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. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    I keep hearing McCain saying he can PROMISE more JOBS for the American people.............Why didn't he do this for the thousands of employee's that LOSE their jobs at his wives BEER company. The reason for the reduction was to save the company millions of dollars, without regards to the devastation that would cause these employee's and their families.

    QUESTION....If McCain Cares and KNOW how to create JOBS, why didn’t he share this with his wife so she would have given them the OPPORTUNTY to KEEP their JOBS????????????????????????????????

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  2. GINA SHU

    YOU PEOPLE ARE POOR EXCUSES FOR AMERICANS. THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN FOUNDED ON GOD, GOOD MORALS AND A PERSONS CHARACTER TO MAKE GOOD MORAL CHOICES . (OBVIOUSLY WHAT MOST OF YOU LACK). I GUESS YOU WANT A RADICAL LEFT WINGER AND SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN INVOLVED WITH A TERRORIST. (ITS SEEMS EVERYONE HAS FORGOT ABOUT 911......IF YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORIST AND WANT THEM TO RUN YOUR COUNTRY YOU NEED TO PACK UP AND MOVE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY TO AFGHANISTAN OR IRAQ WHERE YOU CAN ENJOY THEIR RADICAL LIFESTYLE.. THATS WHAT MCCAIN HAS FOUGHT FOR AND HAD EVERY BONE IN HIS BODY BROKE FOR :::YOU POOR EXCUSES FOR AMERICANS. OBAMA HAS LIED ON JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING....ie...HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH.........BILL AYERS, 20 YRS OF CHURCH ATTENDANCE INVOLVE WITH JEREMIAH ( I HATE WHITE AMERICA) WRIGHT..LOUIS FARAHKAN..(VIDEOS ON UTUBE SHOWS HE THINKS OF HIMSELF AS BEING JESUS CHRIST AND BARACK ALSO BEING NAMED THE MESSIAH..INVOLVEMENT WITH ACORN(GIVING THEM OVER $800,000 (INTERESTING) ...THERE HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED PROOF OF THESE ALLEGATIONS. I CAN'T BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE THAT STUPID NOT TO SEE THE TRAIL OF RADICALISM HERE...HELLO!!!!!!!!??????? WE LOVE YOU SARAH...YOU GO GIRL. YOU ARE WHAT WOMAN SHOULD LOOK UP TO. THANKS FOR BEING SUCH A GREAT EXAMPLE FOR WHAT A WOMAN SHOULD BE.

    MCCAIN/PALIN ALL THE WAY!!!! 08

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Sarah Falin

    McCain is a joke...he is losing..badly.
    turns out that Joe the plumber only makes 40k a year, cant really buy the 2 person business, and owes $1800 in back taxes!!! LOL
    Like Palin, Mccain should have done his homework before using them to try to win.

    so sad....
    LOLOLOLOLOL

    President Obama 2008!!! THAT one..that WON!!!! you betcha!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Tom, KS

    What a Fool!

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  5. D.C.

    How can anyone take McCain's responses seriously? Angry looks, rolling eyes, "My friends" when he does not seem like he would be a good one. Palin as a choice, a serious blunder that will continue to hurt their campaign. What is the serious point to his campaign? Attack and blunder is not a wining strategy.

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. Ron from Baltimore

    doo·fus (dfs)
    n. pl. doo·fus·es Slang
    An incompetent, foolish, or stupid person.
    [Perhaps blend of doof, fool (from Scots) and goofus, fool (from goof).]

    Mr. Letterman, don't let McCain make a doofus out of you as well!

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Kurt

    So How Many Planes did "Crash McCain" screw up?.....

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Christine

    McFailin et al are terrifying to many of us.....
    PLEASE go out and vote OBAMA/BIDEN on November 4th...
    Can you imagine the CELEBRATION when we win!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. MJ

    Richie...that comment is BRILLIANT.

    I could kick McCain for picking Palin!! We will never be rid of her..she will plague American politics for years to come...It would be nice of Dave would pull off at least one joke at her expense.

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. It's over McCain!

    McCain has shown us through his campaign how he would run the White House.

    Risky, Unfit, Unstable, Erratic and outright scary

    October 16, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. EG

    Back when he first cancelled, he still had a shred of decency. Now, he's happy to rip the country apart at the seams in his lust for the presidency.

    After the hate coming out from the robocalls and being solicited and encouraged by Palin, McCain isn't worthy to take a seat on the Late Show.

    He served his country with honour in Vietnam...and then he lost his honour in this campaign. I'm angry, but also truly sad for him.

