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. texas democrat

    Mccain is so much like Bush. They feed the American people lie after lie and expect them to believe them. So America please believe that Sarah Palin is ready to lead this country. Vote Obama/Biden!

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. Vic

    I always enjoy watching Senator McCain as a guest on the comedy shows. He's always has a compelling sense of humor and we look forward to the Letterman show tonight.

    One subject that didn't come up last night on the debate was the constant likelihood of a terrorist attack on the U. S. like nine eleven. I, for one, would feel a lot safer with McCain at the helm in the event of such circumstance.

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. anthony

    How about Joe the Plumber? He is neither licenced or registered to be a plumber in Ohio. You made him the star of last night's debate, without checking first whether he is actually a plumber. Is this another one of your mistakes?

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. Vince -- California

    Yeah McCain screwed up by picking a moron as a running mate ....
    He screwed up by going along with attack ads instead of addressing the needs of people losing houses, jobs, etc.
    And his biggest screw-up was deciding to run for President on the Republican ticket, and listening to the Republican spin doctors who ran his campaign in the dirt.

    Go Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. Nancy

    Does he honestly think Palin has inspired Americans?? She does not inspire me or anyone I know. She is the opposite of what I find inspiring. He is lying or delusional and I think Letterman is being more than nice.

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. Ron

    Letterman should have punched hi min the face!

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Biff

    McCain on Palin... "she has inspired Americans"..

    yeah... she has inspired me to duck for cover!

    October 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Susan

    You've got to be kidding me...

    "She has inspired Americans. That's the thing we need." That's all it takes to be prepared to be president?

    Mickey Mouse inspired Americas too!

    October 16, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. a well educated woman

    You Know David, once a liar always a liar. And I am sorry Johny Mac, Your "girl" (and I use the term losely) has certainly inspired me...To run as fast as I can the other way, to distance myself from the woman who says she represents me! NO way does this piece of mud do anything that represents a woman. I would be quick to call her a hypocrit. She claims to be very Christian, but does everything unChristian: like wed her first dude while she was pregnant with Track; have a witchdoctor dispell the evil in her; not staying near her own family who obviously needs her; says she cares about children with special needs, but is doing her own child no favors by obviously putting this little VP wannabe life in front of that.
    No thank you MS Caribou Barbie, you greatly inspire me to make sure you and grandad are not in the White House.

    October 16, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. Darryl

    "Absolutely"..."She has inspired Americans. That's the thing we need"
    -Is that all it really takes to be President? I guess the Statue of Liberty can be President, too.

    October 16, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. Jeronimo!

    Ticker producer dude, you're slipping.

    What Sen. McCain ACTUALLY says is "I'M SCREWED UP!"

    Please correct!

    October 16, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. LaBohz

    Duh!

    October 16, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. bebe_ bebe

    indeed you are a screw up mcsame!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. John Buchanan

    Sarah Palin has not inspired most Americans. His choice for VP has shown his lack of Judgment and wanting to Win for the sake of winning by riding on Senator Clinton's coat tails by just choosing a Woman.

    So far Sarah Palin has just been a Puppet and has done what she has been told. She has not had an Original Thought and just spews negativity into the McCain Campaign.

    Senator Obama has been stellar during this process and was even transparent during his Vetting Process for VP. If something – God forbid happened to a President Obama, Joe Biden is ready to step in and Lead! Gov. Palin is not if something happened to Senator McCain. Last night he could not even state that she was Qualiied to be President!

    I am going with Change and supporting the Obama/Biden Ticket!

    October 16, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. zavier

    this doesn't smell right either! i guess we'll have to watch the show tonight to find out.

    October 16, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. Joe Green

    He screwed up alright, in the debates.

    He called Sarah Palin a "Fresh of Breath air" for example.

    The guy can't talk and chew gum at the same time.

    Sound like someone we know?

    October 16, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. marquis johnson

    John get it together..you are not the man I admired in 2000...carl rove/bus has made you cynical and you believe the only way to win is to act like them. If you were the same guy from that ran against bush in 2000 Obama would be losing...but you arent and because of it you will lose. Get yourself together at least walk away with your hard earned rep.

    October 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    7 jet crashes during training.
    Being shot down due to poor in-air flight maneuver judgment.
    Graduating 894 out of 899 at the Academy.
    Having bad "grease" at the Academy.
    Those are screw-ups.

    Lying and not keeping an appointment is lack of respect, Senator!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. bob mccullough

    Well, I for one can't wait to see this one. More and more we're all seeing that whatever the Late Night comedian hosts kid about during this campaign the real joke is McCain himself.

    October 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. Kenny

    Govenor Palin has inspired the people?????? Are you kidding me! and that is enough.....OMG......thank god I already voted for Obama. This guy and his flunkie scare me more every day.

    October 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. TheIndependent

    Continued campaining by both candidates is now a moot point for a lot of us. In my state, early voting started yesterday, and in my county alone, more than 50,000 votes have been cast thus far, including mine.

    October 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Mikey

    McCain said. "She has inspired Americans. That's the thing we need."

    Hey, so has Obama – and he is actually intelligent, competent, and CAN answer questions and put two coherent sentences together without a teleprompter. Wow! What a concept.

    I wonder if he's calmed down from the debate. He looked like he was going to explode!

    October 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Devon Spencer

    Inspiration is what her qualification is to deal with terrorist attacks on the United States? Give me a break...

    October 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. No McPain

    Yeah, big time. AND he also screwed up with "Joe the Plumber" who is turning out to be a McCain plant – not a plumber – not an undecided voter – owes back taxes, etc, etc. McCain is a crook!!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. Peter of Oregon

    McCain was dishonest.

    October 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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