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

'I screwed up,' McCain tells Letterman

,
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. MD

    McCain is finally right about something. He said he screwed up. However, he scewed up when he allowed hatemongers at his VP's and his own rallies get away with racist remarks.

    He has ben lying to the American people about Obama, and today he is engaged in robocalls with a disgusting message.

    McCain is nothing but the shell of a man he once was.

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. C - SAN FRANCISCO

    We have looked at McCain and that is why we are voting Obama!!!!! I can't wait until we don't have to look at Palin anymore – 19 more days!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. YOU BETCHA

    SARAH FAILIN

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. Nancy

    Good Grief . . . who is David Letterman and why do we care if he was upset at the last minute. If you think that America will be better off if Obama wins, then you're living in the land of Oz. Start counting those tax hikes now, 'cause it's only going to get worse.

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Linda32

    You know, yesterday i felt a little sorry for him. Today, I'm convinced that he has given up on everything and knows he has lost, so you is thinking what the heck. Let's go for broke.

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Shane from LB

    Canceling your Letterman appearance was one of your many, many screw ups that will allow Obama to win in a landslide.

    Oh-and if you really think Sarah P. can handle a 9/11 type attack, you are way more delusional than I ever imagined!

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Darrell

    Palin has inspired millions to vote for Obama !! Palin has inspired many that she is so scary that they better get out and vote. McCain will be saying "I screwed up" for a long time. I feel sorry for the old fart but he brought it on by allowing his campaign to be run as the worst campaign in memory so yeah the "I screwed up" slogan will be into his retirement.

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. Regina

    You're not a Racist. You could fool me. It tells me you just don't have the capacity to understand, it's called being unteachable

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. smactley

    Tom – he's a comedian. He was making a JOKE. He doesn't actually believe that the polls went down because of him......have a sense of humor.

    I'm not a racist- his record is exactly why we shouldn't vote him and ditzy palin in.

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. Ralph

    We need more than inspiration in the White House.

    We need a history of intellectual curiosity – something sorely lacking from both McCain and Palin.

    I'm tired of being smarter than our "leaders". I want to feel stupid again.

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. Mark

    McCain is truly becoming the "Manchurian Candidate". Erratic, angry, brooding....He's showing his true colors as a man of hate and division.

    October 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Texas Baby

    Yeah, you're not a racist, just another idiot. No more idiots in the oval office please.. We've had 8 years of stupidity. Palin is dumb as dumb can get. OBAMA/BIDEN 08 !

    October 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. NevadaFriend

    I truly appreciated the comments by Shiloh WA. I too have friends that have had the same experience. I also have friends in other countries that think we are very foolish about our health care attitudes. Years ago, a friend and I, would personally go, every month, to Mexico to get prescriptions for senior citizens who couldn't afford the US costs. I was happy to do that for them but ashamed that it was necessary. The bad attitude of the Bush administration and many Republicans, has hurt our relationship with many countries, also, countries who used to be our friends. Thanks for the comment, Philip Bunn, about McCain and Palin. If McCain thought that Palin would pull in women voters he was badly mistaken, as we aren't that stupid.

    October 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. Maggie

    There are hundreds of intelligent and accomplished Republican women that John could have chosen- instead he chose a total out of touch, completely un-curious hick of an idiot that is a shame to all women and to Americans. In doing so he lost the vote of even many Repub women..

    October 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  15. Tradesmart

    Ya know, I voted for McCain years ago when he was running in AZ.

    But now, I can't stand to look at the jerk. He is hateful and disgusting!

    How many times did this guy interrupt our guy last night? He can't keep his dirty mouth shut. I had to keep a puke bucket next to me.

    Is it my imagination or does he need to brush his teeth and use some Crest White Strips after using the Lava Soap!

    Obama got $300 from me and I'm glad it was spent well.

    McCain "please shut up"!

    October 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    I'M NOT A RACIST

    If John McCain had a record he would have run on it. Instead lies and accusations smearing Obama. Obama is a smart man and has run a well planed campaign. America would benifit from his demeaner and judgement.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. xargaw

    I hope someone asks him about the sleazy robo-calls that are being made all over the country. He obviously wairted until after the debate because these are utterly shameful. There is no tactic too low for this campaign. I hope the voters continue to be repelled by these negative and dishonor junk.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. T.Vee

    Screwed up? More than that.... if he had half a conscience, he would straighten out "Sam Sixpack," who will BENEFIT from an Obama tax cut !!!

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. Come on people

    I will not vote for someone just because of skin color that is so dumb, I will vote for the candidate that will do a better job in office. Leave race out of the race.

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. Susan

    No Sir, Palin is not competant for VP post.

    McCain '08/ Plain '09 <--- Bumper sticker in Alaska

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. my friends yes my friends

    He is screwed up and now wants to screw up the american people

    Sarah palin qualified????

    my lord if she is qualified we all are and we ALL are now running for VP..

    that is so scary.........
    ""She has inspired Americans. That's the thing we need."

    are you kidding me???

    yeah she will have us be part of the US of Alaska

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. Indiana mom

    Someone should tell McCain that Palin's son has Downs, not Autism, and did anyone else think at any moment his head was going to turn tomato red, spit steam out the ears and pressure cooker combust right there on live television?? YIKES.

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. jaowinter

    To 'I'm not a racist"....first of all it's RESENT not RECENT....secondly, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School and you don't think he's qualified to work at McDonalds? Are you serious? Honestly, you couldn't be that stupid. How many of your coworkers attended Harvard????

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. mitch

    you screwed up so many times the late show is the least of yer worries.

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Jamie

    When will this be over so we no longer have to see the Mummy and the Dummy day in and day out?

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26