June 12th, 2009
06:26 PM ET
5 years ago

Palin calls foul on Letterman's 'weak' excuse

(CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday it was a "weak, convenient excuse" for talk show host David Lettermen to claim his controversial joke made earlier this week targeted Palin's older daughter, and not 14-year-old Willow.

"My 14-year-old was there with me at the game. She was the only one there with me," Palin said Friday in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Letterman joked Tuesday that Palin's "daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez" at a recent Yankees game. He admitted the following night that the joke was in "poor taste," but he insisted the line was in reference to 18-year-old Bristol, who gave birth to a boy in December.

"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter [Bristol]... and now they're upset with me," Letterman said.

"These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl," he said.

"Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."

Palin was unimpressed with Letterman's explanation. "Regardless of which daughter it was - inappropriate," she said Friday.

The former Republican vice presidential nominee said she will "always forgive whomever is asking for forgiveness," but noted that what she's upset about goes beyond Letterman's "sexist, perverted joke."

"This insinuation that it's ok, that it's acceptable to talk like that and then that it's acceptable for the media to not provide the American public, the listeners, the readers the full context of that joke," she said, adding that it's also a "sad commentary on what Americans are fed in terms of full news."

Watch Palin's full interview with Wolf Blitzer this afternoon at 4 and 6 p.m. ET on The Situation Room.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    I can't understand why Palin, a national political figure wants to respond to a late night host – a comedian! If she wants to be taken seriously, she needs to stay away form the silly stuff and discuss serious issues of national consequence. These late night shows joke about everybody and they are rarely in good taste – you just shrug it off, Sarah. As a mom, I do understand how she would feel offended at the joke, but here's what she do – separate her public events and private events with her kids like the Obamas do, like the Clintons, Bush, and Carters did. And that husband of hers needs to get a job and quit being a celebrity.

    June 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Brian in AZ

    Letterman figured, "hey, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, et al, are allowed to get away with it–and they're supposed to be NEWS organizations...surely my late night joke show can join in the smears."

    Couldn't be that maybe it's WRONG to talk about people you disagree with like that....no, couldn't be.

    June 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. D R

    Even though the joke was in "poor taste", at least Letterman apologized for his "error" in the comment that he made in front of millions of viewers watching his show, Palin still hasn't apologized to anyone for running for vice president! and shaming the Republicans!!! An awful mistake on her part!!!! Why is she still in the news anyway?!!!

    June 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Lin

    I completely agree with Palin on this. It is terrible to make sick jokes like this about children, whether they are a politician's kids or anyone elses for that matter. It is abusive.

    And she also is correct in the double standard. Obama says don't talk about my family, and "Presto" it is done. But, Palin and her family are fair game.

    I once was a solid Democrat, but now identify Independent. There is at least as much sexism by Democratics as by the Republicans. There was a lot of sexism going on when Clinton was competing with Obama in the primaries. There were numerous t-shirts with vulgar comments, and Hillary nutcrackers. It was disgusting. And this was done by the Democrats.

    June 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. juno

    Letterman should step down. He has no respect for women or children.
    This issue is no different than the Imus issue!

    June 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Lori reminds the GOP that foreclosures & job losses are down & the Dems hold a 19pt. favorable advantage over the GOP!!!

    Blah, blah, blah. When you called candidate Obama deplorable names, it was o.k. What goes around comes back around. And please tell Bristol to stay out of the limelight, if she can't take the heat.

    June 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Jan

    Palin and her camp are making a "mountain out of a mole hill" perhaps keep in the public eye. Her camp escalated the issue to "rape" and insinuated that David Letterman was somehow a pedophile-shame on you Palin! Perhaps Letterman is "palling around with terrorists" too.

    As for Letterman, he is great but he and his writers should avoid references to children in his segments. Palin gives "material" to keep him in business for a whole decade.

    June 12, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Brian

    Enough is enough....Palin is making a mountain out of a molehill. Worse jokes have been uttered by comedians. Palin's continued response demonstrates how much of a joke her whole campaign is by misplacing her anger about her daughter's mistakes. She got an apology from Dave, does she want him to resign? The only person that should take a hike is Palin.

    June 12, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Tom

    Palin needs to get over it. She chose to be in the public eye, and must take the good with the bad. And, the fact that she has a promiscuous daughter with an illegitimate child just adds to the joke fodder. Palin is the joke of the republican party.

    June 12, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Dorothy

    One thing I forgot to say was Sarah will keep this going and will banter back and forth with David Letterman but when the next campaign gets into full swing, you will see Sarah Palin go on the Letterman show and accept David's apology then.....just to get more exposure. Wait and see if I am not correct.

    June 12, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. LG (the G is for Gonzalez)

    Please! Please! Please! When will these Sarah come latelys learn that when they step into the spotlight, they become targets! It was obvious who Letterman was targetting (Bristol Palin). Letterman had no insight into the Palin itinerary for her trip! And besides, why is she so thin-skinned all of sudden? Keep inviting people to your pity party, Sarah! No one's buying it!

    June 12, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Right Leaning Independent

    Letterman is an old washed up comedian. . Time to retire Dave...

    June 12, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Willy Brown

    Letterman should apologize to all young women for his rude remarks. However since he’s a liberal he will get a pass by the media and his employer. The people who will blog here to slam Plain only shows the double standards in the media and they also have no respect for young women themselves.

    June 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. chris

    before everyone piles on palin. how would you have taken it if you were her? i certainly don't mind admitting to being pretty sensitive to things said about, or did to, my children.

    June 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. joe

    I believe that Letterman should apologize to Palin and the whole family in person while on live TV. Letterman has always been known to be a sick man from the get go.

    Palin is correct when she accuses the media of being biased and only giving bits and portions of the story as they feel. It's wrong and the American public knows about it.

    June 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. cjs

    The joke was almost as weak as Palin's knowledge of foreign policy. Almost.

    June 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. james

    Don't concern yourself about Letterman. He's a insignificant TV talking-head without any concern for scruples. He's the Oprah counterpart. If it weren't for TV..........................these people would be factory workers...............if their lucky.

    June 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Michael

    Palin must be loving this. Keeps her in the spotlight for a few minutes more.

    She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even she knows she's running on borrowed time.

    June 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. sifto77

    despicable man–we all know he meant what he said–Letterman has a vicious streak when it comes to conservatives–he should be fired by CBS. Good for the Palins to treat him like the troll he is and scorn an invitation to his low-life leftist porn show.

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Phil

    Everytime she feels slighted, we have to watch the Sarah Palin pity
    tour.

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Al

    Who the real teenager here? Not a fan of the late night shows, but she lost this fight when her spokesperson sunk to Dave's level with the "we should keep Willow away from Dave" comment. Letterman was making a joke on a comedy show. The spokespersons comment was just snide and hypocritical. Bottom line, nothing new from the far right conservatives.

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Barbara

    This is going to be funny...can't wait to get home for the "Situation Room"

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Keith

    Is Palin TRYING to commit political suicide? When a political figure gets into a fued with a comedian the most likely outcome is the end of the political figures career and huge ratings for the comedian.

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. johnH

    An interview between Sarah Palin and Wolf Blitzer about a Dave Letterman joke?
    Is this a slow news day?

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. Claudia

    Palin drags her kids everywhere...and then she is shocked when they are associated with the very people they are sitting with.

    I know Alaska is out of the mainstream, but if Palin wants to protect her children (and boy do they need protecting), keep them at home and let them have their own lives.

    Parenting 101.

    June 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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