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"In honor of the WWE, you can call me 'Hillrod.' "

State of the Union: "Hillary" takes a spin from Samoan Bulldozer.

Shudder. It says something about our lives and times when President Bush can take Monday's higher TV ground with a videotaped guest appearance on NBC's Deal or No Deal.

That's because the three senators battling to succeed him were all appearing on WWE's Monday Night Raw, otherwise populated by the likes of Umaga the Samoan Bulldozer, Hardcore Holly, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Super Crazy and The Undertaker.

Bush, saluting contestant and Iraq war veteran Joseph Kobes for his three tours of duty, felt obliged to crack a joke first.

"I'm thrilled to be on Deal or No Deal with you tonight," he said. "Come to think of it, I'm thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days."

The President also invited host Howie Mandel to help broker a new federal budget with Congress: "How'd you like to host a $3 trillion dollar Deal or No Deal?"

Um, don't quit your day job, Mr. President. Actually, that'll happen soon enough.

Over on USA network's Raw, also owned by NBC Universal, the three presidential candidates stooped to conquer another potential voting block -- the mostly young males who avidly watch the show's ring fakery, comedy, babe-a-licious "divas" and big-time bloodletting during pay-per-view events.

Clinton and Obama didn't get much respect for their videotaped efforts. Raw went right ahead with a mock match between the two Democrats. A bulbous, showboating and eventually chicken-hearted "Bill Clinton" also entered the ring with his wife.

Obama was affixed with a pair of grossly caricatured, oversized ears, prompting a ring commentator to quip, "He could be Dumbo's stunt double."

Or if you prefer, "Look at those ears! He's gotta be gettin' satellite reception right now."

The fake Hillary, stuffed into a dark pantsuit, took a beating both from her "husband" and eventually Umaga the Samoan Bulldozer, who spun her overhead before cold-cocking her with his patented "Samoan Drop."

Before the mayhem, bogus Bill upbraided a referee for inspecting his wife for any foreign objects.

"C'mon, man, leave her alone," he drawled. "She hasn't had a man touch her in so many years, it's not even funny."

"Obama" also eventually was dispatched by Umaga, via a "Samoan Spike." Both Dems wound up flat on their backs before Raw went to a commercial break. That's what happens when you lay down in deference to the WWE, which doesn't exactly have a spotless record when it comes to keeping its athletes out of real-life harm's way when away from the ring.

McCain was spared any phony trips to the ring on the eve of Tuesday's Pennsylvania Democratic primary. He also got the last word among the three candidates, during which he agreeably talked smack after pronouncing Obama's first name BAR-ack."

"Let me tell ya, if you want to be The Man, you have to beat the man," McCain crowed. "Come November, it'll be game over. And what ya gonna do when John McCain and all his McCain-iacs run wild on you? You wanna pull out of Iraq? Well, I say no surrender. America can win the war on terror. I'm gonna introduce Osama bin Laden to The Undertaker (a popular WWE personality)."

Just what we need -- wrestling metaphors in connection with the bloody war in Iraq.

McCain also urged voters to participate in "the Cage Match" in November, otherwise known as the day in which we elect the leader of the free world.

And just so we're clear, "Americans don't watch wrestling because we're bitter," McCain said. "We watch WWE because wrestling is about celebrating our freedom. It's about fighting to be our very best. So can ya smell what the Mac is cookin'?"

Obama and Clinton were briefer, but not without their own wrestling lingo. The senator from Illinois didn't seem that into it, though, smiling self-consciously -- or perhaps with embarrassment -- after concluding with, "Do you smell what Barack is cookin'?"

Clinton began by dubbing herself "Hillrod" for the night "in honor of the WWE."

"You need a president who will go the mat for you," she said. "And that's exactly what I'll do. I've been knocked down, but I've always gotten back up. And I know how to take a hit for the American people. And if things get a little tough, I may even have to deliver the people's elbow."

So it's come to this. And what's next -- a guest appearance in the Big Brother household this summer for McCain and the surviving Democrat?

Seriously, a line should be drawn somewhere, shouldn't it? Presidential candidates and entertainment shows have a long history at this point, with pivotal moments including Bill Clinton playing the sax on The Arsenio Hall Show and Richard Nixon saying "Sock It to Me" on Laugh-In.

But crossing over to Monday Night Raw does seem to be a bridge way too far. And this is from a vintage wrestling fan who loved watching Dick the Bruiser pummel a hapless weakling or Crusher Lisowski finally get counted out at the hands of good guy Wilbur Snyder.

It's no fun at all, though, watching McCain equate the November election to a "cage match" or Clinton strain to dub herself "Hillrod." Is this really what it takes to get elected president these days? If so, it's the body politic being pinned to the mat.