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Letterman chides McCain for suspending his campaign

Oh boy. Looks like the long-friendly relationship between Sen. John McCain and David Letterman may be on the skids.

The late-night comedian was none too pleased that McCain decided to bail on an appearance on the “Late Show” tonight so he could rush back to Washington to deal with the economic crisis –- particularly since he stopped and gave an interview to CBS News anchor Katie Couric along the way.Mccain_letterman

The Republican presidential nominee was supposed to make his 13th appearance tonight on Letterman’s show, the venue where he originally announced his White House bid in 2007. But he backed out late Wednesday afternoon, saying he was suspending all campaign activities to focus on getting a financial bailout plan through Congress.

During the taping of tonight's show, Letterman told the audience that McCain had called him personally to apologize for standing him up and said he was rushing to the airport to get back to Washington. The late-night host called McCain “an honest-to-God hero,” and questioned why he needed to halt his campaign. Couldn’t his running mate, Sarah Palin, take over while he was in Washington, Letterman asked.

“I’m more than a little disappointed by this behavior,” he said. “We’re suspending the campaign. Suspending it because there’s an economic crisis, or because the poll numbers are sliding?”

The audience whooped and applauded.

“You don’t suspend your campaign,” Letterman added. “Do you suspend your campaign? No, because that makes me think, well, you know, maybe there will be other things down the road –- if he’s in the White House, he might just suspend being president. I mean, we've got a guy like that now!”

Things got worse for McCain when Letterman, in the midst of interviewing substitute guest Keith Olbermann, learned that the GOP candidate was actually still in New York. Not only that, but McCain was about five blocks away at the CBS News headquarters, sitting down for a last-minute exclusive interview with Katie Couric.

Incredulous, Letterman interrupted his chat with Olbermann to show the audience a live shot on the internal CBS news feed of McCain getting touched up by a makeup artist as he waited to talk to Couric.

“He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?” Letterman said, shouting at the television monitor: “Hey John, I got a question! You need a ride to the airport?”

More highlights, including Letterman's Top Ten Questions People are Asking The John McCain Campaign after the jump...

-- Matea Gold

Photo: An earlier appearance by John McCain on "The Late Show with David Letterman." Courtesy CBS.

The Top Ten Questions People are Asking The John McCain Campaign

#10 “I just contributed to your campaign – how do I get a refund?

#9 “It’s Sarah Palin – does this mean I’m pars’dent?”

#8 “Can’t you solve this by selling some of your houses?”

#7 “This is Clay Aiken.  Is McCain single?”

#6 “Do you still think the fundamentals of our economy are strong, Genius?”

#5 “Are you doing all of this just to get out of going on Letterman?”

#4 “What would Matlock do?”

#3 “Hillary here – my schedule is free Friday night.”

"It’ll be interesting here to see if Barack Obama feels the need to suspend his campaign to go down there and work on the economy.  He’s also a senator.  And his running mate, Joe Biden, he’s also a senator.  So there, those two guys have to get back to work.  So of course, they’ll suspend their campaign.  Don’t you think? 

"The Democrats are now at a real disadvantage because Barack Obama has got to race back and fix the economy.  So does Joe Biden.  He has to race back and fix the economy.  But the republicans have Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska.  The Alaska economy is fine.  It don’t need fixing.  It’s fine.  So she’ll continue the campaign.  So the democrats are really in a hole now."

#2 “Is this just an excuse to catch up on napping?”

#1 “This is President Bush – what’s all this trouble with the economy?”

Letterman's extensive criticism continued:

We’re in sorry need and short supply of actual heroes like John McCain… But when you call up at the last minute and cancel a show…This is not the John McCain I know, by God. It makes me believe something is going haywire with the campaign. Someone got to him and said, blow Letterman off, he’s a lightweight.

Sure, there’s an economic crisis. And here’s what you’re do if you’re running your campaign in the middle of an economic crisis and its about to crater…You’re a fourth term senator from Arizona. You handle what you need to handle. Don’t suspend your campaign. You let your campaign go on, shouldered by your vice presidential nominee. That’s what you do…

You say, I gotta get back to Washington to save this country. Good for you. And while I’m gone, campaigning in my stead will be my great running mate from the state of Alaska, Sarah Palin. And she comes out and campaigns. What happened there? What’s the problem? Why isn’t she doing that?

This doesn't smell right. This just doesn’t smell right. Because this is not the way a tested hero behaves. I think someone's put something in his Metamucil.

And let’s say there’s a time of crisis, and the poor guy, because he’s a little older…Palin takes over as president, well, she ought to be ready, because she’s handled crisis like these in the past. Oh, wait a minute, she really hasn’t handled a crisis like this in the past.

He can't run the campaign because the economy is about to crater? Fine, you put in your second string quarterback. Well, where is there second string quarterback?

After Letterman learned that McCain was sitting down at that moment with Katie Couric, he had this to say:

I don’t want to keep beating this thing, but it just really is starting to smell now. Because he says to me on the phone, I took a phone call from John McCain – a lot of senators don’t call me – and so I felt like OK, as part of the national good, I understand and I said good luck and thank you for being attentive to the cause. And he said maybe next time I’ll come in and I’ll bring Sarah Palin. And I said, fine, whatever you need to do, that’s just fine. And he said, yeah, we’re going to go save the country. And then it’s like we caught him getting a manicure or something!

