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. Meg in SC

    I am an overweight grandmother, age 62. If Sarah Palin is qualified to handle something heavy like another 9/11, then I'm a freaking NY debutante.

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. An Obama support

    Thanks senator for finally putting an end to Letterman whinning.

    Even though I dont like McCain.

    Lettterman your show is not that important!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Oh, please

    This is ridiculous. Letterman will forgive him so easily?

    He's just going back to boost his poll numbers.

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Francis, Hawaii

    Sarah Palin has inspired many Americans at first but now she is terrible will all the negative campaign. She is not what we want in a President. McCain is being nice and not being realistic, as he alway is anyway.

    October 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. bud

    Who is this McCain person and why are we talking about him?

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. the other jd

    Is he talking about supporting Bush? Picking Palin? OH–just missing Dave's show.

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. anyonmous

    (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."

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Lyndon,CA

    His Viagra is fine, its just the Metamucil that's a bit concentrated.

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Nick

    So at a time when we have a catastrophe the likes of september 11th, we need some twit to wink and say everything's "just dandy", right? Um, thanks McCain. Seriously, are you TRYING to lose this race?

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Cam

    If McCain really believes that a cheerleader/hatemonger like Palin is prepared to lead the country through another 9/11 attack, he shouold be immediately committed for psychiatric evaluation.......does she even know what the 9/11 attacks were? Probably not because they didn't involve bombing Mike Wooten's house.....

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. Tired of the BS

    He screwed up by picking the wrong running mate!

    October 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Barbara

    Excuse me, Mr. McCain, but I need a WHOLE LOT MORE than inspiration. Especially the Palin kind....

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Indy2008

    I wish McAngry had canceled tonight as well! He needs to cancel his hold campaign! Go early vote! Don't let the media scare you from voting!

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. Tyree in Virginia

    McCain screwed up? Whats new?

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. tishoogle

    McShame is one scary person, saying Palin is ready for the vp position! Both of them need to go hide in the woods with the mooses!

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Mike in Toronto

    Sarah Palin is George Bush in drag. McCain destroys his credibility every time he vigorously defends her. He should admit his mistake and ask someone else to take her place. She has cost him big.

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Barry, Winnetka, Il

    John-you're done, baked, cooked-let Sarah Palin do the show-she's the future-only 44 years old and already a Mayor, Governor with the highest approval rating in the U.S., Member Alaskan Energy and conservation Board--and all while raising 5 kids.

    Is there any doubt that Sarah is far more accomplished than her critics like Olbermann, Matthews and that dike Madow

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Annette

    Sen. McCain you are no "maverick". Who is the real Sen. McCain, and by the way, why don't you release your unseen documents regarding the Keating 5?? Since you feel the need to accuse??

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Joe

    She is not. You Screwed up again.

    October 16, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Ken

    Yes, she is inspirational.

    She inspired me to vote Democratic.

    October 16, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Jim in Bisbee

    McCain should have a lot more time to be on Letterman after the election. Maybe he can share barbeque tips or talk about other interesting retirement activities.

    October 16, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. Thomas in PDX

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

    Yeah...inspiring them to vote for Barack Obama.

    October 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. james in s.c.

    how nice that mcbush says he screwed up, the fact he knows he's in dead possition of losing the being of presidential election! let the democate rule!!!!

    peace

    October 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. JOE THE UNLICENSED TAX CHEAT KEATING RELATED PLUMBER

    Yea, no crap. You screwed us all with Sarah Palin if you get elected. God forbid.

    October 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. sandee in Portland

    I can't believe Letterman invited him back. I watch Letterman and Leno about half and half. Letterman just lost me entirely...just Leno from now on.

    And again, like last night in the debate, McCain doesn't answer the question about Palin's readiness. "Absolutely" "She has inspired Americans. That's the thing we need". DUH! Inspired, more like incited and how does inspiring americans prepare you for the White House?

    I just watched a CNN interview with the gal that's the head of ACORN and the guy that's checking out the supposed voter fraud in Indiana and Ohio. The head of ACORN invited him to look at their books. It seems to me if you've done something wrong you wouldn't give that invite. Not that I think ACORN is perfect, but I do admire them for registering voters. It's just too bad that some of the people they hire aren't honest, but a lot of employers out there have dishonest people working for them, so it's no surprise.

    October 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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