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. AD

    Palin HAS inspired America. To donate to Obama's campaign....

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Who are the REAL McCain Supporters?

    Joe the Plumber said that Obama "tapped danced on his tax plan like Sammy Daivs Jr". Wow.

    October 16, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Edisto

    McCain really looks ill (mentally and physically). Perhaps he needs to go to church this week and pray for forgiveness for all the hatred he's spewed these past few weeks. Or does he even belong to a church?

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. truth08

    I was wondering, does CNN only post the sad and pathetic comments of confused ignorant liberal Americans??? Seems to be the case. Good for you CNN, giving all of the short bus morons of America a place to voice their opinions!

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. nelda

    You betcha, he screwed up. On everything!

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. Joyce - CT

    Lets all cut to the chase here – this is what it looks like to me and anyone else with half a brain can see this to.......

    It's okay to bet the hell out of the woman candidate and that's okay. It won't matter if she had two master degrees and a doctorate in political science – the American MAN does not want a woman in the White House. With that said the American woman also has a problem with a woman in the White House, Jesus it might mean that most of us would have to step up to the plate and stop hiding behind the big strong men in our lives and take charge.

    American Women need to wake up and realize that you're only contributing to the female population from being keep in the kitchen and following behind the men.

    WAKE UP WOMEN!! Take a step back and stop listening to the mostly male commentators. Use your own ears to hear and eyes to see what is going on!!!!

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. w.l. jones

    We are a world country? why not have a world person by birth heading it, which all across our planet people can identfy with us.

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  8. Jacky

    2008 Election Landslide !!

    Obama !!

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. Tim

    Of course he did.

    While few people really listen – open minded – to talking head on radio or cable television, many, many people tune into late night comedy (Letterman, Leno, et. al.). It's often the last comments they hear before going to sleep.

    Letterman was killing him through humor and skewering Palin in the process. I think this is symptomatic of how McCain, Palin, and the republicans are out-of-touch with Americans.

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Pepou

    McCain screwed up with Vicki Iseman, a rich lobbyist in 2005. She now denies the affair, reminding all voters that ,... it happened.

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. KLEE

    Looking forward to McCain on Letterman tonight. I want to hear what both of them have to say now......What bothers me somewhat is that when reading all of these "tickers" most show support for Obama/Biden – but the polls are practically 50/50 if you look at the big picture – looks to me it should be 80/20 nationwide!

    Vote Obama/BIden 2008 – PLEASE – cause Sarah Pirhanna scares me!

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. Joe OBiden

    All I have to say is three letters: "J-O-B-S"

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  13. Independent for Obama!!

    Mccain got caught in a lie and had no choice but to admit that he srewed up! Mccain, please understand that Palin has only inspired women with half a brain. There is nothing inspiring about her, she is totally inexperienced and has no national or international knowledge and if you think that a woman like her from a small far far away from everything in Alaska has foreigh and national security experience because she met a few leaders or heads of state then you are not even as smart as you think. Be honest with yourself, you know that you srewed up choosing Plain as VP, admit it!

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  14. cajman

    I wonder what Obama will do when Israel attacks Iran over nuclear weapons if he is elected. The Israelis will no wait for him to be inaugurated to attack Iran. . Lets see what he does. Everyone talks so much crap talk about Mc cain that you don't realize neither candidate has any good plans... They both suck. It's just on dumb Democrat against a dumb Republican... Did any of you read the financial bailout plan and the crap both Democrats and Republicans included in the plan.... tax break for freakin wooden arrows? Paulson should be president because he hosed both the Republicans and Democrats into signing what he wanted....... what idiots all you people are who praise both candidates.

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. Frank

    Dear John,
    America does NOT need an inexperienced, unknowledgeable, person as your VP. just because she can excite or should I say incite a crowd of you base supporters does in no way qualify her as a president.

