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updated: 3/20/2013 9:31 AM

Mass. sheriff defends Obama assassination joke

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$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Associated Press$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

PLYMOUTH, Mass. -- A Republican sheriff in Massachusetts is defending a joke he told at a St. Patrick's Day breakfast in which Abraham Lincoln visits President Barack Obama in a dream and suggests he go to the theater.

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Lincoln was assassinated in a theater and Democratic critics say even a joke suggesting the current president might get shot was inappropriate, especially from a public safety official.

Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald Jr. made the joke Sunday at the heavily Republican breakfast.

He told the Patriot Ledger of Quincy on Tuesday the uproar over an old joke is "absurd."

He says it was no different than Democrats joking about former President George W. Bush going hunting with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who accidentally wounded a hunting partner in 2006.

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