(Video) Letterman reacts to McCain’s cancellation

Prior to McCain’s campaign suspension today he was booked to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight. As part of his decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington, he also canceled his appearance on the Letterman show.

Here’s the video of Letterman reacting to the cancellation and giving McCain some jabs:

Report from The Caucus:

Senator John McCain may have disappointed many expectant voters and debate viewers with the decision to suspend his campaign, but none more so than a late-night talk show host on CBS.

David Letterman was so unhappy that Mr. McCain canceled his scheduled appearance on his show Wednesday night that he spent much of the first segment assailing the senator’s decision and suggesting “something doesn’t smell right” about the Senator’s plan to go to Washington to work on the financial crisis.

Mr. Letterman told his audience that Senator McCain had called him directly on short notice Wednesday, to tell him he had to cancel his appearance. After expressing his admiration for Mr. McCain and his sacrifice as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Mr. Letterman said, “When you call up at the last minute and cancel, that’s not the John McCain I know.” He repeated that “something smells right now” and he suggested “somebody must have put something in his Metamucil.”

Mr. Letterman said Mr. McCain had said the economy was “about to crater” which necessitated that he get to Washington right away. Mr. Letterman then suggested that McCain should not be suspending his campaign at all and that he could have “sent in the second-string quarterback,” his vice presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, to fill in for him. “You don’t quit,” Mr. Letterman said.

After suggesting that Ms. Palin should be prepared to step up and “be ready,” because “the poor guy is getting a little older,” Mr. Letterman reconsidered and said of Ms. Palin’s readiness, “Don’t get me started.”

Eh.. what can you say? Letterman’s a comedian and what do you expect in canceling on him? The kicker is that McCain did the Couric interview down the street instead.

  • JD

    “You know who John McCain is..? He is the running mate for Sarah Palin.”

    Can’t stop laughing…

    Seriously, Nothing like a little comedy to prove a good point… where is Sarah during this whole thing.

  • JD


    “Perhaps he is doing this because his poll numbers are sliding…”

  • Dreadsen

    Geezus he gave him a beating.

    He and I were on the same page about letting the person 2nd in line handle it. She’s been campaigning by herself really well. Let her carry on. Hell! no one comes to see him anyway!

  • “She’s been campaigning by herself really well. Let her carry on. Hell! no one comes to see him anyway!”

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Palin can do more for McCain on the trail than McCain can.

  • I’m not a big Letterman fan but he made a valid point, let Palin campaign for McCain if she’s THAT good.

  • Babs

    I heard this morning that McCain was scheduled with Letterman at 4 pm, which had been put back to the earlier time by Letterman at the last minute. We all know McCain was giving his press conference at 3pm, so he canceled the newer 4pm with Letterman. Really, Letterman’s nothing but a fluff comedian, why would McCain skip a real news interview for a comedian. Letterman replaced him with Keith Olberman, who he has a lot more in common with to begin with.

    What went by the wayside here is that Letterman was making fun of more than McCain yesterday. He made some pretty horrible jokes about the state of the economy, and offended some people with his flipness over the crisis, as I understand it. But it’s funny, so it’s ok, right? I’m not laughing today, and I doubt many people in this country are.

  • markg8

    McCain wasn’t too busy to go on CBS News with Katie Couric last night. He wants to push tomorrow night’s debate to next week and cancel the VP debate entirely because he knows if the public finds out just how ill prepared and downright weird Sarah Palin is he’ll lose by 20%.

    What does he want to rush back to DC for? To save the economy? Who is he kidding? That’s a topic he’s admitted and has amply shown he knows little about. His economic policy is the same kind of radical deregulatory nonsense that got us into this mess in the first place. The bailout deal is 98% done anyway and if Bush didn’t invite him to the White House he’d be cooling his heels at one of his many houses with nothing to do. You can be sure there won’t be any hugs for the cameras with Dubya this time.

    Mavericky McCain isn’t going to sway any votes in the House or Senate. He’s built that image of his by telling off both Republican and Democratic politicians, vowing to make them famous for daring to bring the same kind of federal spending back to their states that has made crooks like Stevens, Young and yes, Sarah Palin so popular in Alaska. On top of that he’s shown up less in the senate over the last two years than anyone but Tim Johnson, the guy who had the stroke.

    This stunt has more to do with his 180 degree flip flop from being “the great deregulator” to acting like he’s Huey Long over the last week. It seems to be a pattern: make a giant grandstanding gesture hoping voters will ignore the scandals swirling around his advisers and running mate, his disgusting dishonest smears and his devastating gaffes. Hurricane Ike is coming? Cancel the first day of the convention! Conveniently that was the day Bush and Cheney were supposed to speak. Russia attacks Georgia? We’re all Georgians now! Palin even suggested it may be necessary to start a shooting war with Russia over it. Wall St. is imploding and his “fundamentally strong economy” is ready to collapse? The New York Times isn’t fair!

