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. hmm...

    when he says "i screwed up".. does it include him parachuting into washington?

    October 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Kate

    She has inspired Americans to express their inner bigot, perhaps. That's about all she's done.

    October 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    McCain is running the biggest lies ever in his ads in NC. Glad I already voted today. McCain is a dishonorable old liar.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. lucy lu

    Put a fork in him.....he's done !

    October 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. The Stallion & The Champ vs. The Old Mule and Winky Half-baked Alaska

    This guy is a F-R-A-U-D and a L-I-A-R.

    October 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  6. Vivian

    She has inspired Americans...what Americans? I'm an American and she does'nt inspire me.

    October 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  7. Bill

    Europeans are saying Sarah Palin is and ever won't be a Margareth Thatcher and that she is half baked, whatever that means haha.

    October 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. aaron

    a screw up just like the current president

    October 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. New England Yankee

    I think I'm starting to gag.

    October 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Tim

    Sarah Palin leading us through any disaster is an absurd McCain fantasy.

    October 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Logic

    Ooops ... looks like Dave did not ask “What does Palin know ?”

    That is the big white elephant in the room (of the public).

    She didn’t know about the Russian delegation’s visit in Alaska. We don’t care about what she does not know, but what does she know about the Bush, McCain and Obama policies, current general knowledge of the US and the world, economy, foreign policy, health care, immigration and anything in the lower 48 states and the world. What does she really know ?

    October 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. Annie, Chicago

    Hey John–bring Sarah with you-afterall it's really her against Obama-
    she's the one who outdrew the both of you in the TV debates by over 10 million people-she's the one who draws the biggest crowds–60,000 in Orlando and 50,000 in Virginia–she's the one who's running for president in 2012 & 2016-she's the one-period.

    October 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. NONAMQ

    ha ha ha.. MCFOOL !

    October 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Molly

    The fact that he thinks Sarah Palin is the best Republican in the country to be a 72 year old heart beat away from the presidency is reason enough to disqualify John McCain from consideration as president of this country.

    October 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Jennifer

    Is that his justification?

    She's inspired (red) American and that means she is qualified to lead a country.

    Get a clue, McCain!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. Laidetea

    McCain is a loser. Palin is bad influence on women and children. Same old Bush policies. They're no change agents or mavericks. They're war mongers, divisive people. If they can't win...they'll try to divide the country. Don't listen to them.

    Vote Obama/Biden

    October 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. American

    She is not qualified period.

    October 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. He lost me with Sarah

    She would be impeached for incompetence. She's inexperienced and to top that she's not intelligent. That's the difference between her and obama intelligence.

    October 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Keri

    McCain/Palin is the best joke of the year!

    October 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. Alissa in Kansas

    Correction John: you ARE a screwup! God help this man! He has NO HONOR!

    October 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    Please, Dave, ask John McCain about the "robo-calls" going out to voters in various states, that FALSELY ACCUSE Sen Obama of "having a close relationship with Ayers" and suggesting that Sen. Obama is friendly with terrorists!

    Last night, America, McCain LIED to us. He said that "he doesn't care about some washed up terrorist like Ayers" ............BUT.......today his campaign begins those slimy "robo-calls", which CNN reported on today.

    Again, I say, PLEASE AMERICA, let's rise up and REJECT the politics of LIES.......HATE.....AND.......FEAR THAT THE REPUBLICANS ESPOUSE!

    ****************STOP THE HATE****************STOP THE LIES*******

    October 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  22. BK

    Sarah Palin has inspired me alright – inspired me to vote early in Colorado for Barack Obama. McCaint's erratic behavior during the last two years has also inspired me.... to question his sanity.

    October 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  23. annie - never again a dem.

    Letterman and all the other comedians better wise up!! If McCain/Palin is elected they have four more years they can make jokes. If obama is elected, they are done – no more jokes – that would be racist!

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  24. Anne - Michigan

    Inspiration – We need inspiration in another 9/11 attack – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This gets scarier and scarier every time I read another story.

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. Danny from Phoenix

    What does 'inspiration' have to do with defending an attack like 9/11? I cannot wait for McCain to lose and retire.

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
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