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Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, a candidate for the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), denounced Democratic attacks on her for the racy moments in pro-wrestling.

Connecticut Democrats have gone after McMahon for some of the WWE's content, including depictions of public sex, rape and necrophilia.

McMahon was asked about it in an online chat hosted by The Day:

WWE is a company that produces fiction. It's a soap opera that runs 52 weeks a year. I think instead of focusing on fictitious content, we need to focus on the issues that are real: unemployment, job creation, healthcare, education and the direction our country is taking in terms of fiscal issues. Those are the serious issues of the day, not the fiction that WWE creates for its entertainment product.

I will also say that the people I have spoken to around this state smile when I give the analogy that I don't believe the voters who elected Arnold Schwarzenegger expected him to show up in one of his outfits from the movie "Terminator" in Sacramento.

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Last month Organizing for America solicited homemade health care ads from supporters, and today they released the winning video.

It stars several children with health care messages, including:

"Two years from now, I'll be diagnosed with Leukemia and I'll die, because we couldn't afford health care."

and

"There are over 8 million uninsured children in America. ... We all deserve health care."


In an email asking for donations to put the ad on television, David Plouffe says the Organizing for America Health Reform Video Challenge shows "our supporters' creativity and passion is more than a match for the slick ads and partisan spin doctors on the other side."

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Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has apologized for suggesting that, if 9/11 trials are held in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's daughter could be kidnapped.

"I saw the mayor of New York said today, 'We're tough. We can do it.' Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it's your daughter that's kidnapped at school by a terrorist?" Shadegg said last night.

This afternoon, he told the Associated Press that he's sorry -- but added that his point was still a good one.

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A number of high-profile economists are asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not to change a number of key aspects of his health care legislation, including a controversial tax on insurance companies that sell luxurious insurance policies.

"Four elements of the legislation are critical: 1) deficit neutrality, 2) excise tax on high cost insurance plans, 3) independent Medicare commission, and 4) delivery system reforms," they write in a letter delivered to Reid today.

Here's what they say about the excise tax, specifically: "Like any tax, the excise tax will raise federal revenues, but it has additional advantages that are essential."

The excise tax will help curtail the growth of private health insurance premiums by creating incentives to limit the costs of plans to a tax-free amount. In addition, as employers and health plans redesign their benefits to reduce health care premiums, cash wages will increase. Analysis of the Senate Finance Committee's proposal suggests that the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans would increase workers' take-home pay by more than $300 billion over the next decade. This provision offers the most promising approach to reducing private-sector health care costs while also giving a much needed raise to the tens of millions of Americans who receive insurance through their employers.

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A special name pops up on the list of co-chairs for Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell's (R-VA) inauguration: Sheila Johnson, a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television -- who is best known for having made fun of Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds for stuttering.

The McDonnell campaign had initially declined to condemn Johnson's joke or distance themselves from it, after it had come to light. Johnson herself issued an apology shortly afterward. Her status in the campaign did not seem to be damaged, as she later continued to hold McDonnell events and even starred in a campaign ad.

Also on the list is Susan Allen, a former first lady of the state, and wife of former Governor and former Senator George Allen.

DNC chairman Tim Kaine, the outgoing Governor of Virginia, told the Washington Post that Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds made some key mistakes in his landslide defeat to Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell -- mainly failing to tie himself to President Obama and thus mobilize Democrats:

"After the [June] primary was done, his advisers basically said, distance yourself from the president. We think we have our base locked down, we've got to win independents. And we're going to win by being negative about McDonnell," Kaine said. "That was the basic strategy they pursued, despite some significant urging to the contrary."

...

Kaine said the key to victory for Democrats in a highly competitive Virginia is recognizing that party members need not be "apologetic" about their affiliation to find success. He noted that about 200,000 more people voted in the Democratic primary for president on a frigid February day in 2008 than cast ballots for Deeds this year, and said McDonnell successfully spooked Deeds by suggesting that Virginians had grown anxious about the Democratic agenda.

"I think the issue of being nervous about the Virginia electorate was overdone and I think Creigh did exactly what the McDonnell campaign hoped he would do, which was distance himself from the president and national issues," Kaine said.


November 17: President Obama's Asia trip continued to China, where he discussed Iran, Afghanistan, the economy and climate change. Here, he visits the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Chinese emperors dating back to the Ming Dynasty, which began construction on the palace in 1406.If you missed TPM's first installment of Obama-in-Asia photos, check it out here.

Newscom/SIPA Photos




November 17: Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao walk down a red carpet for a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Newscom/PTS Photos




November 17: More pomp and circumstance from the welcome ceremony.

Newscom/PTS Photos




November 17: Obama and Hu hold a joint press conference after a bilateral meeting.

Newscom/PTS Photos




November 17: The site of the official talks in the Great Hall of the People.

Newscom/PTS Photos




November 17: Obama and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo meet.

Newscom/Xinhua/Ju Peng




November 17: The two Presidents discuss the state banquet they're attending.

Newscom/Xinhua/Fan Rujun




November 17: They also got a chance to meet college students and artists who performed at the banquet.

Newscom/Xinhua/Huang Jingwen




November 17: Obama takes in the sites at the Forbidden City.

Newscom/SIPA Photos




November 17: At the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City.

Newscom/PTS Photos




See more pictures from Obama's Asian jaunt

Newscom/PTS Photos




November 17: An honor guard stands at attention, waiting for Obama's entrance to the Great Hall of the People.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson




November 17: Obama, right and Hu, left, enjoy a dinner and a show.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




November 17: Obama meets the entertainers.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




November 17: The children of U.S. embassy workers in Tokyo meet the President.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




November 17: Hu and Obama before their state dinner.

Newscom/PTS Photos

The solicitor general of the Obama Administration is arguing against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's appeal of his controversial bribery conviction to the Supreme Court.

The Friday development, first reported by the Birmingham News, hinges on the argument by Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth Corp., that their case throws into doubt standards for determining whether bribery has occurred.

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