Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

John McCain is returning for that chat with David Letterman

April 2008: John McCain in one of his dozen appearances with CBS late-night host David Letterman.

Presidential candidates have long used the late-night comedy shows to show off the more amusing or interesting aspects of their personalities. (Remember Bill Clinton playing the saxophone on "The Arsenio Hall Show" in 1992?)

This year's Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain, has made 13 appearances on NBC's "Tonight Show," most recently on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, and a dozen on CBS's "Late Show."

In fact, the Arizona senator is so comfortable with "Late Show" host David Letterman that he chose to announce his candidacy for the White House on the program in early 2007. After his effort sagged badly and appeared dead, he re-announced his bid on Leno's show.

The late-night hosts have returned the favor by largely laying off his Democratic opponent and making McCain by far the butt of far more jokes, according to a study.

McCain was scheduled to appear on the "Late Show" Sept. 24 -- the same day that he announced, with great fanfare, that he was suspending his campaign and returning immediately to Washington to deal with the burgeoning financial crisis. Letterman was understanding -- until he discovered, via an internal CBS feed brought to his attention while he was taping a segment with replacement guest Keith Olbermann, that McCain was not on a plane winging its way to the nation's capital.

Instead, he was five blocks away in New York, getting his makeup touched up before an interview with Katie Couric, anchor of the CBS "Evening News."

To put it politely, the late-night comic was not amused about being stood up. “He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?” Letterman said. He then shouted at the television monitor: “Hey John, I got a question! You need a ride to the airport?”

Last week, as the one-way feud simmered, the New York Post reported that the two sides were discussing the possibility of the GOP candidate returning to the program. But on Thursday, as The Ticket reported here, Letterman lit into McCain yet again, wondering whether any pledge to show up "could be trusted."

Well, it looks as if Letterman is not only trusting McCain's promise to return, but has verified it as well: According to Letterman's website, he'll be on the show Thursday, the day after his final debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama at nearby Hofstra University.

-- Leslie Hoffecker

Photo credit: Associated Press / J.P. Filo

Comments () | Archives (27)

The comments to this entry are closed.

i think lettermen is being a moral dem on the matter.

Don't let McCain off the hook for going negative. I loved McCain in 00, but this guy is someone I don't know. He can't get away with imflamming this stuff, then just back off and say it was misunderstood, or Palin's fault.

Nail him to the wall, on why he said he would run a clean campaign, then did this stuff.

Wow, McCain is desperate. He's going to suck up to Letterman. It's over John, accept it..

John McCain graduated 891 of 896. He crashed 5 US airplanes. He was Pro Choice, now he is not. He was one of the Keating 5, the other 4 went to jail. He said the war in Iraq would be simple, then years later he claims that "many of us knew how difficult the war in Iraq would be". I'm not impressed with his record.

I have a very difficult time imagining Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Tom Dewey, or Harry Truman thinking it was necessary to go for the laughs.

Here's the scenario I'd tune in for -
Letterman 'suddenly' becomes unavailable; Olbermann gets the nod as guest host.
That would be fun.

Mr. Letterman received from Mr. McCain an invitation he could not refuse.

Did Letterman drop Obama after he found out Obama has been associated with Ayers and Wright?

Maybe Dave will say you know what you were right going on the CBS evening News is more important than going on my show in light of the financial mess we are in. I really should be mad at CBS News for having you on the show.
But I need rates and going after you made my ratings go up. Now they will raise again because people will want to see how we make up.

VJ Machiavelli

Why ever would any politician be seen on a late night talk show? Especially one that has done it's damnedest to make you the butt of most of it's political jokes. I suppose among other things McCain is a masochist. Late Night With Letterman is a corny show with less than average entertainment value.

Is he bringing Palin? He told Dave that might be a possibility. There is still so much I'd like to ask her. Like, does she believe that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth together?

Once upon a time (and this is no fairy tale), there was this interesting and in your face guy, John McCain. He commanded some respect, but in the face of declining years and the lost presidential bid , he sold out. Can you believe he actually delivered the nominating speech for Bush after the Rovians smeared he and his family!?
Then came the votes in support of just about every Bush proposal for 8 years. Where did this "straight shooter" disappear to? Maybe it was an alien invasion or a "Stepford Wives" equivalent. In any event, we are now subjected to a "Born Again Maverick". I say that with absolutely no inference to defaming sincere religious beliefs.
Now that the same handlers are working on his candidacy, they accurately observed that "Sincere Change" was selling. "POOF!" Suddenly the GOP comes up with Palin and John's rebirth as the Agent For Change. Sorry guys.. too obvious. That operative word "Sincere" is missing from your operation. McCain's Maverick use now inspires thoughts of one of its earlier definitions: a lost calf (albeit one that's a bit long in the tooth.)

