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McCain Bails on Tomorrow's Debate -- And on Last Night's "Letterman"
September 25, 2008  | By David Bianculli

late-show-top-10-list-mccai.jpgYesterday Republican presidential nominee John McCain not only announced he was temporarily suspending his campaign in order to return to Washington and focus on the financial crisis, but he backed out, at the very last minute, of a scheduled appearance on Wednesday's Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.

Letterman, venting his anger, was in top form. So was Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show an hour later, reserving most of his venom for the Wall Street fat cats who had generated the crisis in the first place...

All in all, it was a wild day.

First McCain made his announcement about suspending his campaign -- putting him at odds with Democratic nominee Barack Obama, who said the American people needed to hear from those who sought to be their next leader, now more than ever.


Friday's first scheduled debate between the two presidential nominees would have taken place on Sept. 26, exactly 48 years to the day since Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. It could have been just as memorable, and just as significant -- but if McCain doesn't show, then what? Is it rescheduled? Is one of the three presidential debates dropped? Is the vice presidential debate dropped instead?

And could Obama show up anyway, debating an empty lectern?

These are the questions that will be answered today and tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's what happened on TV last night:

President Bush appeared in prime time to urge passage of his administration's emergency plan to bail out Wall Street -- his first televised address in more than a year.


By that time, Letterman already had taped his Late Show, and, after praising McCain for his heroism, jumped on him for cancelling his appearance because he had to fly back to Washington.

"When you call up and cancel a show, ladies and gentlemen, that's starting to smell," Letterman announced.

"You don't suspend your campaign," Letterman continued. "Later on down the road, you might just suspend being president. We got a guy like that now... Are we suspending it because there's an economic crisis, or because the poll numbers are sliding?"


Letterman devoted his Top 10 to a hastily compiled, but pointedly hostile, "Questions People are Asking the John McCain Campaign." (Number 10: "I Just contributed to your campaign -- how do I get a refund?") And then, once he began the show, his fill-in guest was MSNBC's Keith Olbermann -- a liberal-substitution tweak in McCain's direction.

And while Letterman was interviewing Olbermann, and continuing to moan about McCain stiffing him ("This just stinks"), Letterman suddenly saw -- and showed -- a CBS internal feed showing McCain being made up, preparing for a taped interview with Katie Couric for The CBS Evening News.


Letterman got angrier than ever, and suggested some questions HE would have liked to ask MCain. Such as -- "Hey, John, I got a question -- Do you need a ride to the airport?"

Then came Ferguson, who scrapped his planned "Late Late Show" opening and offered his own take on McCain's backout ("Apparently, he had time for a game of softball with Katie before he left").

"The campaign is part of the democratic process," Fergsuon said. "You don't say we're suspending the campaign. We didn't suspend it for 9/11, for Pearl Harbor, for the Nazis, for the British..."

"Capitalism and democracy are not the same thing," Ferguson argued, switching to the subject of the financial crisis. "Democracy creates equality. Capitalism creates inequality... Where's the government bailout of the 10 million uninsured children?"

And sympathy for the devils on Wall Street? Don't look to Ferguson.

"I hate this!" he screamed, explaining his analysis of what happened on Wall Street.

"They crashed their Ferrari, now they're crying like little bitches, and they want their Uncle Sam to buy them a new one," he said.

"No! No! That's not how it works here. Uncle Sam would be better off using the money to build them a nice prison."

Stay tuned...


1 Comment


wcdixon said:

A wild day, and found it interesting to watch the Letterman catching McCain with Couric clip on Youtube via Nikki Finke's website 'before' The Late Show had even aired.

Comment posted on September 25, 2008 10:17 AM

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