have left. And it left us hurting.

I mean, we put a spotlight on Penn and North after Freddie Gray. What's happened? You know, where is Baltimore now? Baltimore is hurting politically. Baltimore is hurting from the heart. Baltimore is hurting. And there needs to be a public/private partnership. And the public piece the president can help with.


RYAN: The president can help with, instead of pointing fingers.

CAMEROTA: This is what he said, just to remind everybody, back in July. He said, "As proven last week during a congressional tour, the border is clean, efficient, and well run. Just very crowded. Elijah Cummings' district is a disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place."

So he thinks that the state, you know, representatives and the local politicians and the, you know, U.S. representatives from that area should do it. And Elijah Cummings has thoughts on that. Here's what he said. I'll put it up on the screen for everyone.

"I hope that he" -- meaning the president -- "has a pleasant visit. I hope he gets a chance to see quite a bit of Baltimore. It's a beautiful city. A lot of hard-working people."

RYAN: It is. It is.

CAMEROTA: So there it is. I mean, that's it, April.

RYAN: It is beautiful.

CAMEROTA: We'll just see -- we'll see what the president's impressions are after he comes to visit.

RYAN: He needs to come and do something instead of pointing fingers.


RYAN: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for your thoughts on all of this.

All right. So President Trump announced plans to ban flavored e- cigarettes. Will it help prevent the growing epidemic of teens who are getting hooked? The president of the American Vaping Association joins us next.



CAMEROTA: President Trump is moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes that would effectively take fruit and candy flavors off of store shelves. This comes as the number of teenagers using e-cigarettes has skyrocketed in the last few years.

So joining us now is Gregory Conley. He's the president of the American Vaping Association. They oppose efforts to restrict sales.

Mr. Conley, thanks so much for being here. I understand why you oppose sales. You believe in vaping. You like what vaping has done. But do agree that too many teenagers are vaping, that it's harmful and that this will help cut down on that?

GREGORY CONLEY, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN VAPING ASSOCIATION: Yes, let's be clear. No youth should vape, just as no youth should use marijuana, cigarettes or alcohol. But there's only one product that the U.S. government is proposing to ban 98 percent plus of the products on the market and, potentially, send several million ex-smoking Americans back to cigarettes. That's the part that we are extremely concerned about and disappointed in President Trump for.

CAMEROTA: Right. You believe that vaping helps with smoking cessation. And OK, if that's the case, why are they marketed in kiddie flavors? I mean, let me just put up for people some of the flavors, that it's hard to believe that these are for smoking cessation.

Look at the illustrations. I mean, unicorn milk, cotton candy, fruit loops, strawberry milk, sour gummies. Those are clearly marketed to kids.

CONLEY: They're actually not. There are some -- there's absolutely some inappropriate marketing in this industry, and when you can actually have regulations, not prohibition, you can control flavor names. You can control packaging.

But the fact is, that gets ignored all too often in this debate, fruit flavors are the most popular flavor among adults, and most importantly, the most used flavor among adults who have quit smoking with vaping. So this idea that we can just get rid of flavors tomorrow, and as long as smokers can access just one flavor, that that's not going to make a difference on public health, it absolutely will.

CAMEROTA: But I think you're --

CONLEY: Not to mention the fact that we just --

CAMEROTA: Well, correct me if I'm wrong. Just correct me if I'm wrong. I think you're talking about mint and menthol. Are a lot of adults smoking strawberry milk?

CONLEY: Actually, a lot -- the most popular flavor with adults, according to FDA/CDC data, is not actually mint and menthol. It could be mint and menthol here in 2019, but as of one year ago, two years ago, the most popular flavor, both among adults and switchers, the people benefitting to help the most by getting away from cigarettes, are fruit flavors.

And so again, you can talk about inappropriate marketing. You can talk about restricting flavor names, marketing. But just getting rid of these products, it's going to do nothing to calm the black market, contaminated THC products that are causing lung illnesses and will actually just open up a brand-new potentially multi-billion-dollar black market.