    If McCain wants to be president in 4 months he’d better start making his case to the American people instead of flailing around with one excuse after another for not answering questions or allowing his running mate to answer them either. The debate tomorrow night should go on. If McCain isn’t up to it he can send Palin.

  • B

    Babs you sound like you may be taking this all way too seriously…
    There is no reason that real and ordinary Americans like you and I and most reading this website should try and justify the actions of either candidates as if we have some real personal stake or personal relationship with them…
    In my opinion these two are playing a game of mass politics at the highest of levels (which is kind of disgusting in and of itself) and it would be a bit naive of us to think that every move they make and every word in every speech that they give is highly calibrated to this game of mass politics, even McCain actions yesterday.
    As for Letterman, I would imagine that alot more people would have watched McCain on Letterman than on his Katie Couric interview, so its his missed opportunity to communicate with the masses.

  • Babs

    Well, B, with all due respect I do take this crisis very seriously, and I do have a personal stake in who my president turns out to be. We all do.

  • Stalin

    First off, how appropriate would it be to go on a variety/satire show after you’ve just said you need to put your campaign on hold because of a dire emergency??? Secondly, it would not have played until late at night, so the timing would have been weird with McCain in Washington helping rewrite a bill while he’s on a comedy program on TV.

    Lastly, Letterman is a dyed in the wool liberal. Screw him and his crappy show too.

  • B

    Babs I don’t deserve any respect but I am glad that you are taking this crisis seriously for all of us that feel totally powerless and marginalized in this country and crisis.
    Ceasar will never let Rome fall, we hope… and if this country can weather times of abominable Presidential leadership such as George W Bush, Jimmy Carter or Richard Nixon then I think we will probably turn out allright in this crisis. Aside from that none of us ordinary folks had anything to do with this current crisis, none of us will have anything to do with the solution to this crisis (except being forced to give our tax dollars and we really have no say in that). It seems to me that the only power we really have is to stand on the sidelines buy into and consume the media hysteria and panic, fill ourselves with worry over a situation we have absolutely no control over, watch our national leadership on TV in the halls of congress pretending to hammer out a solution (solutions to problems like this are not formed on tv or in the open halls of congress but in the backroom, private no media areas of Congress and the White House). Why spend your energy taking this seriously when you have no control over any apsect of it and will in the end only be in a position of picking up the peices of the board that our national leadership and elite banking, financing and investing interests have reshuffled? Did you all know that Henry Paulson is worth 700 million dollars and he made 40 million a year as Goldmans CEO? THese folks really make me feel like they are looking out for my interests!

  • B

    Hey Stalin how appropriate and American is it that McCain cancelled his Letterman appearance yesterdayand instead interviewed with Katie Couric, met with Lady de Rothschild (nothing more American and concerned than meeting with a Baroness huh?), and then went to speak the next day at the Clinton Global Initiative. He was in New York all day yesterday and up to this morning his reasoning simply does not add up.

  • Stalin


    Some citizens are partly to blame for this crisis. Many people took out mortgages that they could not afford. That is stupid and there is no excuse for it. Yes, banks should not have offered the loans, but it just goes to show that there are many many people/organizations to blame for this…not just Bush.

    Why would Hank Paulson be looking out for you when he was a private citizen working for a non-governmental entity?

  • Stalin


    Did you not even read what I wrote. Letterman is a comedy show. How appropriate would that be? It’s like Bush being criticized for not going on Leno after 9/11. This crisis is the financial equivalent of 9/11.

  • JD

    Sarah Silverman Wants you to vote go to florida and get your grandparents to vote Obama.

    Watch the Video here… It is funny.


    Personally, I think McCain’s behavior on this who thing is irratic and funny. It all isn’t adding up other than pointing out that it is a political stunt. Not that Obama’s hands are clean.

  • B

    Mortgage backed securities markets that have never been regulated, e.g. Credit Default Swaps, and the politicians that refused to regulate up and coming markets like CDS over the last 10 years, in my opinion hold most of the blame on this one, not ordinary Americans and home buyers. Bankers, financiers, big money investors and corrupt Democratic and Republican politicians wrote the rule book that got us to this point…. seems pretty clear to me where most of the blame should be directed.
    Not to take away from the intesity of this crisis but this crisis is in NO way equivalent to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. If y’all believe that this is somehow equivalent then do you think we should postpone our elections (as national emergency preparedness procedures direct us to do), or shut down every bank (like we shut down all air traffic for a week following 9/11), or roll out our secret Continuity of Goverment and National Emergency measures (Like we did after 9/11)? Come on this is an economic crisis on order marginally greater than the Savings and Loan scadals, (Some eery similarities between the two as well).
    I did read your comments Stalin, did you read mine? I do not agree with your characterization of the Letterman show, I think his and Leno’s show are late night TV and cultural institutions, and I never watch them.
    My point is that to me McCain’s concern yesterday about the primacy and dire need to address this crisis immediately, seems quite disingenuous and politically calibrated today when I learn that he skipped on Dave to meet with Lady de Rothschild, found time to have an interview with Katie Couric, and then stayed overnight in NYC to speak the next morning at the the Clinton G.I. with Bono and Gore. Why not go back immediately if the situation is truly an economic 9/11?

