This Thursday, Sen. John McCain, a day after the third and final debate with his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, will return to the Ed Sullivan Theater and appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
You’ll remember that he canceled an appearance on the show last month when he dramatically “suspended” his campaign to fly to Washington to save the country from financial ruin.
One has to wonder what kind of reception McCain will receive from Letterman.
In phoning Letterman to cancel his appearance, the Arizona senator had told the comedian that he was headed straight from New York to Washington. But when Letterman caught him in a makeup room at CBS studios preparing for an interview with news anchor Katie Couric, he turned more than a little hostile toward McCain and his campaign.
He ranted continuously about McCain’s duplicity. He questioned what had happened to the man he had respected. He wondered openly if McCain had not come on his show because of dropping poll numbers.
But now McCain will return….we think.
He won’t be the same man who was booked in September. Since then, the tenor of McCain’s campaign has grown darker and darker, and the Arizona senator has morphed from an affable, friendly face into a man who exudes flashes of anger and resentment. During the presidential debates, he has appeared at times to seethe at Obama, trying his best not to look at him directly. In the town-hall style debate moderated by Tom Brokaw, he referred to his Democratic counterpart as “That One.”
While McCain preps with one-liners, one can only think that Letterman will be ready to pounce on McCain, whose campaign he has said more than once was starting to “smell.”
During these final weeks of the campaign, McCain could use some friends in the media. But he probably won’t find one on Thursday, and maybe, considering what’s happened these recent weeks, one wonders whether he’ll ever find one again.