October 16th, 2008
10:19 PM ET
10 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. Republican for Obama

    You've got to be kidding me McCain!...Palin might be ready to for a crisis at a PTA meeting, but not one that involves our great country. She's half the reason our family is abandoning our party and voting for Obama. Obama is exactly who our country needs!

    October 16, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Gary

    The Dems have loads of dirt they could throw back at these two clowns...
    The question is will they need to.

    October 16, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. idiots for McPalin

    Joe the Plumber is such a fraud! He owes 1200 in back taxes. LOSER!

    October 16, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Juan Grain

    I will watch the McCain on SNL, he is more authentic!

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

    So what if McCain is a gimmicky hack whose platform of trickle-down economics has failed America for so many years. Just remember Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Acorn.

    Vote McCain/Joe the Plumber '08

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

    YES Palin has inspired americans, TO HATE ANYTHING THAT LOOKS DIFFERENT!!!

    Thanks Hitler, I mean Palin.

    October 16, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  7. republicans hate america

    it wasnt your first and god forbid you get to the WH it wont be your last

    October 16, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    McCain is still doing his little side step.... two step..... DC shuffle.

    The only difference is that We, the People, are NO longer amused!

    Obama....all the way!

    October 16, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. ace

    Sarah Palin is absolutely a big joke! I mean really... just look at her critical self, she is so negative it is ashame hell no her stupid but could not run this country! I mean just look at her she does not have a clue on how to fix the economy she doesn't even have a real speech.
    She uses baby words like fight and palling around and joe six pack.
    the woman has nothing to say but she sure can tell a lie real good and make up things just to try and win this election but as we all can see mrs Palin girl friend it is just not working! With you and Mccain angry buts

    October 16, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. Joe the Plumber is a LIAR

    "Joe the Plumber" (Mr Wurzelbacher') is a registered Republican, and the state of Ohio had to claim $1,182.98 in unpaid taxes from him. He is also NOT a licensed plumber and the business that he talked about buying only earns about $100,000.

    Typical Republican LIAR!

    October 16, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  11. rick

    sorry to see that so many obama fans have the lack of forgiveness they demand of others. i bet that palin didn't even hear the truly inappropriate comments. but it's fine for the democrate and obama to criticize and call anything the republicans do as racist. obama's not matter how noble will bankrupt the country. don't tell me that onl 5% of people in this country make more than $250,000. his plan will ruin untold numbers of small businesses. and they are the ones that employ more folks than the big fortune 500 companies. please get you facts straight and quick looking to the main stream media for the truth. they haven't told the truth for years. they cover up all the illegal activities that their favorite politicians do. if you really want to change the direction of the usa then vote ALL the incumbents out both dem's and rep's.

    October 16, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. apostlek

    Now this is something to "Cry" about. When did "Hollywood" and media start telling politicians what to do?
    Interesting this is:
    Power v. Star Power
    Star wins. Yeah, wins big too.

    October 16, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  13. John S

    John McCain! You sold out in the Veitnam War. John McCain! You sold out to the Party to be President of the U.S.A.. Once that happened it was over. By having Palin, sealed your fate in this election.You had a choice to make a sound and intelligent choice. You had a pick of many well qualified, but you choose someone with no qualifications. Its fine to be popular, but we need someone who can deal with very intellectual decisions when it comes to Foreigh and Domestic affairs. Its bad enough that we have an economical crisis on our hands, but we need people who can take us out of this mess. Sarah Palin is not that person should anything happen to McCain. Not now, Not ever. I would be greatly concerned for our National Security in this country. Americans better think about that one very hard.

    October 16, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. Bill

    McCain is a true America icon and hero that I will salute any day any place. He was a good politician but I must reluctantly say that his time as politician has come and gone. America is ready for and demands a change not only in the leadership of this great nation but a shift in our way of thinking. We need new ideas if we are going to change the fundamental beliefs that we hold true. We are the one Nation who will face any adversary for what we believe in. We must now do it here in America. We are facing trying times ahead and as a life-long republican I have come to acknowledge that for once in my lifetime that I must put to the side my party commitment and vote based what America needs not vote based on what I historically have done. For the first time in my lifetime, I am voting for a Democrat. I trust that I am making a wise decision not only for myself but also for my daughter’s children who one day will face life living with the legacy of the vote that I will make in Election 2008.

    October 16, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  15. Charlotte

    You people sure are worried about Sarah Palin...LMAO I just read these blogs for laughs. I find the stupitiy hilarious. Obama the greatest beguiler in history. I voted for Hillary as a write-in, I'd rather waste a vote then vote for either of the candidates. Anyone who believes we are going to get a tax break is a fool. I just hope we don't have to pay more then we do now.

    October 16, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. Brandon

    Annoy a liberal: Work hard and be happy!!

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  17. former republican

    I feel so sorry for mccain. he should be enjoying his retirement on a nice golf course in arizona, not running for president and making a fool of himself.

    its over for him.

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. Russ Johnson

    McCain has offended people that I have never seen offended (this bad). I am glad that in this elections cycle people are speaking up. Letterman and Tina Fey are unintentional heroes going forward.

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. TexicoFrom Mexico

    Who has she inspired? Not about 60% of us thats for sure! So she inspired the base....but what does inspiration have to do with leading a country?

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. dgent

    I enjoy reading the comments from the angry, angry left. You are quite amusing.

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. Drew

    Worst economy since 1930, most unpopular Republican president this century, not one but TWO unpopular wars, a compliant news media, and Obama is only ahead by about 5 points, + or -.

    Democrats, get ON with your bad selves!!

    (Black McCain supporter )

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  22. Tony, Miami

    Mcnegative didn't change at all. What will he do if Obama start talking about Sarah and her dude?

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. keepin it real

    The contempt that McCain holds for Obama can be summed up in one word: JEALOUSY.

    How dare Obama run a better presidential campaign. How dare he appear to be more presidential. How dare he speak eloquently. How dare he be younger, healther, more agile. How dare he think quicker and process complex concepts faster. How dare he be this good and be bi-racial, too. Obama is something for everybody, black and white.

    How dare Obama try to help this country through the most difficult time since the great depression. How dare he be a professor, a teacher, someone who knows history and won't repeat it.

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. Who are the REAL McCain Supporters?

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

    October 16, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. PD

    gee all you liberals are a bunch of snobs-Palin has had more responsibility and experience than Obama, the presidential candidate - as a governor with a high approval rating in her state who has thrown out corrupt politicians– all while raising 5 children.

    whats the tune I hear?......

    .....I can bring home the bacon,......fry it up in a pan......

    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
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