Sarah Palin Jokes About Willow While Rejecting Letterman Offer

letterman palin

Sarah Palin has responded to David Letterman’s response to the uproar over his jokes about Sarah and Bristol Palin on Monday night’s show.  Despite the smears being spread about him by right wing bloggers, David Letterman never told a joke involving either Willow Palin or rape . His jokes on Monday were no different than the jokes that he has told in the past and  jokes that have been frequently told by other late night  comics including Jay Leno, Conan O’Brian, Jimmy Kimmel and Craig Ferguson. In his response, Letterman pointed out that he agrees with Sarah Palin that jokes about a 14 year old would be inappropriate, along with pointing that he has not done this. Letterman also invited Sarah and Todd Palin onto his show.

Sarah Palin has responded to the invitation:

“The Palins have no intention of providing a rating’s boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.”

It is curious that Sarah Palin, despite her outrage in recent comments, is the one who is making a tasteless quip at the expense of Willow. Of course it is not unusual for Palin to take advantage of her children for publicity.

Just to keep things straight, David Letterman has not made any jokes about Willow Palin. It is the right wing blogs who dragged Willow into this, and now Sarah Palin has joined them by making such a joke about Willow. In doing so, Palin shows she is both not above taking advantage of her daughter to make a political point and that she is not above joining in with right wing smear campaigns. Just as it is wrong to make jokes about a 14 year old child, it is wrong to spread false accusations that David Letterman has done this.

I suspect that sooner or later Palin will appear on Late Night with David Letterman, just as John McCain did following his feud with Letterman last fall. As  a politician such publicity will probably prove to be too much to resist. Besides,  as Letterman has jokingly pointed out, “The road to the White House goes through me.”

On the other hand, perhaps Palin will not do what other politicians would do in such a situation. Palin remains unique in staying away from the Sunday morning talk shows following her disastrous attempts to answer questions in interviews during the 2008 campaign. Most likely Letterman would keep such an appearance light, but Palin still might be afraid of being embarrassed should Letterman throw her any questions about actual policy matters.

Update: Jason Zengerle says essentially the same thing as I said above. (He’s responding to Victor Davis Hanson as well as Sarah Palin’s argument but it is essentially the same argument we’ve heard multiple times from the right):

I know logic isn’t VDH’s strong suit, but is it really so hard to believe that the joke Letterman was making about a Palin daughter getting “knocked up” was about the Palin daughter who, you know, got knocked up? And when you consider that said daughter has decided to make herself a poster- (and cover-) girl for teen abstinence, then, by stepping into the media spotlight, she’s exposed herself to the jokes (funny or not) of late night comics.

As for Palin, her response is just gross. Responding to Letterman’s invitation to appear on his show, this is what a Palin spokesman said:

The Palins have no intention of providing a rating’s boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.

The first part about not wanting to boost Letterman’s ratings is fair and I can’t blame her. But isn’t the second part just adding insult to the original injury Palin claims Willow suffered at Letterman’s hands? It’s hard to complain about someone making jokes about having sex or raping your 14-year-old daughter when you then go on to make the same joke yourself.

P.S. VDH says Letterman would never make jokes about the offspring of the Obamas, Kerrys, Bidens, or Gores. Not true.

Update 2: So far on Thursday’s show Letterman has commented on problems from shooting his mouth off but says everything is ok with Sarah Palin. He says that Sarah Palin called and invited him to go hunting. He usually tapes his Friday shows on Monday after the actual Monday show so we probably won’t hear anything more this week, at least in response to events from later in the week. It is possible that he included more jokes about Palin when originally taping the show on Monday.

Update 3: Sarah Palin Continues To Drag Daughter Through Mud For Political Gain

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  1. 1
    Christoher Skyi says:

    “On the other hand, perhaps Palin will not do what other politicians would do in such a situation. Palin remains unique in staying away from the Sunday morning talk shows following her disastrous attempts to answer questions in interviews during the 2008 campaign. Most likely Letterman would keep such an appearance light, but Palin still might be afraid of being embarrassed should Letterman throw her any questions about actual policy matters.”

    Yup! This is Palin’s #1 biggest weakness that she’s going to have to overcome if she want to be an effective leader for the GOP.   In many ways, those early very embarrassing missteps of her’s opened the door to a lot of these types of jokes about her. On the other hand, she lost the election, so you don’t want to look like you’re kicking someone when they’re down — that’s another line DL needs to be careful not to cross.

  2. 2
    nf says:

    “Just to keep things straight, David Letterman has not made any jokes about Willow Palin.”

    He referenced Palin, her daughter, Alex Rodriguez and a Yankee game that they both attended the very day he made the tasteless joke. I heard it with my own ears. What is your problem?

