October 16th, 2008
10:19 PM ET
6 years ago

'I screwed up,' McCain tells Letterman

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McCain greets cameras before going in for a taping on Letterman Thursday.
McCain greets cameras before going in for a taping on Letterman Thursday.

(CNN) - John McCain has learned his lesson: Don't ever cancel on David Letterman.

Appearing on the late night comedian's show Thursday, the Republican presidential candidate apologized for skipping out on a scheduled visit late last month that Letterman later made the subject of an ongoing joke.

"I screwed up," McCain told Letterman more than once in the interview that's set to air Thursday night.

McCain's appearance on the show comes three weeks to the day after after he raised the ire of the generally mild-mannered host by canceling at the last minute, citing his decision to suspend his presidential campaign because of the financial crisis.

"This doesn't smell right," Letterman said then, during a routine that only half appeared to be a joke. "This is not the way a tested hero behaves. Somebody's putting something in his Metamucil."

Letterman also didn't appear to buy the Arizona senator's explanation for the cancellation then, showing the audience a live feed of McCain preparing for an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric. After praising McCain's record as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he said, "This is not the John McCain I know, by God."

Letterman has repeatedly harped on McCain for the missed appearance, noting the Arizona senator's poll numbers appeared to begin to slide right after he skipped out on the show.

"Look at all the conversation I gave you. Including having Mr. Olbermann on," McCain told Letterman Thursday night, referencing the MSNBC liberal talk show host who filled in for him that night.

But Thursday's interview was not all fun and games, as Letterman pressed McCain on Republican VP Sarah Palin's preparedness to lead the country through "the next 9/11 attack.."

"Absolutely" she is, McCain said. "She has inspired Americans. That's the thing we need."


Filed under: Extra • John McCain
soundoff (643 Responses)
  1. Evelyn

    As a Canadian, McCain's comments about our health care system are inaccurate! We have one of the best health care systems in the world. If I break my leg, I go to the ER and I get it set in a cast and go home. NO BILL!!!!! If you break your leg in the US you get what, about a $15,000 bill??? The government gives me healthcare if I don't have an employer and I pay $30 a month, period. The only other thing I pay for is prescriptions. If I make under $25,000 a year, I pay prescriptions only. Thats it. If you have an employer or are married or common law and your spouse has an employer then you pay nothing because your employer has health benefits and you usually also get coverage for prescriptions!! Watch Michael Moore's movie, Sicko. Everything he says about the Canadian Health Care system is right. Don't you and your families deserve that?? If I was a US citizen I would vote Obama/Biden in Nov 2008.

    October 16, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  2. Texas Trail Kitty

    It is about time John McCain figures out that the world does not revolve around him. Has it ever occurred to him that he may not be meant to be president? It's a shame that Americans have to be in such bad shape and be hurting so much to get them to reject the republican's dirty campaign tactics. I hope we don't allow dirty politics to win ever again.

    October 16, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  3. paul

    It's so funny how almost every one here loves to put down McCain. Maybe it’s because he served this country in our military and most just hate our troops.

    A bunch of lazy pacifist that would sell this country out the first chance they get. It is so sad that almost every democrat sees only the bad in this country and none of the good.

    They blame our country for everything wrong in the world and hope our country falls from being a superpower.

    Unlike you democrats, I am proud of my country and John McCain for serving in our great military.

    The reason most of you democrats want to vote for Obama is because your uneducated, jealous and just plain ignorant!

    October 16, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. Rhia

    You betcha! I'm inspired to shoot down a moose and look beyond my window if Russia is really there...

    October 16, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Linda/Michigan

    Yes, Obama has something McCain doesn't have, Wright, Rezko, Ayers, Pflger, Ashabi, Husaini, ACORN, and backing by Hamas leaders.

    October 16, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. justsane

    i just heard a part of his speech today, in which he said that america needs a leader who is ready on day one; one who doesn't need to get up to speed on the issues facing our country. shouldn't a vice presidential candidate meet the same criterion? i mean, mccain could do a william henry harrison...less than six weeks in office. i don't know if sarah reads that fast.

    October 16, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Mike in Seattle

    We have people losing their homes, life savings in 401K's being cut in half and we are concerned about what David Letterman thinks? Maybe we have now identifed how far the intellectual capacity of this country has fallen. We have turned over all thinking to the media and TV. Shame on us. We will get what we deserve with Obama! We have become a nation of followers, not leaders!!

    October 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  8. PD

    wow, 51 comments so far, and they are all anti–mccain– you have had time to moderate my comment–which was a positive comment re: mccain/palin but you have not posted it and certainly someone has had time to read it. Ok, I will be checking back in to see if comment number 52 is anti–mcain. Lets see how the "best political coverage" handles this–do you moderate unpartially, or not?

    October 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  9. jules

    Why do you not think Palin is qualified? She absolutely has more executive experience than Obama. She may not be a lawyer and may not be as eloquent as Obama but she is intelligent. Are we only allowed to have lawyers for president? Being president doesn't mean that you have to be a super human. It means that you have to have the ability to determine what is and isn't, all with the help of advisors. All presidents have them. Reagan wasn't the brightest but did a fine job because he was smart enough to have good people surrounding him. Palin has done a fine job as governor of Alaska. Yes, a small state but nonetheless, a state that has issues much as any other state. Obama has done what???? I haven't heard yet.

    October 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. Oh Puleeeeze.......

    Obama is a totally lame socialist... I'm holding my nose & voting McCain!

    October 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Texas Democrat

    finally i agree with mccain on something.

    October 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. ready for change

    VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN, VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN, VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN, MCCAIN IS REDICULOUS, YOU CHOSE THE WORST RUNNING MATE IN OUR HISTORYS RECORDED RECORDS, I DARE YOU SAY SHE IS A GOOD ROLE MODEL FOR OUR CHILDREN, I DON'T WANT MY CHILD TO BE A GOOD LI ER, I DON'T WANT HER TO BREAK OR ABUSE THE LAW, I DON'T WANT HER TO START RUMORS TO DELIBERATLY HURT SOMEONES CHARACTER, PALIN IS GUILTY OF ALL THIS, AND TOO MUCH MORE TO EVEN PUT DOWN. VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN

    October 16, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. TRO

    seeeeeeeeeeeee

    October 16, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. liz

    Well, Fox News website refused to post my comment (obviously), so hopefully I can post it here.. I tried to lend a liberal view to their site, but they clearly don't want to have any sort of bi-partisan opinions.

    "It ASTONISHES me how racist and small-minded Fox News and it's viewers are. Honestly, half of you believe that Obama is a Muslim (although, even if he was, who cares? Are you going to perpetuate a Muslim Holocaust?)
    I am ashamed to hear that my fellow Americans are so ridiculously one-sided. Obama is an honorable American who will serve our country extremely well. The fact that so many Americans continue to believe that Obama is some sort of an evil entity just goes to show that many of our citizens really don't understand the principles upon which our nation was formed."

    October 16, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. Lars Larson

    How can anyone believe that Sarah Palin can be ready to be president? She hasn't even served two full years as a governor and before that a mayor of a town less than 8,000 people? That's the experience needed to be the Vice President of the United States? Stop for a minute and think about it from a neutral standpoint.

    She would get eaten alive – if she thinks that main stream media is bad now, what on earth will she do as VP or President?

    I was all right with McCain until his choice of VP. That's what blew it for me.

    October 16, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Dan

    So McCain screwed up, so what. Only Obama the most "unauthentic" politician to run for president in my life time, never screws up and have excuse for everything!

    October 16, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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