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Maryland PIO Helps Agency Shape Public Image

Former combat veteran and current public information officer Todd Wivell works for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Officer. Last year, his agency dealt with Black Lives Matter rallies, some of which became aggressive.

Ryan Hedrick

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Defund police initiatives and general anti-police sentiment across the United States have led to low morale and high turnover. In today’s news cycle, you are hard pressed to find images and stories of police making a difference in their communities.

In fact, I would argue that with local television news ratings plummeting, it would be counterproductive for news outlets to run stories about police that do not involve some type of fear-based programming.

When I ran a digital news outlet in Western New York our analytics begged for the sensationalistic approach. Our views, engagements, and shares would skyrocket if we ran a story that entailed violence, especially involving police.

Shortly after the Derek Chauvin verdict came down on Friday, I started thinking about how difficult it must be for people inside law enforcement to try and rehabilitate an image that has taken such a hit. The fact of the matter is that every day citizens are unlikely to die at the hands of a police officer. People are not getting killed randomly by well-intended officers of the law.

Former combat veteran and current public information officer Todd Wivell works for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Officer. Last year, his agency dealt with Black Lives Matter rallies, some of which became aggressive.

It is Wivell’s job to shield the agency from the wrath of the media while controlling a general narrative and providing the public with accurate and timely information. Wivell was hired last October and has done a fantastic job connecting the sheriff’s office to the community.  

Ryan Hedrick: What is your role as a public information officer (PIO) for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office?

Todd Wivell: In addition to getting timely, accurate information out from crime scenes or investigations to the media, my job is to be a barrier between our deputies and the press. When I go and I meet with our patrol teams and I meet with our sergeants and our leaders, I always try to tell them let me be that barrier for you. You guys don’t have to answer any media questions. I will do it. That really seems to work for us at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

RH: With so many political conversations entering the law enforcement arena, how do you ignore those conversations and do your job without making statements or comments that could be construed as political?

TW: My first goal is to always serve the public, the people, the sheriff’s office, the deputies, and treat everyone equally. That is a very thin line that I can not cross. I cannot do anything to help the sheriff with his election, I can’t get on the department’s social media page and talk about what the sheriff is doing for the election. There are times when people view posts from our department as political in nature, but we have no control over what people think or what they post.

RH: What have you learned about the role social media plays and how it can help you do your job?

TW: One of the things I have learned is that people want their news, and they want it now. It is no longer the 24-hour news cycle, it is the 24 second news cycle. Whatever is going on right now they want something, and the best way to do that is through social media. I am a little bit older and what I found out recently is that the older generations of us, we like Facebook. For us in the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, we get the most bang for the buck on Facebook. I also use Twitter and Instagram. 

RH: How do police and law enforcement officials that you interact with, feel about the treatment from the media?

TW: For me, as a public information officer representing a law enforcement agency, what I try to do is inform Frederick County residents of what is going on in the county. It is not about defunding the police, it is not about the political issues, it is not about the argument to remove police from schools, it is about us telling the truth about what is going on inside the county.

RH: How can police officers exhibit behavior that makes them look human in the public eye?

TW: I think a great example of this comes from one of our Facebook posts Friday where we had a deputy stop by a local neighborhood in Ballenger Creek and interact with the kids. We received this great Facebook message from this local resident saying this is so nice and that this is the kind of stuff that we want to see. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is getting out and about into all of the communities as much as possible.

RH: Do you have any more examples of how community policing is working in your jurisdiction?

TW: National Night Out is coming up on August 3. We are going to be in a local community called Urbana at the brand-new YMCA, that is going to be our primary location, but we are going to be in other towns and locations as well. We have deputies that patrol this county which is the largest land mass county in all of Maryland. In addition, we also have deputies in three different towns because they value that, and they want us there.

RH: What do police not understand about social media and the importance of portraying themselves in a good image?

TW: I think because of today’s environment where you have the George Floyd death or you have the death where the officer thought she was shooting her taser but instead she fired her service weapon, it seems like a lot of the media focuses on the negative of law enforcement. Our officers have a reluctance to go in front of the media or to go and put themselves out there too much.

BNM Writers

Chris Cuomo Interview Gives NewsNation Ratings Uptick

NewsNation hopes the upward ratings momentum continues as Cuomo joins their prime time lineup later this fall.

Douglas Pucci

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In his first interview since his CNN firing, Chris Cuomo appeared on the July 26th edition of Dan Abrams Live on nascent outlet NewsNation. Cuomo’s departure from CNN stemmed from an investigation which determined how he had advised his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual harassment allegations.

Abrams pressed Cuomo on several matters concerning CNN, as well as on what he’s been doing since he left.

