Letterman: McCain made me feel 'like an ugly date'
Late-night host David Letterman was furious when Senator John McCain canceled an appearance on the Late Show at the last moment, claiming he had to catch a plane for Washington to deal with the economic crisis, but instead continued making other appearances in New York until the next morning.
After complaining loudly to fill-in guest Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night's show, Letterman was still slamming McCain on Thursday. "See these chairs right here?" Letterman asked his audience, pointing to some empty seats. "That's because we like to have folks come out and visit. And one of the people who was going to come and visit with us last night was Senator John McCain -- what a tremendous hero ... and a tremendous role-model -- and he was supposed to be on the show."
"So at the last minute he calls up," Letterman continued, "and he says, 'Ah, I can't make it. ... The economy is about to crater.' ... He says, 'I have to race back to Washington, DC.' ... Right away, I say, 'Whatever you need to do' -- because am I going to be the reason people are standing in breadlines?"
Letterman explained that he was initially understanding when he found out that McCain had not yet left New York but was in an interview with Katie Couric, because "that's news and this is nonsense," but he was far more upset when "we find out today, he didn't really leave until this morning."
As the audience groaned and booed in sympathy, Letterman continued, "You can see, 24 hours ago, I felt like a patriot. I felt like I was helping out. ... And now, I'm just feeling like an ugly date. ... I feel used. I feel cheap. I feel sullied."
"It's like you're getting a call from Batman," Letterman concluded. "'Love to talk, got to go, Dave. Gotham is about to go belly-up.' ... Well no, it's like he stopped off, had a facial."
On Wednesday's program, Letterman showed his audience a raw live feed of McCain being made up for his appearance with Couric -- at exactly the same time he would have been appearing with Letterman -- and that has caused an additional minor scandal at CBS.
A source at CBS told the New York Post that executives there "were pretty aggravated" and were complaining that anybody but Letterman would have gotten fired for "something like that." But the source explained that "they were not about to start a fight with Letterman. ... We're in the middle of a heavy, heavy news cycle and Letterman is Letterman. He does whatever he wants and always has."
This video is from CBS' Late Night with David Letterman, broadcast September 25, 2008.
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