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. Lee NY, NY

    When I saw the headline – I thought he meant the whole campaign.

    October 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. Paula from Canada

    McCain will one day admit he picked a real loser in Palin..by the way ..Palin's newborn has Down's Syndrome..NOT autism.. get it right for heaven sake. As a Mom of an autistic son I can tell you it is very different..but you should already KNOW that.
    McCain you really need to get a break and relax..I sincerely believe your PTSD is getting the best of you. I have a son with war related PTSD and I know the signs. Your anger and rage are not healthy.

    October 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. Hip Hop Producers for Obama/Biden

    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."
    ________________________________________________________

    BS!! Who the hell has she inspired!!?? NOT ME! She might be able to take a shot with her moose rifle at a terrorist but she sure as HE...LL couldn't lead a turtle back to water!

    October 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  4. judy in PA

    Like I said, if McCain wins I'm moving to Canada, my fiancee is a canadian citizen who has lived here 54 years. He screwed up, thats an understatement. And yes Sarah has inspired me, inspired me to leave. Its hard to do as my family has been here since before the french indian war. But McCain will alienate the remaining allies we have if he acts like he has during the debates.

    October 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. nana

    McCains comments re Canada/UK healthcare were indeed uncalled for. Living in Canada, I praise our government for enabling us to have such health care, it is not perfect but I nor anyone I know has ever been refused treatment and we receive the best that is available. Shame on you McCain.
    Obama appears to most of us Canadians as the one that will pull your country back to its rightful place with dignity. He is an amazing young man and he appears to have strong family values, intellect, ethics and ambition. Its a no brainer from our side of the bridge VOTE FOR OBAMA YOU GUYS PLEASE!!! Don't allow McCain and his wife to continue in Bush's footsteps.

    October 16, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  6. Roy

    What else is new? He has always screwed up.

    October 16, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. anne

    How come so many of my comments about McCain do not show up? Maybe I should ask McCain so he can blame Obama.

    October 16, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. Nina

    Oh, I can't wait to watch this tonight. This should be a riot.

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  9. Matt

    Palin reminds me of a Dead MIlkmen's song I once heard...

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. Its -- Over

    He should have never been a candidate!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. nelson

    I wonder if Letterman and McCain will "kiss and make up"
    This campaign is way over the top

    Obama/Biden/Clinton 08"

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. chris

    songbird MCCIAN

    google it

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. g8tor

    john...plssssssssssss, get real.....she doesnt have the right experience to be the president IF you ever win IT......and I dont think u will...just my $.02....good bye

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. Tabitha

    Yes, John you screwed up. First, you picked Sarah Palin, then you got desperate and lost your way, now you want people to believe they you can bring CHANGE. Not falling for it.

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. Hip Hop Producers for Obama/Biden

    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."
    ________________________________________________________

    BS!! Who the heck has she inspired!!?? NOT ME! She might be able to take a shot with her moose rifle at a terrorist but she sure as HECK (that's NOT the word i really wanted to use!) couldn't lead a turtle back to water!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. anne

    And Palin is horrible! As a women I can not support a woman who hates half of America and who has never done a single thing to actually help women.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. PCS / North Carolina

    You will screw up the country big time.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  18. The Bluest Skies are in Seattle

    Is there anyone as sick of hearing this "Joe the Plummer B.S. that isn't even a plummer and McPhallings Joe six-pack .
    Enough of this is enough......................................

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. Steven

    If McCain was not such a jerk, I'd feel sorry for him. But alas, the one time "maverick" sold his soul and most of us that actually liked him can't help but be utterly disgusted. Obama is going to wipe the floor with McCain.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. Mike

    I'm usually a Leno guy, should I switch for the pure pleasure of seeing two jerks on one set.?

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. Al

    McCain skipping out on Letterman was at best a miscalculation. McCain was foolish in running off to DC to "aid" in the bailout. His own party leaders told him not to come. I am glad he is trying to make amends with Letterman and hope it is a good show. However, he keeps dodging the question about Palin's ability to be President and it bugs the hell out of me. Proud is a feeling, you feel "proud" of your child when they graduate or make a game winning hit. McCain, when asked if you think she is qualified you say "proud"? Are you kidding me? Did she just score the tying run? Tell the US her qualifications! Don't tell us you are proud of her or that she is inspirational. We want to know WHY YOU THINK SHE IS QUALIFIED!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. BOO!

    Is it just me or is McCain the whitest man on the planet. Gee he is Casper the ghost like. His running mate is spooky too.. she sounds just like a racist! no need for Halloween costumes this year McCain /Palin ticket just go as you are! BOO!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. 19 days until Obama is President

    Wow, I was really hoping this was an article about McCain admitting he made the biggest screw up of his life by choosing Palin as his running mate. No such luck.

    Every time he says Palin is what this country needs, his rating drop another point. Keep on talkin' McCain, it's only making the path to the White House that much easier for Obama.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. James

    He is a screw up, period.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. ty ty

    I'mnotaracist,
    U want us to look at McCain's record to see that he voted with Bush 90% of the time. U want us to look at McCain's record to see how many lies he has told. U want us to look at McCain's record because of ............... The idiot is not Obama but folks like you. If you weren't a racist, your name would not be I'm not a racist.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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