Cuomo stated he’s neither a victim nor guilty of many of the things that led to his ouster. Nor did he claim to be a victim of “cancel culture”, as he commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever been a victim of anything ever in my life…I don’t feel sorry for myself.”

Dan Abrams Live featuring Chris Cuomo drew 187,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. While that pales in comparison to what the three major cable news networks deliver throughout the day, the figure marked a giant boost from the program’s normal levels — it more than tripled it; for July 18-22, the original 9 p.m. telecast of Abrams averaged 56,000 viewers per weeknight.

Time-slot wise, Abrams was able to best Newsmax’s competing Prime News (115,000 viewers). But on that evening, Newsmax’s Eric Bolling: The Balance (188,000) and Greg Kelly Reports (194,000) still managed to top all NewsNation fare.

NewsNation hopes the upward ratings momentum continues as Cuomo joins their prime time lineup later this fall. His former nightly show Cuomo Prime Time — although rated behind FNC’s Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show in the 9 p.m. slot — had been CNN’s No. 1 program during its brief run.

Cable news averages for July 25-31, 2022:

Total Day (July 25-31 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.378 million viewers; 182,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.688 million viewers; 71,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.485 million viewers; 95,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.190 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.147 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.122 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.110 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.106 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (July 25-30 @ 8-11 p.m.; July 31 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.139 million viewers; 277,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.138 million viewers; 101,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.620 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.227 million viewers; 68,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.205 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.138 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.137 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.057 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.055 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.482 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.286 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.281 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.204 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.128 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.090 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.028 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 7/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.951 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.855 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.706 million viewers

20. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 7/25/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.354 million viewers

171. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.780 million viewers

220. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 606” (HBO, Fri. 7/29/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.656 million viewers

337. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 34 min.) 0.458 million viewers

344. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 7/26/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.448 million viewers

351. Forensic Files II “Unraveled” (HLN, Sun. 7/31/2022 10:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.432 million viewers

376. Varney & Company (FBN, Fri. 7/29/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.386 million viewers

408. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Thu. 7/28/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.346 million viewers

442. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 805” (CNBC, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.311 million viewers

694. Deep Water Salvage “(209) Salvage 911” (TWC, Sun. 7/31/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.191 million viewers

705. Dan Abrams Live “Chris Cuomo Interview 7/26/22” (NWSN, Tue. 7/26/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.187 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.501 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.494 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.415 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.413 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.403 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.397 million adults 25-54

7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.385 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.383 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.380 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 7/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.366 million adults 25-54

52. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 7/25/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.212 million adults 25-54

67. Forensic Files “Trail Of A Killer” (HLN, Thu. 7/28/2022 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.182 million adults 25-54

82. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 7/26/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.171 million adults 25-54

90. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Wed. 7/27/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.165 million adults 25-54

114. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Thu. 7/28/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.148 million adults 25-54

156. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 34 min.) 0.134 million adults 25-54

166. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 614” (CNBC, Sun. 7/31/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.128 million adults 25-54

318. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 606” (HBO, Fri. 7/29/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.093 million adults 25-54

496. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Fri. 7/29/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.064 million adults 25-54

733. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54

745. Kudlow (FBN, Wed. 7/27/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.037 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Katie Pavlich Has Experienced Success at an Early Age

Pavlich is a journalist, editor, and freak of nature regarding achievement and success. 

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She’s done more in her 34 years than my high school class combined. Katie Pavlich is a journalist, editor, and freak of nature regarding achievement and success. 

As a reporter, she has covered presidential and congressional elections, the White House, the Department of Justice, the Second Amendment, and border issues.

Her story gets better/more humbling, depending on where you stand. When she was 26, Pavlich was named Woman of the Year by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Most 26-year-olds are consumed with growing out their man-bun or increasing their number of Tik-Tok followers. 

Did I mention she is just 34 years old? 

“I guess I was born older,” Pavlich said. “I’m kind of a grumpy millennial. I call myself an old soul that doesn’t really fit in with my generation. I was the youngest kid in camp when I was young.” 

She wrote a letter to Bill Clinton about taxes when she was eight years old.  

“My mom took me to Disneyland, and I broke down and cried because I was missing homework.”

Walt Disney’s frozen head must be sobbing. 

Pavlich grew up in the mountains of northern Arizona, rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and hunting big game with her father in the forests and deserts.

She was an athlete growing up through high school but not a runner. But, as you might expect from the last few paragraphs, that didn’t deter her. In 2019, Pavlich ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. 

“I should have trained more than I did,” she explained. “It was one of those things I needed to do for myself. There were people from so many demographics running alongside me. It was special because I was running alongside people who were injured during their service to our country overseas. I was getting passed by runners with prosthetic legs.”

She still finds time to run with friends in D.C. 

