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A screenshot of the spoof press conference on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" featuring "Conan the dog." Photo: NBC

The "Saturday Night Live" cold open placed Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her "Medicare for All" plan center stage in its latest cold open. But a later sketch on Conan, the hero dog injured in the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, stole the show.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: Before she got on to her health care plan, "SNL" star Kate McKinnon's Warren acknowledged that former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke had dropped out of the 2020 race.

  • "Thank you so much for running a great campaign and for sticking around long enough to call me 'punitive,'" she said, in a nod to O'Rourke's remarks made at this month's Democratic Debate. "That was so bad-ass. Let me know how my dust tastes, all right?"
  • McKinnon returned for the later sketch featuring Conan "the K-9 Commando." This time, she was hosting a fake press conference as White House counselor Kellyanne Conway alongside "SNL" cast member Cecily Strong as a special-forces canine interpreter.
"Now this dog has to meet President Trump — and then he has to testify against President Trump. He was on the Ukraine call too. OK, goodnight."
— McKinnon as Kellyanne Conway

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the dog sketch.

Go deeper

56 mins ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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