CAMEROTA: We just don't know if that's actually what's causing all the illnesses. As you know, there's been hundreds of illnesses. Vaping-related illness, lunch disease cropping up. And they have not definitively figured out what it is.

Here's what investigators say. "Authorities said they are not ruling out adulterants in nicotine vaping products. Officials cautioned, though, that they are a long way from understanding what exactly is making people so sick."

But Mr. Conley, I mean, at the end of the day, do you or do you not think that, by getting rid of all of these kiddie flavors, it will help the teen vaping epidemic?

CONLEY: Well, first, you're not reporting what "The Washington Post" has said, which is the FDA only found dangerous chemicals thus far in the THC, the contaminated, black-market, illicit products that are on the streets of America right now. The actual nicotine vaping products that they have tested, they have found, quote, "nothing unusual," according to the great reporting from "The Washington Post." And there are numerous public health advocates, including Dr. Michael

Siegel, the Boston University School of Public Health, multiple others that are saying the evidence clearly links these products to illicit THC, not vaping. And prohibiting adults from accessing these products is not going to benefit public health. It actually will -- could increase smoking among both youth and adults after we just saw a record-setting 28 percent decrease in teen smoking from 2018 to 2019.


CAMEROTA: Hold on. I'm sorry, did you just say there's been a decrease in vaping? Among teenagers?

CONLEY: There's been a decrease in teen smoking. Despite the rhetoric that Juul was somehow going to lead kids to start smoking, we just saw a record-breaking decline in teen smoking.

CAMEROTA: OK. According to the FDA, the e-cigarette use among teens is up exponentially. Seventy-eight percent up among high-school students from 2017. Forty-eight percent up among middle-school students from 2017.

CONLEY: E-cigarette use, yes, is up. And we should combat that with appropriate marketing controls, with perhaps tobacco 21, with increased licensing and enforcement at the state level.

But simply prohibiting flavors used by 13 million Americans, it is a disaster for public health, and it's going to be a disaster for President Trump's re-election campaign, as well.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Mr. Conley, our chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, has been focused on vaping for months now. So he has been leading all of our sort of awareness about what's going on with vaping, and he has a question about what he's just heard.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Conley, as you know, I mean, this is obviously a big topic, certainly, among parents. It's what we talk about all the time.

You talk about teen smoking going down. I've seen those numbers, as well.

One of the -- one of the statistics, though, that I think you've also seen, and I want to show this to our viewers, is just the likelihood that, if someone who starts using e-cigarettes, these kids using e- cigarettes, then transitioning to using combustible cigarettes. Thirty -- 30.7 percent versus people who don't use e-cigarettes going to combustibles, only 8 percent.

Teenage cigarette use may be going down, but it seems like it would have been going down even more, Mr. Conley, without these e-cigarettes on the market, because they then go on to use real cigarettes.

CONLEY: Actually, no. If you have looked at the data, you would have found Kenneth Warner, David Abrams, other respected public health advocates have posted -- published articles in journals showing that not only did smoking decrease as an experimentation with vaping took off, but we saw record-breaking declines in teen smoking. Teen smoking would not be as low today if youth were no experimenting with vaping products. It would be better if no youth experimented with anything, but to the pretend that smoking rates would be lower --

GUPTA: Hang on. Hang on, Mr. Conley. You're saying teenage smoking rates would be even lower -- they are lower because of vaping? Because of e-cigarette use? You're saying --

CONLEY: Vaping products have rapidly denormalized -- whether or not we approve of it, vaping products have rapidly denormalized cigarette smoking.

And I'll remind you, Mr. Gupta, you were wrong about marijuana. You admitted it. Twenty-plus years you were wrong about marijuana. And I hope that there aren't body bags on the streets because of policies like these in 20 years when you realize that vaping products are saving lives.