“It’s fantastic to run past the monuments and all the history. I’m not sure if I’ll run another marathon. I probably don’t have the time to train for one. I’ll probably still run some ten miles.” Pavlich said there’s a sobering mile in D.C. while running past monuments dedicated to soldiers killed in action. 

Pavlich can do more than name all 50 states; she’s been to 45 of them.

“I haven’t made it to North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, or Alabama,” Pavlich said. “It’s easier to remember the states I haven’t been to. I heard pheasant hunting in South Dakota is great.”

Pavlich has family in Westfield, Wisconsin, outside of Madison. It’s on her mother’s side of the family—a dairy farm with 800 cows. We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday there. I haven’t been there in far too long.”

She was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, a place Pavlich says is a lot like Colorado.

“We lived on five acres in a house built in the woods. We had beautiful views of peaks and valleys. Surrounded by elk, deer. We had a lot of snow days from school. My father was a big hunter. It’s a way of life for our family. Dad  gave me my first rifle on my 10th birthday.”

For my 10th birthday, I got a baseball mitt.

The family is steeped in respect for the land, and Pavlich’s grandfather was a park ranger in Yellowstone. She said he removed a lot of problem bears from campgrounds. 

Instead of hanging out at the mall, Pavlich rode horses in the wilderness and camped. “Even in late June, it still snowed. We were a family that lived the outdoor life.”

Cable TV was not a thing in her home until she was in high school. They couldn’t run cables out to their house. 

“We only had three channels, so I was watching a lot of local news, Hercules and Xena. I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV. I was mostly outside anyway.”

In addition to being a fan of legendary heroes, Pavlich was always fascinated with debate and politics. “I was always in tune to what was going on. When we finally got Fox News on cable, I knew I wanted to be debating on the channel.”

After graduating from college, she drove from Tucson to D.C., hungry to pursue different avenues. 

“It was a pretty big culture shock going from Arizona to D.C.,” Pavlich said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘what have I done?  Both places have a lot to offer, and it makes no sense to compare them. Virginia is beautiful and has a large black bear population. Fall is beautiful here. I’ve told myself I never want to take for granted the opportunity I’ve had to be here.”

Pavlich said she knows D.C. is known for a lot of corruption, but it’s an amazing place to see all the monuments and the National Mall. 

“This is the greatest country in the history of the earth, and so many people come here from all over to experience it. The day I can’t appreciate all of that is the day I should move somewhere else.”

After arriving in D.C., Pavlich became a contributing editor at Townhall.com, promoted to editor five years ago. “I started out low on the totem pole, but I dove in head-first. I manage a team with great writers and reporters. I’ve got some amazing columnists that submit every day. Producing new pieces by the hour. It’s exciting to see how they’ve grown in their careers. It has been very rewarding.”

Pavlich likes to give her writers and reporters a lot of freedom to pursue stories they are interested in, giving them some creative freedom. 

Keeping abreast of national news, Pavlich watched the video that recently emerged of a store owner in Narco, California. A man was protecting his store from a heavily armed, snot-nosed, wannabe robber. Before he could get close to the counter, the owner blasted the kid before he knew what hit him. 

“I loved it,” Pavlich said. “You never like to see an innocent person in a position where they have to defend themselves, but it’s great to see it when they do. It’s harrowing. The store owner had a heart attack afterward, but he’s doing okay.

I have very little tolerance for those who want to do innocent people harm. It’s our right to defend ourselves when a gun is pointed at us.”

Pavlich said the basic crux of the gun argument is that bad people will find a way to do bad things. She explained in her experience that people have a standard answer when they are asked why they choose to buy a gun. 

“The most common answer is self-defense. Surprisingly, involvement cuts across gender lines. The stats from the past few years show more women and minorities involved. As a white woman, I’m the minority there. Some of it is skeet shooting. Shooting alligators.” 

Alligators? By the way, do you know what type of gun is preferred when you prepare to shoot an alligator? An AR-15, of course.

“You shoot them right behind the jaw,” Pavlich said. “An accurate shot there will kill them.”

When shooting alligators gets a little boring, Pavlich is busy with her new Fox Nation show, “Luxury Hunting Lodges of America.” The show consists of four episodes where Pavlich and her crew visited Honey Break in Louisiana, Highland Hills in Oregon, Three Forks Ranch in Wyoming, and Gray Cliffs Ranch in Montana.

“What I love about our Fox Nation show is how we show people are more comfortable in a hunting setting. They can come back day in and day out. They can go fly fishing, ride horses.”

