By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
David Letterman put his foot in it when he tried to score some cheap laughs with tasteless jokes about Sarah Palin and her family. He was wrong. But now, incredibly, Palin has managed to jump off the moral high ground with a bizarre joke at Letterman's expense that she could not coherently explain.
Palin's office sent this statement to reporters after Letterman invited the Alaska governor on his show:
The Palins have no intention of providing a rating's [sic] boost for David Letterman by appearing on the show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.
Huh? Ummm. Does she know something about Letterman that the rest of us don't? Or was Palin (or her staff) trying to ... score some cheap laughs with a tasteless joke about David Letterman.
Palin was on NBC's Today this morning, ostensibly to talk about a natural gas pipeline she wants to build, but of course three minutes into the 11-minute interview, talk turned to the Letterman kafuffle. At around 6:45 into the interview, host Matt Lauer asked her about the keep-Willow-away-from-Dave comment.
Lauer: Are you suggesting that David Letterman can't be trusted around a 14-year-old girl?
Palin: Hey—take it however you want to take it. It is a comment that came from the heart that Willow no doubt would want to stay away from David Letterman after he made such a comment. And you can interpret that however you want to interpret it.
Lauer: Well but is that not perhaps in bad taste also governor, if you're you know suggesting that a 62-year old man couldn't be trusted—
Palin: No, it's not in bad taste. It's not in bad taste. Hey—maybe he couldn't be trusted because Willow's had enough of this type of comments and maybe Willow would want to, uh, react to him in a way that maybe would catch him off guard. That's one way to interpret such a comment.
One gets the sense with Palin that "Hey" is a verbal tic that signals Hang on, we're going off talking points! If she wasn't implying that Letterman's got a proclivity for teenage girls, she would have said, Don't be ridiculous, of course that's not what I meant, Matt. She (and/or her staff) tried to make a cheap joke, she wasn't prepared to answer for it and looked lost when confronted about it.
And governor, it is in bad taste.
Here's the entire Lauer-Palin interview:
Check out our political cartoons.
Become a political insider: Subscribe to U.S. News Weekly, our new digital magazine.
Follow Robert Schlesinger on Twitter.