Sen John Glenn (Democrat, OH) was one of the folks involved in the Keating 5 scandal. Only Glenn and McCain were exonerated. Now Glenn is touting the Obama as savior...should we mention Sen Glenn's involvement? Honestly I can not understand the infatuation you folks have for a racist/terrorist/socialist loving fraud like Obama. Please promise to move to either Cuba or venezuela when Obama loses that way you can get an up close look at the society you wish upon us.

So...I suppose the "crisis" is over?
Atta boy McCain...appease David Letterman. That will give Letterman more power to drag you through the mud after you leave.

McCain says meeting with your enemy's is bad business, but Letterman has not been his friend. Essentially, he's capitulating to Letterman's rants. Is that what he'll do in the Oval office? It just seems like every move he makes smacks of desperation. Going on Letterman usually wouldn't be a big deal, but with all that's happened recently, it looks like a last ditch effort to get free publicity. I'll be watching, anyway... in my Ojamas.

I watch Letterman every night, but if Dave allows this lying war mongering piece of crap McCain on his show to rehabilitate his vile despicable campaign I will not only never watch Late Night again I will never forgive Letterman for allowing his show to be used like this.

McCain's campaign is out of money so he has to find anyway that he can to get in front of a national audience even if it means kissing Letterman's ass. Assuming for even one second that their was any legitimacy to McCain's claim that he was "suspending his campaign" for any other reasons than the fact that he was falling behind in the polls and he was trying to divert attention from Gov. Palin's lousy performance in her television interviews why would he stoop to going on Letterman's show after all of the things Dave said about him and his campaign? The answer is because he has no class. He is a lying attention seeking flip flopping trader that can't seem to fit in anywhere.

I also would like to correct jeff johnson's earlier post. McCain didn't finish 891st in his class of 896. He finished 894th out of a class of 899 midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy. McCain actually "only" crashed two U.S. war planes, one very early in his flying and another flying back home hungover after a Naval Academy football week end of partying. Another plane that he flew clipped power lines in Europe when he was flying lower than regulations allowed putting thousands of people out of electricity. Another plane that he was sitting awaiting takeoff from an aircraft carrier was struck by munitions from another plane on deck and burnt up in the ensuing fire, and the their is old mission 23 where McCain didn't follow orders and go shot down over Hanoi.

Also, as far as I know none of the Senator's involved in the Keating five went to prison, although William Black a former government regulator investigating the Lincoln Savings and Loan / Keating 5 / John & Cindy McCain Scandal said: "Senator McCain was unique among the five Senators in having a direct financial conflict of interest involving direct investments.” He also said this about Senator McCain: “On judgment, ethics, and truthfulness he (Senator McCain) failed this test as badly as you can fail”. Charles Keating did go to prison, but only after costing U.S. tax payers billions with John McCain's help. McCain not only believe in not regulating financial institutions he helped them rob their customers and U.S. tax payers.

Strongly suggest anyone thinking of voting for John McCain take a serious look at the article in the link below. All republican's especially need to read this article to see what is about happen to your party. If you think George W. Bush has let your party down take a long hard look at Senator McCain. This article is long but you need to read it all to get the full grasp of what John McCain is really about.

I want to go on Letterman.. no wait, I don't really want to go on Letterman.. no WAIT, I think I better go on Letterman.. naaaa, nevermind, I don't want to go on Lettrman after all.. WAIT!! I think I NEED to go on Letterman NOW!!

Go take a nap Grampa! You are getting erratic and confused again!

Does this man ever stick to one strategy or idea? and he want's to be President? pretty scary!

John Mc Sames IQ is 1.30 you got the decimel in the wrong place!

I would have told Letterman to take a flying leap..

Hey Letterman, how many times have you done the same thing to people....get over yourself and quit being a jerk !!

He Dave, ask McCain if he ever made a lie in the campaign.

John McCain was a media darling when he was reliably torpedoing his own party - the big fat dummy doesn't understand why now the media is no longer swooning over him - HEY STUPID - they used you as a TOOL - THEY NEVER LIKED YOU, even Kennedy laughs behind your back you idiot!!!!!

Hey Dave, ask McCain if he has ever lied during the campaign. It would be best if you asked him while he was gettig his make-up applied, before you gave him a ride to the airport.

I agree. Allowing this man to be president would be like allowing your two-year old to teach your one-year about potty training or about how to kill a possum.

No way! No how! Not in my lifetime!

Oh please God, do not let this thing happen to us. Most of us are good people. I don't think we deserve this.

You people that are praying that McCain doesn't make it better save a lot of prayers.... If you get your way you're gonna need them !!
P.T Barnum was right, " there's one born every minute".

Hey David Letterman please have Nancy Pelosi on your show, she's the one whose totally "OUT OF CONTROL!!!!!"

McCain is a fool to lend his credibility to that washed up old television dolt Letterman whose show is watched only by other washed-up old hippies.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: