Letterman Says Palin Jokes in "Poor Taste"

Late night funnyman stops short of apology

By Xana O'Neill
|  Thursday, Jun 11, 2009  |  Updated 10:57 AM EDT
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Letterman said that during Palin's visit to Yankees stadium on Sunday "her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."

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David Letterman half-apologized last night for jokes he made about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin including one about her daughter being "knocked up" by New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriquez.

The late night talk show host responded to the blistering criticism from the Palin camp on CBS' "Late Show" Wednesday night by retelling the controversial jokes, which drew laughter from the audience.

He then offered a somewhat non-apology.

"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is -- her name is Bristol, that's right, and so, then, now they're upset with me," Letterman said on CBS' "Late Show" last night.

"These are not jokes about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don't think it's funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn't put it in a joke."

Letterman also invited Palin and husband Todd on the show and said having them on his show would be "exciting."

"All right, so there, I hope I've cleared part of this up. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was OK for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."

Palin blasted Letterman early Wednesday for jokes he made about one of her daughters during his Tuesday night monologue -- calling them "disgusting" and "sexually perverted."

The offending joke was about the Palins attending a Yankee game during their trip to New York. 

"During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez," Letterman quipped. 

Palin response marked the second time in two days that she ripped Letterman for making jokes about her and her family.

On Tuesday, Palin called Letterman "pathetic" during a radio show appearance in which she slammed the comedian for saying she was sporting "slutty flight attendant look."

"What a commentary there," Palin said. "That's pretty pathetic, good ole David Letterman."

Letterman, on Tuesday, said "the toughest part of her visit was keeping [disgraced former Gov.] Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter."

In an e-mailed statement, Palin took a shot at Letterman:

"Laughter incited by sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands: That acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of mirrors by older men who use and abuse others."

Palin's husband Todd said that "any 'jokes' about raping my 14-year old are despicable. Alaskans know it, and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too." 

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