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    The joke was about Bristol Palin, not Willow.

    It was right wing bloggers who dragged Willow into this, and it is now Sarah Palin who used Willow to make a cheap attack.

  4. 4
    Tomasino says:

    The key to the whole thing that everyone seems to be leaving out is that Sarah Palin was visiting New York with Willow, not with Bristol. So the comments about her daughter were justifiably assumed to be about the 14 year old. It was indeed a big misunderstanding, but obviously not some evil ruse cooked up by the conservative media.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    But Bristol is the daughter who everyone knows was pregnant. She is also the one making public appearances regarding her pregnancy, including a recent town hall in New York. Nobody knew who Palin went to the game with. Letterman’s jokes frequently mix such fact and fiction. To listeners it was clearly a joke about Bristol Palin, similar to many jokes Letterman has told in the past, and similar to jokes told by all the other late night comics. Using the game was just a formula for his jokes. If not for all the uproar he would probably still be making jokes about people going to the game with Palin who had not really been there.

    The story began with conservatives first objecting to the slutty flight attendant line about Sarah Palin. It wasn’t until later Tuesday morning that conservative bloggers picked up on the Bristol Palin joke. They realized that there was no benefit in attacking for a Bristol Palin joke so they invented the charge that it was about Willow. This was an intentional smear, and a tactic frequently employed by the right.

  6. 6
    Brent says:

    Nobody listening to the show would think that the joke was about anyone other than Bristol Palin. This is an intentional smear, just like the smears against John Kerry in 2003 or 2004 when spread lies about a joke he told.

    One clear sign that this is an intentional smear rather than a simple misunderstanding–many wingnuts including Sarah Palin continue to make this claim even after David Letterman explained it.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    True, it took an intentional smear campaign to get people to think that Letterman told a joke about Willow. I bet if we had an “exit poll” of his audience that night every single one would have thought it was about Bristol and nobody would have even thought of Willow Palin.

    It is the right wing, not Letterman, who is dragging Willow’s name through the mud. It is especially disgusting that Sarah Palin herself is now doing this.

  8. 8
    Tomasino says:

    I agree that she took an over-sensitive stance on the initial jokes about her “slutty flight attendant outfits.” However, regarding the daughter jokes, although the general populace might not have known she was at the game with Willow, you have to imagine that from Sarah’s point of view. The comments were about “her daughter” who was with her at the game. They can easily be misconstrued to suggest that her younger daughter would fall into the same mistakes as her older daughter. It’s an honest misunderstanding.

    With that said, I think both sides of this have been spun grossly out of proportion. The conservative press seems to have added the key “rape” term into the mix, which has added a level of vehemence to the comments to suggest slander, which is just not accurate. Of course, the smear tactics don’t end on the right. Just as many commenters have taken this opportunity to open attacks anew against Sarah Palin that are completely irrelevant to the topic.

    I also think the way David Letterman clarified his intentions with the joke while still being funny was very tactful, honest, and appropriate. Sarah’s response to the whole situation has been one of a protective parent, which is totally understandable. Even her “quip,” as you put it, about Willow can be seen in that light, rather than sexual in nature.

    “Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman”

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with Sarah in the past and though she is a very smart, dedicated, and passionate governor, she wasn’t brought up  in the spotlight and she really doesn’t handle it well. I honestly hope she doesn’t try for another national campaign. She’s done a lot of good work for the State of Alaska in the past and I hope she can find her way back to doing more of the same, but she puts her foot in her mouth far too often for a national stage.

    Thanks, Tomasino

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    If you don’t want to be perceived as hypocrites, at least admit that what he said was despicable.  Incidents like this are why conservatives can make valid claims about the double standard applied to them by media.  If this were said about about a democrat by Rush Limbaugh, there would be an uproar.  When somebody says something like this, you must treat them the same as anyone else.  Just be adults about this.  It’s OK to dislike Sarah Palin, but nobody, let alone a 14 year old, deserves that vile crap.  Let’s hear some of you stand up for whats right, regardless of what you think about the recipient.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:


    1) The joke was about Bristol Palin–not a 14 year old girl. It is the right wing bloggers, and now Sarah Palin who have dragged Willow’s name into this. They, and not Letterman, deserve the criticism for dragging a 14 year old girl into this.

    2) I have already said he should not have made the joke about Bristol and Letterman has also said that.

    3) His joke about Bristol Palin was no worse than many other jokes Letterman has made and no worse than many jokes which every other late night comic has made. To single out Letterman for such attacks is ridiculous.

