Letterman Apologizes Again For Palin Joke

Late Show host calls joke "beyond flawed"

One apology just wasn't enough.

David Letterman directly apologized to Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughters on his program Monday night according to released transcripts, with the CBS late show comic taking the blame for a "flawed" joke that offended the former vice presidential candidate.

"I told a bad joke," he said. "I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception."

Letterman is in hot water after a barb last week about the governor's daughter, prompting an argument over the airwaves that has lasted several days.

Letterman was riffing on Palin's recent visit to New York when he said, "One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."

In the joke, Letterman seemingly confused Willow, who is 14 and attended the game with Palin, with Bristol, who is 18 and an unwed mother.

Insisting that Letterman was talking about her 14-year-old daughter, Palin told  Matt Lauer on the "TODAY" show she'd never let Willow near the "perverted" Letterman.

During Monday's show, Letterman again said he would never make a joke about a young girl and said he was confused about the daughters. “I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Guiliani,” he said. “I should have made the joke about Rudy.”

He said that he fully realized the impact of what he said after watching PBS.

"This commentator, the columnist Mark Shields, was talking about how I had made this indefensible joke about the 14-year-old girl, and I thought, 'Oh, boy, now I'm beginning to understand what the problem is here," Letterman told his audience. "It's the perception rather than the intent.' It doesn't make any difference what my intent was, it's the perception. And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it's not a very good joke."

New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser is among the critics who have said the joke was about much more than teenage pregnancy. Words like "statutory rape" found their way into her column Monday about Letterman, describing him as "a bitter guy who never saw a woman or a Republican he could stand."

Others who probably wouldn't let their young daughters near Letterman might include those who recently launched the Web site firedavidletterman.com.

New York State Assemblyman Brian Kolb and Los Angeles-based attorney and radio host John Ziegler are among those who have not only helped build the site, but they've also started a Facebook group for which more than 1,600 members have already signed up.

Ziegler told the Los Angeles Times that the group still plans to rally outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on Tuesday despite Letterman's apology.

"I'm glad he's acknowledged we're right," Ziegler said.

Contact Us