Letterman Upset at 'Beginner' Palin in 'Passenger Seat,' Mocks Her in Crisis: 'How's My Hair?'

align="right'Perfectly encapsulating the coastal left's blind derision of Sarah Palin as an inexperienced “beginner” and thus unqualified, when the very same smart aleck cheap shots about her could be directed at the man with whom they have fallen in love, Barack Obama, David Letterman on Friday night asked guest Brian Williams if the nation can risk “a beginner in the passenger seat” (what about in the driver's seat?) and, in a sexist cheap shot, imitated Palin adjusting her hair during a 9/11 crisis as he impersonated her voice: “How's my hair?” That led an uncomfortable Williams to lean back and sigh, prompting Letterman to acknowledge “that's unfair. I'm sorry.”

Letterman, however spent the first half of Friday's Late Show before Williams came out and most of his time with Williams ridiculing Palin, and McCain for choosing her. Though the NBC Nightly News anchor Williams tried to separate himself from the remarks, and made some gentle counter-points as he preferred to joke about how he's the only one of the three anchors yet to get an interview with Palin, Williams never made the obvious point that much of Letterman's upset over Palin's inexperience could be directed to the top of the competing ticket. Or certainly could have been when he emerged last year as a candidate, but was not.

Audio: MP3 clip (1:20, 500 Kb)

The exchange on the October 3 Late Show, which matches the audio/video clips above:
DAVID LETTERMAN: How should a person feel about John McCain in having made this choice? To me it seems like we're in such a mess now, here at home and around the world, that do we really want a beginner in the passenger seat?

BRIAN WILLIAMS: That's part of the judgment voters get to make. There are two ways of looking at this: It is refreshing to millions of Americans not to watch a debate like the one we had last night and not to see two older white males on the stage. This is new and this is different and it's late for 2008.

LETTERMAN: It has gotten everybody's interest focused on the campaign again.

WILLIAMS: The other way of looking at it is it's September 11th, 2001. The President is airborne, the Secret Service won't yet let him land because we know that little about what has just happened to us. The Vice President has taken hold of the machinery of government. Inside the White House, he is in the secure tank. That's also the job description we're talking about here and that's part of this choice we get to make in 32 days.

LETTERMAN, RAISING HIS HANDS TO HIS HEAD AS IF ADJUSTING HIS HAIR: Well see, there you go, that's it perfectly. You've coalesced everybody's concern I think, you know, she's, you know, “How's my hair?”

[audience laughter]

WILLIAMS: (leans back and sighs.)  

LETTERMAN: But ah, that's unfair. I'm sorry.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center