-- Matea Gold

Comments () | Archives (55)

A single senator cannot save the country so it is ignorant to say that McCain is racing off to save the US from financial crisis when he isn't even on any of the committees that deal with this sort of thing, #1 and #2 he is not well versed in economic issues as he himself has said.

So, really? You REALLY believe that NOW he wants to do something when he has had FOUR terms to help make sure the economy was secure. He can't stand on his record so he has to ride in on his white horse. But people are smarter than this, except for a few who have posted that they think he is going to save the world. He can't even save himself.

This is a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. He and his kind are the reason we are in this mess to begin with, you don't go to the problem to get the solution.

Interesting that Gramps would suggest that he and Obama not only suspend campaigning but also suspend fundraising while they solve the economic crisis. Which one of them is getting a big fat check from the government for campaign expenses and which one has to go out and raise money on their own?

suspending the campaign *IS* part of the campaign! it's a gimmick used by marketing folks and it meaningless. The election day is not moving back, so his campaign still rolls on. it doesn't matter *where* he says stuff, whatebver he says will still be taken as evaluation of his candidacy.

by says he's suspending his campaign, he's effectively putting the onus on all of us to ignore anything he says until he resumes his campaign.


see what he did there?

Ever since Dave came to CBS he's been a grouch...

"Dave . . . who gives a flying flip about you being slighted! McCain is going to DC to SAVE THE COUNTRY! Hello? Get a clue! This is our financial 9/11 you ignorant selfish man! "

McCain DID NOT fly to DC. He did an interview with Couric, then hung around NYC yesterday so he could attend the Clinton Global initiative meeting this morning. McCain did not return to Washington until late this morning / early afternoon.

Haha - McCain is "rushing off" to save the country by not going to Letterman, but then is found getting makeup put on for Katie Couric? How is he rushing off to do anything?

He's going to save our economy? According to him, "the fundamentals of our economy are still strong!" What is he going to save? His paycheck? One of his houses or one of his cars?

To whoever said, "this is not a time for politics:" Are you out of your MIND? The decision we make in the near future is going to decide which direction our economy goes in. And you're going to trust a guy who has no idea of how the global economy works?

How about a guy who's going to stop has campaign simply so that he and his running partner don't have to look like fools and be booed at any more speeches? Or how about so they don't have to face the music when it comes to having "OBAMA '08" chanted at one of your rallies? Or how about so they don't say something else retarded to help their campaign moving forward? It's to disillusion us into thinking that he's out doing something important while he's more worried about not being prepared for his debate.

What a transparent, ineffective ploy by the repubs. I hate to wish anyone harm, but I really hope senility kicks in before the election. It'll do the world good.

I just sincerely hope this isn't a ploy from clay-face to get out of the debate on Friday - or better yet - a ploy to make sure Palin doesn't open her backwoods mouth anymore. My gosh - Obama said it right... the president of the US has to MULTI-TASK. And WOW - what a Superman mentality McBush must have to THINK he could possibly 'Save the Economy'. What's he going to do? Give us some of his rich Barbie-Wife's money?!?!? Please.

John McCain would put a pillow over his 96 year old mother's face if he thought that would win him the election.

These GOP goofs make me laugh,normally. With less than forty days until the election the
GOP-goofs are getting more and more desperate. Desperate people are nothing to be laughed at. Desperate people make bad decisions based on untruths and outright lies. McCain is not fit to be president of the garden club never mind a nation in throes of an economic downturn,etc.. His shuffling-mate palin isn't fit for much in the real world. Hell,her own party won't let her speak without a tight script.To say she has been muzzled is to state the 'bloody' obvious
.McCain has once again shown America what he is about. Self-agrandisiment and telling lies to cover his own butt.
Why vote for the old liar when the young guy is better qualified to do the job? you figure out the answer.

There are none so blind as those who will not see (J.Swift)

I am glad to hear McCain is suspending his campaign.

I just hope he suspends it permanently....


How is it that some of you are so stupid?

McCain SAID he was going to save the country in the capitol. AND THEN he DID NOT even go.

And there are still some on this board who DON'T GET IT. WAKE UP--it's never too late to not be ignorant.

I can't believe some of these comments from people for McCain. Really people, how can you be so ignorant??

I'm just incredulous and worried. You are my countrymen, and if I met you in person we would be friends. If you needed help, I would certainly be there. But now, I'm just flabbergasted that your thoughts are so incredibly unreasonable.

Yes, there are subjective views, but the things you're saying so amazingly illogical...

I guess that is the only Barak Hussein Obama can win - if McCain cancels the campaign. You people are delusional.
Definition of a Democrat
Blind, ignorant, disgusting piece of humanity!

Wow. I thought the Democrats were so politically correct, and non-stereotyping, and open-minded, and accepting, and tolerant, and God's gift to the world and...

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