In honor of the retirement of David Letterman after more than three decades hosting his late night talk show, The Hill published a list of the “top 10” times that Letterman made a significant impact on politics. Here are the first three:
- When John McCain suspended his presidential campaign because of the financial crisis, he also cancelled a scheduled appearance on Letterman’s show, and instead gave a live interview with Katie Couric (just down the hall). Letterman blasted McCain for nine minutes, questioning his temperament in a time of crisis. McCain did appear on the show a month later and admitted “I screwed up”.
- After 9/11, Letterman was the first late night show to return to the air, poignantly saying “If you didn’t believe it before, you can absolutely believe it now. New York City is the greatest city in the world.”
- Letterman teased Dan Quayle mercilessly during the 1988 presidential election, even saying that Quayle might someday make a great president because he “would not seem like a brainy egghead when visiting the nation’s injured professional wrestlers”.
But my personal favorite is when he called Bill O’Reilly (to his face) a “goon” and accused the Fox News anchor of playing the part of a conservative and not actually believing the things he reported as news.