Do we have to watch this? All the way through? Tragically, the answer is Yes. We must all watch John McCain say “I screwed up” to a late-night comedy host.
We must watch McCain make bad jokes about …. taking his son’s body armor, so his son will not have body armor, in Iraq, so McCain can … wear the helmet and flak jacket at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, while his son has no protection from bombs in Iraq or whatever? Was this one of the famous McCain jokes?
What’s the inventory here? We’ve got the mugging, the eyebrows, the blinking, the weird hand gestures, the “is this how humans smile?” death grins, “I … SCREWED … UP,” etc.
LETTERMAN: “Sarah Palin …. She’s the one who says Barack Obama ‘pals around with terrorists.’ Has she, in fact, said that at rallies and stuff?”
McCAIN: “I, uh, I don’t know … yes, and he did!”
And then there’s a “tortured” exchange with McCain sort of half-assedly repeating his awkward talking points from the Wednesday night debate, and Letterman isn’t really having much of that, and then:
LETTERMAN: “Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?”
(G. Gordon Liddy is the convicted wingnut terrorist who served four-and-a-half years in federal prison for his part in the Watergate burglary. He was not, however, convicted of firebombing liberal D.C. think tanks, kidnapping and torturing anti-war protesters, and encouraging his wingnut radio listeners to murder federal law officers — because he failed at those pursuits.)
McCAIN: “I, uh, I met him, hmmm?”
LETTERMAN: “Did you not attend fundraisers at his house?”
McCAIN: “I know Gordon Liddy, he paid his debt, he went to prison, as people do. I’m not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy.”
And, finally, McCain gives his Death Grin and Thumbs Up and says, “There’s billions of words said in a campaign, now come on!”