    October 16, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. Pennsylvania Voter

    Can't wait to see McCain grovel at Letterman's feet tonight.

    Obama/Biden

    2008
    &
    2012 (Nope! Not that Palin clueless person)

    October 16, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. scorie

    Please Obama take may hard earned money and give it away to all the low lifes scumbags who do nothing for themselves. This will be 4 years of hell.

    GO Mcain/Palin 08!! Please

    October 16, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. Mark

    1 – I am voting for Obama
    2 – I am embarrased that so many liberal folks that write on these blogs are so mean-spirited, nasty and judgemental. Of all the things we had to pick up from the Republicans, why did you choose this? You should all be ashamed of yourselves. And I love that you always say the Repubs are nasty, attackers. Read your own blogs.

    I want my Democratic Party back, one that was for Peace, justice and caring for humans, regardless of how they exercised their freedoms. Yes Republicans are free to believe whatever they want. When did the Dems forget this? We need to wake up or we're going to lose, remember Bush? He won, and everyone dislikes him!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  15. "John Wayne"

    For more years than I care to count I have known that Ignorance Abounds thruout the Land. All the gross posts against John McCain only goes to affirm that conclusion.

    If you have a secure job, good for you. If you don't be prepared to lose it if Obama gets elected and gets his programs enacted.

    October 16, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. michael in MO

    You guys are always looking for a way to "headline" McCain or anything to do with his campaign in the most negative light possible. Its absolutely ridiculous and grossly obvious to millions. If you somehow think this is persuasive to get voters over to your "boy's" side, its doing nothing but backfiring all across the country and the world. Do you have any idea how much the world laughs at our bias, market-driven media, and worse, how gullible our 30" sound-bite culture buys into it all, without doing their own research? If Obama in fact wins, this country truly deserves the @#!~ its bought itself. But then, who really cares what Obama's policies are about, its more important that he prompt "hope" and "change" and, oh golly, he's just so "kewl." What a joke.

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  17. Pepou

    He has screwed up ALL THE TIME. Selecting that big abject Judas Lieberman, then that dimwit from Alaska, He is not only a liar but an inept old fool unfit for any office,.

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  18. SC BLUE

    Do you think the robo calls work?? My Republican neighbors are thinking of voting for OBAMA because they think its awful

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  19. Judy

    Is this the most important issue in the country right now? McCain's appearance on Letterman? Get a grip, people.

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. joan

    "She has inspired Americans" With what? Hate and Fear? Sarcasm? Unethical behavior? Witchcraft?

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  21. Holland from NC

    I voted for Obama today in the early voting and my husband even voted (for only the second time of his life). If McCain and Palin get elected, this country is in serious, serious trouble. However, if you're NOT going to vote for a certain candidate, at least make it for a good reason. Don't say "I'm not voting for Obama 'cause he's black" or "I'm not voting for McCain 'cause he's old." Seriously folks...look at the issues. Obama just has a better record, I'm sorry. All McCain's ads are doing is mudslinging. That's it. Bringing up insignificant little things here and there trying to instill fear in people. It's like tall grade school.

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. Joe the Troll

    She has inspired Americans, alright. Inspired them to vote for Obama.

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Glenn in California

    You screwed up by picking that nitwit from Wasilla too. How dumb can you be?

    October 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. SANDRA THE ONE WHO CARES

    There are so many racist people who don't believe a intelligent black /white man can be the president.He was born in a racial family and given the opportunlty of a life time.He was raised by white grandparents that excepted him.He is now running for the highest office and those THAT HAVE HATRED IN THERE HEART are lying and cause irate rallies and would rather have what we have had for 8 years a low life man that has cause harm to America for the sake of his power and look what we are in now.WHY EVERYONE IS QUESTIONING BARACK OBAMA PLEASE CHECK JOHN MCSANE WAR RECORD THAT IS SEAL ALONG WITH HIS MEDICAL RECORDS.WE WILL BE IN THIS SAME MESS ANOTHER 4 YEARS IF THIS COUNTRY CONTINUE ON THIS PATH...PEOPLE PLEASE WAK E UP.....................THINK FOR YOURSELF AND READ AND LOOK FOR REAL ANSWERES NOT THOSE WITHOUT REASON...MCSANE WAS A JOKE LAST NIGHT MAKING UGLY FACES DISRESPECTING OTHERS AND TELLING LIES TO YOU AMERICA!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  25. coffeeocity

    Let's see... inspiring fear, dread, terror in some Americans and looking to inspire hate and bigotry in others. Yeah, I guess you could call the unqualified running mate you selected inspiring, Sen. McCain.

    October 16, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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