October 16th, 2008
10:19 PM ET
5 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. Mike

    ==========
    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."
    ==========

    Inspiring American's is the thing we need? Then Obama is easily the most qualified. Nice endorsement for your opponent McCain!

    October 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Sarah Palin certainly has inspired people - to vote for Barack Obama!

    October 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Chris F.

    Sarah Palin is a moron that the fringe people like. She is just George Bush in a dress. She is ethically challenged which is a concern because after 8 years of Cheney. The Alaska Legislature should be in the process of Impeachment.

    October 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Margie

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

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    She has inspired me alright...inspired me to V.O.T.E!!! Nov 5th is hopefully the last time I have to hear or see anything about Sarah Palin in my life!!

    Obama/Biden 08 ;-)

    October 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Sam from Jersey

    McCain and his rampant hooligans are at it again! Nice one this time, admitting that you "Screwed Up"...well its not the first time and it won't be the last time. Voted with Bush 90% of the time....90% of the time. WOW!

    I guess you'll call that a "Screw Up" as well....Oh, and Sarah Palin..that's another one...you got another one.

    October 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Randy

    i'm gonna puke...

    October 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. SamSunny

    He didn't screw up....he lied....like he does about everything. The only reason he is there now is because it backfired on him.

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Brad

    Anyone can inspire. A leader can change the world. I dont get that from palin.

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. Marilyn, Powell, OH

    He thinks he'll get the liberal Letterman crowd to vote for him. Sarah Palin lacks any intellectual depth and is dangerous for our country!!

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. So Sad!

    To Gloria (7:41)

    Gloria if you are that ashamed of being American, then select a border and cross it, and tell Michelle Obama "hello."

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Beah

    Senator McCain you screwed up big time by picking Sarah Palin as your running mate. As a woman I should be proud bec Palin is in the position to be in the second highest position in America but No. I can't have a VP when I know I'm smarter than her.

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. New World Order

    Palin, prepared to be President? McCain is out of touch!

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. Mike

    ==========
    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."
    ==========

    Inspiring American's is the thing we need in order to be prepared for the next 9/11 attack? Then Obama is easily the most qualified. Nice endorsement for your opponent McCain!

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Jack

    He has screwed up in more ways than just standing David Letterman up.
    Let us count the ways:

    Picking Sarah Palin as his Trophy VP, who is out of her league.
    Selling his soul to the Republican Party and losing the real John McCain along the way. All of his negative campaign adds wreak of the Republican Right.
    Debating as Snidely Whiplash last night with those annoying facial expressions and sneering laughs. What is up with that?? He looked a bit creepy, like a cranky old man...very nervous and erratic.
    Not expressing his vision for the country as clearly as Barack Obama has.
    Just not getting it, period.

    October 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. Kelly (Colorado Springs)

    There are lots of "inspiring" people out there- does that make them qualified to be President????

    You betcha, he screwed up!

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. chris lewis

    so mccain is now answering to letterman? future presidents are not in the dog house with late night television hosts. this really is a pathetic example of how damaged the republican brand is. mccain's choice of palin is merely one small example of how clueless this old man really is. only bigots and fools will vote for mclame and caribou barbie.

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Anne

    she has inspired idiots. No one with half a brain and an IQ above 40 would vote for her

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. GP

    Today it's "Ah shucks, I screwed up" Tomorrow it will be some other excuse. The day after that he'll be blaming Obama.

    If the guy can't stick to a narrative, how can the good ol' boys follow him?

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. St. Louis WOW

    when I saw this headline I thought for sure he meant when he picked Gov Palin!

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. ohio

    you will screw up this country

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. E

    So according to McCain, Obama inspiring people is worthless and dangerous, but Palin inspiring people is makes her experienced and perfect and qualified?? srsly?

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. George

    No John, Sara Palin is not qualified to be President of the United States.

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. I'M NOT A RACIST

    I so recent the folks who say only racists won't vote for Obama!!! It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that he's black, it's because he's an idiot and shouldn't be able to work at McDonald's let alone the Oval Office...come on folks!!! Please look at McCain's record before we make this horrible mistake!!!

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Lena

    How come CNN didn't mention the part where Letterman asked him about G. Gordan Liddy? And why are they letting McCain off the hook with Liddy, when we've had to listen to McCain whine about Ayers for weeks on end? Where's the balance?

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  25. MeKu, WA

    Y-E-S he Did S-C-R-E-W U-P the U-S-A I Love!!

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26