    3) Even if Letterman made a joke he should not have made that does not excuse the smear campaign launched against him. Just as it is wrong to tell jokes about a 14 year old it is wrong to spread false stories claiming that someone was telling such a joke about a 14 year old. Objecting to Letterman’s jokes about Sarah and Bristol Palin does not excuse smearing Letterman.

  11. 11
    Leslie Parsley says:

    To have a sense of humor one must have brains. Sarah has neither. For someone who constantly bashes the media she seems to work very hard to get coverage on the TV and in print. If she had not written that insipid letter the matter would have died and there would have been no story. Bravo to Dave and to CBS.

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:


    I won’t get into the question as to whether Palin has brains, but it is clearly the conservatives who are playing this, at the expense of Willow Palin, for political gain. While I would prefer that Bristol Palin not be the topic of jokes, the fact remains that Jay Leno, Conan O’Brian, Jimmy Kimmel and Craig Ferguson, along with Letterman, have all made jokes about Bristol Palin. With Bristol Palin speaking out in public (including in New York recently) about her pregnancy it is inevitable that she would be seen as fair game by these comics.

    If the right wingers had not made such a big deal out of this we would have had one more in a long string of Bristol Palin pregnancy jokes. Instead they see justification in lying about what Letterman said with false claims that it was about a 14 year old and about rape while they are the ones, not Letterman, who dragged Willow’s name into this.  As you said, it is now Sarah Palin who is keeping this story alive, even resorting to using Willow to take a cheap shot at Letterman for her own political gain. If Palin wants to protect her children she should not use them for political gain in the way that she does.

  13. 13
    Robert L. says:

    When the National Organization for Women puts Letterman in their Media Hall of Shame over this incident it is time to stop pretending that it’s all in conservative’s imagination.

  14. 14
    Ron Chusid says:


    These are totally different issues. Pretty much everyone–including Letterman–agrees the jokes were in poor taste. That does not justify singling out Letterman in this manner when his jokes are no different than the jokes of any other late night comic. It certainly does not justify the lies being spread about his jokes, such as claiming they were about rape or a 14 year old.

    Criticizing this type of joke about women in general as NOW did and smearing Letterman as the right wingers are doing are two totally different things.

  15. 15
    Julia says:

    Ron, your reply in #5 clearly sums up why anyone with half a functioning brain should realize the joke was about Bristol Palin and nothing to do with either Willow Palin or rape. So what do we call those who continue to spread such a transparently untrue story–liars or idiots.

  16. 16
    Ron Chusid says:


    Liars or idiots? It depends upon the individual, and in many cases both. In many cases they love to believe conservatives are being persecuted and are willing to believe whatever they hear from the right wing noise machine. The facts are of little concern to them. Many also have a religious adherence to their beliefs and think that doing anything to spread them or attack a perceived enemy (or to limit freedom of expression against them) that they feel justified in lying in this nature.

  17. 17
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Ron and Julia:


  18. 18
    Sarah (not that one) says:

    Preventing freedom of expression is exactly what they are up to. They don’t care at all about Willow, and these conservaties certainly don’t have any interest in feminism or jokes about women. They are ONLY concerned about this because they see Dave as a liberal who attacked Sarah Palin.

  19. 19
    Ron Chusid says:


    Of course, if the right wing bloggers who started this had any respect for Willow they would not have dragged her name into this.  I’m sure Sarah Palin does have concern for Willow but she is certainly willing to let her name get dragged into this for political gain, which doesn’t say much about her.

    Seeing Letterman as a “liberal who attacked Sarah Palin” is only partly true as the jokes were far more about getting laughs than about support for either party. Letterman has also told jokes about Al Gore’s son as well as about many Democrats.  He certainly told a lot of sexist jokes about Hillary Clinton as well as Sarah Palin. He tells jokes about Sarah and Bristol Palin as they are virtually guaranteed laughs, as are jokes about sex (including Bristol’s pregnancy). 

    That’s simply the nature of late night comedy. If they want to criticize this it would be one thing, but it sure does not justify smears such as claiming it was about a 14 year old or about rape.

  20. 20
    Sarah (not that one) says:

    Exactly. The right wingers making these attacks are unable to do the mental equivalent of walking and chewing gum at the same time. They cannot understand that people can simultaneously object to some of Letterman’s jokes while also objecting to them spreading these lies about Letterman. Julia is so right that they can only be liars or idiots for saying the joke was about Willow.

  21. 21
    Ron Chusid says:


    It sure is hard to take anyone seriously who claims the joke had anything to do with Willow, regardless of who was at the game. Nobody watching thought the joke had anything to do with Willow until the right wingers dragged her name into it.

