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. Jeanette

    Palin has not inspired very many people other than the republicans. And as far as her being ready for another 911 attack I highly doubt her abilities as a leader. She simply is not qualified to be VP, let alone president. And I'm offended that McCain and the republican party are trying to convince themselves and the nation that she is ready. Period.
    Her interviews alone showed just how inept she is.

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Jack

    EVERYONE knows that Palin is not qualified to be VP or President.
    Even the Republicans know it, and McCain knows it in his gut.
    If he doesn't know it Americans do. I would not put this dangerous woman in charge of my livelihood, let alone the country.

    Democrats 08.

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Mary

    Mr "I have no character left in my body". These robo calls make me sick.

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Barb

    John McCain just spoke the epitaph of his entire campaign. "I screwed up." Yeah. You did.

    Obama '08! Si Se Puede!

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. bridge to nowhere

    "if" comes november 4th and mccain is the winner, america will prepare to have sarah as president in about a year, as she speaks she gives me the hibbie jeevies!!! every desicion she makes she will consult he witch doctor! and i say "if because alot of things could happen in two weeks...we might even see a continuation of bush

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. bill for barack

    Yeah, he screwed up all right – beginning with thinking he was fit to lead this nation in a time of crisis.
    He doesn't even know the difference between autism and down syndrome – read the transcript of the last debate.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Enough is enough from Dallas, Tx

    Say it ain't so ,Dave! Why would you even bother having this sad soul on your show? He is losing and desperately grasping for ANY FREE AIR TIME! Couldn't you find anyone else to fill in? Elmer Fudd wouild have been more interesting...hummm, I guess there are a lot of similarities... two very grumpy old farts!

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Koca

    In most of the people I know, she's inspired only ridicule. Yeah, John, you really screwed the pooch on that one.
    B

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. OHIO FOR OBAMA

    Yeah. You screwed up, in more ways than one. you are the mcsame, we know you r not bush, you just voted with him 90% of the time, then you pick that caribou barbie as a running mate and you want people to elect you president. please. your time has come and gone. bye bye.

    OBAMA/BIDEN -8

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Red, Red WHINE!!

    McCain sucks as a human being. He should go back to Vietnam and commit more treason! He turned on his country back then, and obviously has repeated his firm stance of hatred towards america. Why else would he choose an ethically wrong, anti-american secessionist as her running mate?

    Go back to Vietnam John, commit more treason, you are a disgrace to our country! You don't belong here.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. The real Fred

    No you didn't you. It's those supporting Obama who have screwed up. This election season reminds me of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes about a couple of swindlers who fool everyone except an honest child. I'm just waiting for that honest child to show us what a fraud Obama is. Did you hear him last night? Evaded the hard questions. We have absolutely no idea what he stands for.

    Go McCain.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. John in VA

    And boom goes John McCain's hopes for the White House

    "That One" 08

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. COL

    Gloria: no need for such shame, don't forget that Geraldine Ferraro was a vice presidential candidate long before this pretender was on the scene.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Laszlo in L.A.

    Sarah Palin has inspired people with short term memory problems who seem not to realize we've had Joe Six Pack in the White House for the last 8 years and that hasn't worked out, not even for Republicans.

    A look at Iraq, Katrina or Wall Street and how Joe Six Pack responded to these emergencies tells you everything you really need to know about what a Palin presidency or a Hockey Mom presidency might look like.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Thomas from Missouri

    Why was Letterman so ticked? Dang, people probably cancel on him all the time for some reason or another. He obviously doesn't like McCain anyway.

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Don of Wisconsin

    I can only replay in my mind the words of that popular Christian Hymn:
    "What a friend we have in Barrack.....all our troubles tooo bring....".

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. Bill

    McCain, Palin and lieberman are toast.

    More red states will turn blue in the next few days.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. Susan

    Anyone who props Sarah Palin up as being even remontely qualified in any capacity whatsoever is not putting "country first."

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Born in NYC

    John McCain... your nose is growing!

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Ben

    Palin could be the motivation behind the bumber sticker is saw in Dallas Texas

    Republican?

    Are you crazy?

    Hmmm

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. Obama/Biden 08

    Cancelling on Letterman and picking Sarah Palin are not McCain's only mistakes. He also did not vet Joe the Plumber, who is neither licenced or registered to be a plumber in Ohio, before making him the star of last night's debate. Now that we know Joe the Plumber is not actually a plumber, McCain's campaign is down the drain.

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Dixie

    So Sad. If you admire Sarah Palin you must be just like her only not as smart!!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Fair Game!

    Late Night Television:

    Joke about McCain = Ageism = Accepted

    Joke about Palin or Hillary = Sexism= Accepted

    Joke about Obama = Racism = "Liberals & Blacks Criying Fowl."

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Uche Enyioko

    JOHN, YOU ARE LATE IN THE LATE NIGHT SHOW BUT ALREADY LATE (DEAD) ON LETTERMAN VIEW ABOUT YOU.

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. No Hillary = No Obama

    What else was McCain going to do? Letterman puts the screws to people, night after night after night when he feels he's been screwed. He's like an infant terrible with the ego of a 2 year old. Besides, Letterman has a habit of inserting himself into jokes, skits, guest-talk -he has to be the center of the universe. I personally don't think he's very funny, but I do think he is vindictive.

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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