  • Stalin


    I said the “financial equivalent” to 9/11. What do shutting down banks and airports have anything to do with one another. I think you took my analagy a little far there. Anyway, if you want someone to blame, read this article from the NYT in 1999. Under the Clinton administration, they wanted to mandate that more mortages be offered to low income households…


    If you don’t have time to read it, here’s the kicker:

    “Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.”

  • Babs

    Funny you should bring that up, Stalin. Clinton did an interview with Greta on Fox the other night, did you catch it? He actually said that there was plenty of blame to go around for this and that some could even argue that his administration took some of it because of this very thing.

  • JD

    First of all, I want to get back to the point of Letterman.

    Yes, McCain needed to cancel. I too think it would have looked bad. However, You can’t cancel on Letterman and then not expect him to rip on you for it. Let alone get caught down the road in a different studio being powdered.

    If anything Letterman is pointing out the obserdity of the whole ordeal and raising the question, i am still wanting to hear.


    Babs, I would like to hear your answer on this.

    Stalin, I would like to hear your answer on this.

    Todd, (Hard Swallow) I would like to hear your answer on this.

  • Stalin


    I would expect Letterman to give McCain a little ribbing, but I think that he went over the top. He wouldn’t have gone that far with Obama. In the past few years Letterman has really tipped his hand as to who he likes and dislikes. I liked him much better when I didn’t know his politics. Now I don’t watch him…mostly because I have better things to do.

  • Stalin


    To answer your question about Palin. I wouldn’t have a problem with her taking the wheel. I don’t think he specifically said that she would go into hiding or anything like that. However, it wouldn’t make sense for her to come out on a day when bipartisanship is supposed to reign and get back into the mud.

  • Dreadsen


    Did you see the bill in 1992 which is similar to the Bill Chuck Hagel introduced ( which mccain co sponsored) that got stuck down which mccain voted against? I believe THIS bill is the bill which could have prevented this. There is no way the complexity of this could have been prevented in just 3 years. Especially when you read chuck hagel’s presentation of the bill. One of the concerns was of all the people getting booted out of their seats , fired,etc of Fannie And Freddie. Some over sight would keep those guys in check so they wouldn’t do illegal activity which gets them fired. Whether the subprime mortgages would have been caught up is debatable.

    “It is clear that the recent revelations at both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae precipitate the need for Congress to address GSE regulatory reform. In 2003, Freddie Mac found itself treading through a wave of accounting problems and questionable management actions. That led to an income restatement of $5 billion, a penalty of $125 million and the removal of several members of its executive management. One year later, a similar surge of questionable practices was discovered at Fannie Mae. That led to the retirement and resignation of two of Fannie Mae’s top management officials, as well as last month’s ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, that Fannie could face a $9 billion income restatement.”

    another interesting section which actually mentions tax payer bail out

    “Provide the new regulator the authority of receivership to close down a failing GSE and protect against a taxpayer bailout; provide the new regulator greater discretion in raising capital standards to protect against insolvency; provide the new regulator approval power over new programs and activities proposed by a GSE; provide the regulator with greater authority to limit exit compensation packages or golden parachutes for executives removed for cause; require the annual audits of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s affordable housing programs to ensure that these programs support the enterprises’ affordable housing mission; end presidential appointments to the board of directors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and would require all Federal Home Loan Bank directors to be elected.”

  • Dreadsen

    I think to be fair he should have canceled all shows and all interviews.

    but then again i remember Obama canceled on the Daily Show but he did it WEELLL in advanced. I’m not sure but he may have gone on some serious shows instead. Or maybe he didn’t go on anything.

  • Jake

    I don’t know if anyone watched tonight (or if anyone still cares about this thread) but tonight Letterman had more to say about McCain canceling. Apparently McCain didn’t leave for Washington until Thursday morning, his appearance on Letterman was for Wednesday afternoon. The crowd gave quite a large “oooOOOoOOOoooo”

    I have to admit it seems a bit strange that he didn’t even bother to get his message out on the more liberal of the talk shows. He’s done it on Leno plenty of times…

  • Todd


    I said I would not debate you but I will answer your question and ask one of my own.