    As the joke did not name a daughter it was necessary for listeners to have some background information to understand and interpret it. Of these two facts, which one can safely be assumed to have been considered by the viewers:

    1) Bristol Palin had been pregnant and therefore the joke was about her, or

    2) Willow Palin was at the game and therefore the joke was about her.

    It is a safe bet that everyone knew about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy and nobody knew which daughter was at the game.

  22. 22
    Sarah (not that one) says:

    One, one, one. there is no doubt it is number one.

    Since when has anyone thought that the things Dave jokes about are based on exact facts?

  23. 23
    Ron Chusid says:


    It certainly takes either very limited intelligence or zero understanding of how jokes are written to think that Letterman’s jokes are based on exact facts (such as who was actually at the game). As I said previously, Letterman joked about Giuliani going to the game with Palin on Tuesday. If not for all the controversy he would probably continue with this formula and make jokes about more people (such as Bristol) who weren’t even at the game.

    To argue that the joke was about Willow and not Bristol because Willow was the daughter at the game is simply not an argument which anyone with a shred of intelligence or integrity could make.

  24. 24
    Sarah (not that one) says:

    If they had intelligence would they still be backing the Republicans? Pretty much every Republican with a brain has left the party by now.

  25. 25
    Ron Chusid says:

    They sure aren’t showing any signs of intelligence in their handling of this one.

  26. 26
    Lori says:

    This is all worth it now. Conservatives are quoting NOW as a legitimate source when normally whenever Now criticizes sexist comments from a conservative they just laugh it off saying that feminists have no sense of humor. Next time they do this we can show how they were willing to quote from NOW about Letterman. Unfortunately for them they don’t even understand that NOW’s complaints have nothing to do with their false claims about what Letterman said. I don’t see anyone disagreeing that what Letterman said was sexist or in poor taste.

  27. 27
    Dewey says:

    The joke was more offensive towards Rodriguez. Everybody knows that if a sports celebrity is going to rape one of the Palins, it would be Kobe Bryant.

  28. 28
    clb72 says:

    Sarah is looking SOOOOO presidential.  Can’t wait to not vote for her.

  29. 29
    Ron Chusid says:


    I’m not sure I would consider this to be  NOW’s finest hour. They certainly have a point that Letterman’s joke was sexist, as are many other late night jokes. With many potential choices to criticize I would have preferred that they not go with this example. They are largely reacting to the controversy created by the right wing smear campaign as opposed to Letterman’s actual jokes.  While they are not saying the same thing as the right wing attacks, they give the appearance of giving them some credibility.

    I also think that NOW is taking advantage of the noise created by the right wing smears in latching on to this issue. While there is validity to their criticism, it could be countreproductive to join up with the right wing when their agenda is so different from NOW’s.

  30. 30
    Nanci says:

    Sarah Palin should blame only herself for the backlash and ridicule of her family. She was selfish enough to throw her hat in the ring for VP when she knew that her 17 year old daughter was pregnant. As the mother of daughters, wild horses could not have dragged me to run for office knowing that my pregnant teen would be plastered all over the media.
    Bristol Palin did exactly the opposite of what her anal retentive conservative mother of hers preaches constantly.
    Wake up, and face the fact that you can’t have it both ways. If you use your children for media attention, and you do not teach them right from wrong, don’t wonder why they become the object of cheap jokes.  Sarah Palin is not educated or qualified enough to run her family correctly, which proves she could never hold a office that held any real power. She got elected in Alaska because Alaska is predominently men! MEN LOVE SARAH PALIN!  Why not with her x- beauty queen status, hair and makeup, and tight little suits.  Women with an education could never think for a minute that Sarah Palin is the leader or mother they would want to be. BTW, where is that poor downs syndrome son of hers while she is running around the country sucking up the media attention? I feel very sorry for those Palin children.

  31. 31
    Ron Chusid says:


    It is getting even harder to deny Sarah Palin’s blame here. This story could have died on Wedensday but Palin is still bringing up the bogus attacks on Letterman and misrepresenting what he said. She continues to drag Willow Palin through the mud for political gain when repeating the lie that Letterman told a joke about her.

  32. 32
    ME says:

    What was the joke? Lol never got to hear it…

  33. 33
    Ron Chusid says:

    Palin turned down the invitation (actually extended to Sarah and Todd) saying it wouldn’t be safe for Willow to be around Letterman. She shows that she didn’t understand the joke was about Bristol (or wants to pretend she it was about Willow for political gain) and she joked about Willow being raped. Did she think that Letterman was going to physically attack Willow while on the air? Does she think it is in good taste to tell a joke about her daughter getting raped?

  34. 34
    Artie says:

    Now a joke about raping Piper, that would be worthy of the Howard Stern show.

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