Offering a second apology for the Sarah Palin controversy that has erupted over the past week, David Letterman said his joke about the Alaska Governor's daughter was a lousy joke, no matter how you cut it, and he's sincerely sorry for it.
The late night talk show host still maintained that what got people really riled is the misconception over which Palin daughter the joke was about.
On Monday's Late Show, Letterman said the risque joke about Sarah's daughter getting knocked up by Alex Rodriguez was perceived as an attack on 14-year-old Willow Palin, but was actually a reference to 18-year-old daughter Bristol Palin.
The name of the daughter wasn't mentioned in the joke, part of Letterman's monologue on last Monday's show. Nevertheless, "The joke, really, in and of itself, can't be defended," he declared. It was "a coarse joke," "a bad joke."
"But I never thought it was (about) anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure, in fact, that she is of legal age, 18."
Even so, Sarah and Todd Palin issued pointed statements last week condemning jokes about "raping" Willow and calling Letterman "despicable." Sarah Palin decried these "sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity."
Last night, a more somber Letterman said, "I'm wondering, 'Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?' I've never made jokes like this, as long as we've been on the air, 30 long years."
If that's the misconception - that the joke was aimed at a 14-year-old - he understands why people are upset, he said. "I would be upset myself."
David Letterman has said from the start that he thought the daughter who was at the Yankee game was Bristol Palin. But there were no excuses last night.
"I feel I need to do the right thing and apologize for telling that joke," he said. "It's not your fault it was misunderstood, it's my fault it was misunderstood."
He apologized to both daughters, "and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke," he said as the studio audience applauded. "I'm sorry about it, and I'll try to do better in the future."
Whose side are you on?