Shooting an elk and returning to the cabin for a glass of red wine might take away some of the ruggedness we’ve associated with hunting. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

“I’ve had a lot of experience with the rugged outdoors and hunting,” Pavlich said. “I know what it’s like to pitch a tent and cook over a fire. It’s not for everybody, but that goes both ways. What we convey on the show is the experience can be a lot like glamping but certainly a step up from tenting. (Glamping is when stunning nature meets modern luxury accommodations.)

“I’m excited we can show these hunting lodges. Every single experience was completely different. When we show the lodges, we also talk about the architecture, the history of the land. How people are using private conversation dollars, restoring properties.”

A lot of what they shot was predicated on weather, and what was available at that time. 

“I was actually surprised I caught fish when I was out there,” Pavlich said. “I caught a brown trout and a rainbow trout.”

Alligators must have breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

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BNM Writers

Will Cain Calls Out the Inflation Shell Game

Will Cain has fully hit his stride and shown the versatility network executives knew they were getting when they brought him to the network roughly two years ago.

Rick Schultz

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If anyone doubted the ability of Will Cain to jump from sports media back into news, the past two years have laid those questions aside. 

The Fox News host has fully hit his stride and shown the versatility network executives knew they were getting when they brought him to the network roughly two years ago.

Cain filled in for Tucker Carlson on Friday evening’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, and, as is his style, he wasted exactly zero minutes making his opinions known.

“If you want to know what is in a bill in Congress and what it’s actually going to do, take a good look at the name of the bill. Whatever it is, you can be sure the legislation will do the exact opposite,” Cain began. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, for example. It led to the worst economic recovery this country had seen since World War 2.”

Cain referred to the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which he said is nothing more than an internet sales tax that helps more prominent players “price out smaller competitors.”

“So we should all be very nervous. Very, very concerned that Congress just passed something called the ‘Inflation Reduction Act.’ It mandates hundreds of millions of new dollars in spending that will increase the money supply in this country,” Cain told his viewers. “That will, in turn, devalue the currency. And that, in turn, will cause more inflation. That’s basic supply and demand.” 

Relying on the basics, Cain believes the real-world results matter far more than any fancy title, a talking point, or political spin. More money printing equals more inflation. Two-quarters of negative GDP equals a recession. Higher gas prices equal less money left over in Americans’ pockets.

“Life is already so expensive in this country that we literally have bread lines in major cities,” he said, cutting to a segment where Camden, New Jersey, residents said they couldn’t even afford rice and beans. “That’s America. And that’s happening all across America, and you have to wonder, why then is the Biden Administration devaluing money when we have bread lines?”

True enough, political leaders of both parties have fired up the money printer to go Brrrrrrr for decades, and there is plenty of blame to be shared by any politician unwilling to make the necessary but tough choices. In this instance, however, many feel it is ridiculous to cite global warming as the impetus for heaping more economic pain on middle and lower-income Americans.

“Well, their justification for the bill is that it will stop the climate from changing. That’s why the bill includes 50 billion dollars in subsidies for electric vehicle purchases, which by the way, will lead manufacturers to jack up the price of electric vehicles. We’ve learned that lesson from healthcare subsidies and subsidies for college tuition,” Cain pointed out. “There’s also billions of dollars for the postal service to buy new mail trucks that don’t pollute as much. And of course, there’s 100 billion dollars for the so-called renewable industry.”

Cain then explained how China, while at the forefront of the “renewables” industry, continues to see annual carbon dioxide emissions increase. At the same time, the United States has experienced a steady decline in such emissions over the past couple decades. In his opinion, “China wants the rest of the world to run on so-called renewables but China doesn’t want renewables for themselves.” He pointed out the financial and strategic benefits to China when Western countries “sabotage their own energy supply in the name of protecting the climate.” 

“Like any good dealer, they don’t get high on their own supply, and most Americans recognize that,” Cain said, referring then to a recent poll by Rasmussen. “People in this country care about, of course, things like inflation, the economy, crime, immigration. By contrast, most Americans recognize the media is far more interested in pushing false narratives about climate change.”

Cain asks, where is the media drumbeat against China or India for their world-leading levels of emissions?

“Instead, the media blames Americans,” Cain said, leading into footage of cable media hosts and analysts downplaying the pain caused by higher prices and monetary inflation. 

Cain briefly highlighted the 80 billion dollars in the bill designated to grow the IRS, and wondered aloud “why do we need to make the IRS even more powerful, exactly?” He noted that the bill keeps the carried interest loophole, benefiting “wealthy individuals and institutions, in particular,” along with “hedge fund managers, who are some of the Democratic party’s biggest donors.”

Will Cain believes inflation is real, and it is painful for most everyday Americans.

He also seems to believe the media, and their Democrat partners in Washington, don’t seem to care or have any interest in leveling with citizens.

“What do Americans get out of the deal?” Cain asked. “Probably a lot more inflation, and a lot more audits.”

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