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Hm. Stuff seems to work fine for me out of current Electric debians, launching pr2_table_object.launch in manipulation_worlds and then pr2_tabletop_manipulation.launch.

You do have to move the arms to the side first if you use that simulation, which that particular tutorial doesn't address. If you rosrun pr2_pick_and_place_demos pick_and_place_demo.py, then use the commands 'r', 'j', 'l', 'j' (right-arm move-to-side, left-arm move-to-side), it'll get both arms off to the side, then you can quit and run the tutorial code. Although there does seem to be an issue with the fingertip contacts jittering and causing the grasp to 'fail', which you can ask the code to ignore because it's actually fine (which is what we do in the pick and place demo), but that tutorial doesn't, alas.

Are you using the standard Electric debians? Do you have any code overlays?
Also, what is that simulation world you are launching?