GUPTA: Well, just going back to the kid use, though. The youth use. If people use e-cigarettes who would have never done anything -- they wouldn't have done cigarettes, they would have done nothing. And then 30 percent of them go on to use combustible cigarettes, that's according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That's their data. Does that not concern you?

CONLEY: It is a concern, but again, the data doesn't actually show huge numbers of teens going on to become regular smokers.

GUPTA: Well, the numbers are what they are. We just showed the numbers.

CONLEY: A lot of that data you are citing is based off of -- a lot of that data is based off of experimentation. Teens who try vaping and one year later, they try a cigarette. That's not showing that teens are becoming addicted to smoking.

We are at near end-game levels of smoking. Almost 5 percent. We never dreamed 10 years ago that we would be at 5 percent youth smoking. And not to mention the fact that we didn't believe we'd have 2.5 million-plus ex-smokers who have quit smoking with vaping. That is a positive public health benefit, according to the FDA.

CAMEROTA: You know what's interesting, Mr. Conley? I've heard you say before that no prohibition has never worked. You just said, in fact, that it has. The prohibition against smoking in public places has decreased smoking from its height in half. And so why not do --

CONLEY: Smoking --

CAMEROTA: Why not do all you can to avoid teenagers getting involved in vaping, since we know they prefer these flavored cigarettes? Why not just get rid of those?

CONLEY: For smoking among adults, nearly stagnated from 2003 to 2009. There were no great decreases happening before vaping products began to help additional smokers quit.

We need additional controls to reduce youth access and punish those that give products to youth, supply products to youth. But again, you have about 13 million adults who are using these products, the vast majority of whom are smokers and ex-smokers. And we need to think about their health and their lives when we make these policies and you think of the population as a whole.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, what about that argument? What about the argument that Mr. Conley is making, which is basically that, if we just change the advertising, if they change the access, that that will solve the problem; banning doesn't?

GUPTA: The issue, I think -- and again, Mr. Conley, you can -- you can weigh in on this -- but the issue is that I think there's been so much evidence of youth being targeted. You know, social media campaigns. We reported on this. He's making the argument about flavorings --


CAMEROTA: And I think he would disagree with that. I mean, I think -- I'm not -- I think he would disagree -- I think he would agree with you that they shouldn't be targeted and that that's where the focus should be.

GUPTA: What have you done to prevent that from happening, though? I mean, you know, we've been reporting on these campaigns going into kids' schools, doing things on social media, trying to -- trying to really target kids where they're spending time, where they're living. That's been happening by people within your association. What -- what is the American Vaping Association doing to address those sorts of things?

CONLEY: First, we've never sent anyone into schools to talk to children. That was the actions of one company, Juul. And Juul, which has about 35, 40 percent of the market, they've decided to accede to President Trump's flavor ban. Let's target them. They are the main concern.

Dr. Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, talked about this last night. Juul should be a target of FDA investigations. Closed pod systems that are especially popular with the young over the past couple years.

But Dr. Gottlieb brought up there are vape shops all across this country, adult only establishments that are going to be shut down by this rule. And so the FDA could be narrowly tailoring their enforcement. Instead, you're going to shut down about 10,000 businesses who rely on selling flavored products to legal adults throughout this country.

CAMEROTA: And Mr. Conley, do you think that the fact that vaping allows kids to conceal it better than smoking? You know, Sanjay and I were talking in a previous segment that some kids are vaping at school. We all know -- every parent who has a middle-school or a high-school kid knows that there is a vaping epidemic right now in schools. Even in classes, kids are concealing it and sometimes getting busted for it. Because obviously, it doesn't emit the smoke.

So do you think that the device itself is a problem or helping lead to kids using it?

CONLEY: Some of the many things that lead adults to know that vaping is a smarter alternative to smoking and want to make the switch, such as the lack of ash, the lack of a lingering smell, yes, they can make it easier for youth to use the products. But that doesn't mean that prohibition and just opening up a black market, when in the age of social media, good luck preventing social media and eBay sales continuing, not to mention black-market manufacturing.