    I, like Stalin, would have no problem with Palin taking over but I see it as a no win situation. Once McCain made the decision to suspend he was going to catch it either way, he had to know that the dems were going to hammer him about suspending. Plus you guys are already making you jokes about him being Palin’s running mate. You would have had a real good time if he sent the VP candidate to do his job. You wouldn’t have been happy either way.

    Now my question.

    If Obama really believes this is a serious economic matter couldn’t he have blunted Mac’s attempt at getting ahead of him on it by simply accepting the suspension offer ? Or even accepting the offer to go back to Washington with a counter proposal that instead of postponing the debate they just switch that debate and the VP debate ?

    I mean he and Mac could be working on the real problem and he could have beaten Mac on the debate issue at the same time. If Mac declined the offer I am sure you and others would look a lot more correct about Mac trying to avoid the debate altogether.

    Either way JD I still believe that it would be extremely stupid for both candidates to go into a debate on Foreign Policy, and spend 95% of it on Iraq, Afghanistan and Terror. You have to know that is why they separated the debates like they did. There is no way they culd have fit every thing in this one debate. If the situation is as bad as they are saying it would be hard for the public to take either one of them seriously when they spend 10-15 mins in the debate on something that some are saying is the most dangerous time for our economic well being since 1929.

    By the way, if we really want openness in the election process can you also explain what possible harm could have befallen Obama to do all the debates in the Town Hall format. Had he agreed to this the public would have decided what the issue of each debate was with their questions and canceling this debate would not have even been an option for Mac then.

  • Stalin


    I did not see the 92 bill. I do think that 3 years is plenty of time to do damage control. If nothing else, it could have brought this problem to the surface before millions of new subprime loans were closed on and given both the markets and government more time to deal with it.

  • JD, Palin couldn’t have been at the wheel whilst McCain was in Washington because she’s clueless and needs to be told what to say.

  • Jane

    Liberals and Hollywood, you disgusted me.

  • Scotty

    David is funny, and I enjoy the way he pokes fun at all kinds powerful people. It’s funny!

    But how does this kind of comedy rate for a prominent role in a serious forum? Notice the URL. “youdecide2008.com! If David wants to step away from the safe haven of his comic role and make serious remarks, bring it on, but lining this joker up with the debate, debate analysis, and other journalistic pieces reveals some editorial insanity.

    In the tank with Obama? Stay here. Looking for real information to make an informed decision? Google “youdecide2008” and shop around for a better forum!

  • middleclassinwi

    If I remember my history correctly…this great country of ours was FOUNDED on the principal of the seperation of church and state. That does not at all mean that people shouldn’t practice any sort of religion. The point was that individuals may practice ANY sort of religion they so desired. But – the governing bodies choice of religion should NOT be imposed on any other individual within the country. Remember…the Pilgrims came here BECAUSE THEY were persecuted for their own religious beliefs. Be as religious as you wish. Choose any religion that you desire…but keep it OUT of politics completely. Anyone within government should respect ALL the religions of all the diverse people who make up this great nation. By definition, hence – we should uphold and abide by our philosophy of the SEPERATION of church and state. Governor Palins comments in the clip as well as in numerous interviews and speeches since her VP nomination clearly defy that standard principal. (She is not the first, our current administration has done so as well – and we all know how that has turned out.) More people should have spoken out about the brash attempts to shove one religion or another on to us – though inappropriate comments, legislation and supreme court appointments. Leave your religion at home and in your church where it belongs. As a representative of government, you are NOT allowed to decide what religion any American citizen should or should not practice. Through your government power, you have NO RIGHT to judge, legislate, approve, disapprove or push ANY religion. You CERTAINLY have no right to pin actions of the governement (to which many people of many faiths pay taxes) as “God’s plan”. Palin comments and other’s by certain government officials have trampled the rights of the American people and made a mockery of the basic government instituted by our founding fathers.

  • Obama’08

    Haha Nice! McCain don’t suspend your campaign, let your second string quater back take over. Let Sarah Palin go on the Letterman Show, I mean she needs to be ready to handle situations. “I mean she’s handle things like this in the past, oh wait, she hasn’t handled things like this in the past.” McCain, why didn’t you let her continue your campaign? Maybe this cancellation was a “STUNT,” as Obama stated. Man that Obama calls on everything, nothing gets passed him!

    Letterman: “This just doesn’t smell right.”

    Oh and guys, did you watch Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric? That was a laugh..

  • Babs

    *ROFL* Well, welcome to Obama ’08 from the United Arab Emirates! How appropriate!!

    I understand CBS took umbrage to Letterman’s lash out against his own boss. They’re not happy at all and some infighting has begun.