McCain to do Letterman - no this time it's for real

Jake Turcotte

Who needs to book a 30-minute infomercial on the networks? John McCain and Sarah Palin will probably get more of an audience just appearing on the David Letterman show and Saturday Night Live.

McCain's on-again off-again appearance on Letterman is on again. But this time, he's really going to do it.  Really.  He's booked for this Thursday night, according to the Late Show's website.

Cancel again

If he wanted more press though, perhaps McCain should cancel again.  Probably the most attention McCain ever received for doing the David Letterman show was when he didn't do the David Letterman show.

In fact, the announcement that McCain actually is going to appear later this week only has brought attention to the time he didn't do it.

And that's saying a lot. McCain is a veteran of the program. He does the Letterman show more often than Christopher Walken or Alec Baldwin hosts Saturday Night Live. He's done the show 13 times.

We regret...

But McCain's last-minute cancellation two and a half weeks ago led the late night comic to launch a two-day slingfest directed at the Republican nominee with intermittent barbs thereafter.

At issue was the reason given for the cancellation. The campaign said it was necessary for McCain to suspend his campaign to head back to Washington to work on the economic bailout package.

Letterman found the excuse for the cancellation suspect. "Are we suspending [the campaign] because there’s an economic crisis or because the poll numbers are sliding?" Letterman asked during his monologue.

He's with Katie?

But what really got Letterman steamed was finding out McCain was still in New York. In fact, he was getting made-up for an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric.

This wasn't just rumor. Letterman had access to the CBS video feed showing McCain and the makeup artist.  Showing the feed for the studio and national audience, Letterman said, "He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he? Hey, John, I got a question! You need a ride to the airport?"

Palin fun

Although there were some bad feelings for the cancellation, Letterman was able to turn it into a lot of comedy including two nights of Top Ten lists directed at the Republican ticket and some potshots at McCain's running mate.

"[Palin] was at the General Assembly and someone said to her, “Oh, look over there. That’s the President of Georgia,” And she said, “Wow, Jimmy Carter.” And then she said, “Boy, I hope I get to meet Queen Latifah."

Palin on SNL

Speaking of Palin, perhaps she will be able to get even at Letterman everyone in the media for all the jokes at her expense when she appears on Saturday Night Live in two weeks.

Think of the web traffic her appearance will draw.  Tina Fey's initial impersonation of Palin in SNL's season premiere produced the most-watched viral video in SNL history.

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