    So if you wonder about your poll numbers outside your base, it is indeed Palin. She was an exciting new face at first, but when she started to talk, which she has to do by the way, Americans could see that the lights are on, but there's no one home. In other words, your first and perhaps most important Presidential decision, selecting an VP was and is a complete failure and has shown America just how little you really care about the future of this great country. You can say whatever you want blame whoever you want about why your popularity is dropping, You have No one to blame except yourself!

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. Tannim

    He screwed up when he didn't drop out and concede to Ron Paul. The rest is just slow burn...

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  17. Independent Woman

    Oh what a role model Palin is – she parades her unmarried pregnant daughter in front of millions, she abuses her power as Governor and consistently covers lies with more lies. As a woman, I'm insulted. My twelve year old daughter is more articulate and can explain herself better than Palin. With that said, she is pathetic and not only isn't she qualified to be President but also should be impeached in Alaska.

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. unimpressed by OB

    All this talk about Obama being specific...he keeps saying he "plans on" doing this and that...Americans are such easy sells. McCain HAS DONE, CAN DO, and WILL DO. As for all the hate women have for Palin...a little sour grapes? Finally, you have a down-to-earth role-model...y'all ladies just can't handle it...!

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  19. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Ducking out on Dave isn't the only thing you've screwed up!

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Stop the Pain McPain Propagates

    Lets remind them all about how this is the 2nd time John McLame has played a Key role in the collapse of our Finance industry. Keating5 in 1989.

    Now as he has never ceased being Mr. Deregulation... Our Financial
    Institutions are again collapsing around Mr. Derugulation.

    He is almost singlehandedly the Cause of two Economic mega falls.

    NoWay.. No How... NO MC Same.. !

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. idiots for McPalin

    CNN, how to do feel that Palin's credentials are being asked by a late night talk show host instead of you? I thought u guys were the media/reporters, you aren't doing your job. You shouldn't be afraid of Palin you should go after her and vet her more.

    Drew Griffin of the so-called special investigations unit should do his job right, and investigate Palin, he seems to be focused 100% on bringing down Obama with false lies. He is worthless!

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. jim

    Me, Are you some kind of a nut? McBrain Screwed up Big Time!

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Juan Grain

    you screwd up when you quit being honorable and started worrying about winning, you screwd up when you made a deal with satan by hiring the very people that threw you under the bush bus, you screwd up last night when you switched the referendum from Obama to your closeness to Bush policy. you screwd up when you brought you "Joe the Plumber" to the table not knowing that he is not a liscensed plunber that makes 40k and is in no way able to buy a 200k business, not to mention the 11k lean that exist against him in cort records. You are screwd up Senator McCain, Happy retirement!

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. Mim

    What polls are being reviewed by McCain for Palin? The Republicans that I know, that were going to vote for McCain, will not forgive him for selecting Palin. She is against everything, that women have fought for years. McCain and Palin had never meet, unless it was on a ice ledge in Alaska. McCain probably loves the winking from Palin. The 700,000 registered voters in Alaska, and the co-op with the husband as a shrimp boat company does not count the excutive experience. The majority of counties in the mainland have 700,000 registered voters. One county in most of the states have that many registered voters.

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  25. D E FROM IL

    MC DUMMY IS NOT SMART ENOUGH TO RUN A DIME STORE , LET ALONE THIS COUNTRY. I HAVE ONE THING TO ADD ABOUT LAST NIGHTS COMMENT OF MC CAIN (I STILL DONT BELIEVE IN ETHENOL FUEL.THEN A FEW STATEMENTS LATER HE SAID WE NEED TO MAKE MORE FLEX FUEL CARS, WELL WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK FLEX FUEL CARS RUN ON JOHN..??? HEY DUMMY IT IS ETHENOL AND BUY THE WAY WE ALREADY HAD ELECTRIC CARS IN THE 70'S 80'S AND 90'S WHERE DID THEY GO ASK THE OIL COMPANIES???????I PERSONALLY WOULD MUCH RATHER GIVE OUR HURTING FARMERS IN THIS COUNTRY 100MILLION A MONTH THAN SEND IT OVER SEES. WOULDNT YOU??

    October 16, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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