Prohibition isn't going to stop youth from obtaining these products and using them in schools. Prohibition has not stopped a large percentage of youth from continuing to use marijuana, both in legal and illegal states.

CAMEROTA: OK. Sanjay, I'll give you the last word.

GUPTA: And you say for sure this is safe? I mean, this is ultimately what it comes down to.

CONLEY: No one says -- no one -- that's not what it ultimately comes down too.

GUPTA: Sure it is.

CONLEY: This is about harm reduction. The Royal College of Physicians, public health --

GUPTA: Well, you've got five --

CONLEY: -- and Cancer Research U.K. have all said that vaping is at least 95 percent safer than smoking. Safer. That is -- this is about harm reduction and giving smokers a better option than continuing to smoke.

GUPTA: You've got 500 people who are sick, six deaths.

CONLEY: And the FDA agrees, these products are far less hazardous.

GUPTA: That's the concern.

CONLEY: From contaminated THC cartridges.

CAMEROTA: We just don't know that.

GUPTA: We don't know that.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Conley, you're --

CONLEY: Contaminated THC cartridges.

CAMEROTA: You're making that leap -- we don't know that. I mean, at least not this -- the CDC and the government officials are not --

CONLEY: We very much do.

CAMEROTA: No, they don't. They say -- I mean, I just read to you --

CONLEY: They have issued a specific warning. The FDA has issued a specific warning.

CAMEROTA: They have not -- they have not issued any conclusion.

CONLEY: Only about contaminated THC products.

GUPTA: The CDC and the American Medical Association --

CONLEY: Why did the FDA decide -- why did the FDA decide that only contaminated THC products warranted a big warning? Why, if the FDA has any concern --

CAMEROTA: You're leaping to --

CONLEY: -- of nicotine vaping products, they'd be --


CAMEROTA: Let me just give you one last example. Mr. Conley, hold on one second. There's a 17-year-old in Texas right now who is on life support --

CONLEY: Who admitted to vaping THC, I believe.

CAMEROTA: No. Whose mother says she was using vaping --

CONLEY: I saw your story yesterday.

CAMEROTA: According to the local media, she was using vaping to stop smoking. Exactly what you're suggesting that she do. And she has double pneumonia, and she's on life support right now.

So my point is this. You are reaching a conclusion that officials have not yet reached.

CONLEY: Lipoid pneumonia comes from inhaling oils. There are no oils in nicotine products.

CAMEROTA: You can also get it from being a smoker.

CONLEY: And the evidence will come out.

GUPTA: Just to be clear, the CDC --

CONLEY: Yes, you can get regular pneumonia. You can't get lipoid pneumonia. Let's be clear.

GUPTA: Let's also be clear, the CDC --

CONLEY: The evidence will come out. It will vindicate this industry. GUPTA: -- the American Medical Association have said we should -- we

should not be vaping. That's the CDC, the American Medical Association.

CONLEY: The American Medical Association has opposed vaping for ten years.


CONLEY: They are adamantly opposed to any form of tobacco harm reduction for smokers. That should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with this debate.

CAMEROTA: OK. Mr. Conley --

CONLEY: Smokers should know, they can save their lives, improve their health by switching to store-bought nicotine vaping products. Don't be scared off by activists who are trying to keep you smoking.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Conley, you have made your case loud and clear here.

CONLEY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We thank you for coming on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.

And Sanjay, thanks so much for explaining the other side.

GUPTA: Thank you, yes.

CAMEROTA: Appreciate it.

BERMAN: Look, I hope people are paying attention to this discussion. Parents need to know about this. Kids need to know about it. And the facts really matter here. So thank you for being part of this.

GUPTA: You got it.

BERMAN: All right. This morning, a new question: how many jobs can you hold in one presidential administration at one time? Well, we may be about to find out. New reporting on what would be an historic selection to be the next national security adviser.