Matt Lauer welcomed Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin, to the Today show this morning and they kicked off their discussion with an overview of what’s happening with the natural gas pipeline that she hopes will extend from her home state to western Canada.
Lauer didn’t waste any time moving away from the pipeline chatter to the controversial feud between Palin and late-night talk show host, David Letterman.
First, he wanted to know how the governor had heard about the off-color jokes Letterman made about her daughter and the remarks he made about Palin looking like a “slutty flight attendant.”
Letterman, who joked that while Palin was traveling with her daughter in New York City, the girl got “knocked up” by New York Yankees star, Alex Rodriguez, and had to fend off the advances of Elliot Spitzer. Letterman later apologized saying that he assumed the daughter Palin was traveling with was 18-year-old, Bristol (who recently became a young mother) and not her 14-year-old daughter, Willow.
Despite the apology, Palin refuses to stop saying that Letterman is a “pervert” and continues to argue that he was making jokes about the statutory rape of a minor. I really don’t think that he meant that and he has said as much but it feels like Palin really wants to get as much air time from this as possible.
Lauer said that Letterman wasn’t there to defend himself but stressed that the comedian hadn’t referred to Willow by name and had explained himself. Palin said that Lauer, and anyone else who believed that explanation, was “naive.” That’s when things got a little uncomfortable because Lauer said that Palin was basically accusing Letterman of criminal activity and she went on a long-winded rant about how we need to rise up and fight against comedians like the veteran talk show host.
I was stunned when Lauer read a statement from the Palin family’s representative in response to Letterman’s invitation to have her on the show to hash out the issue. They declined the offer saying that they didn’t want to give him a ratings boost and added “it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.” He then asked "are you suggesting that David Letterman can’t be trusted around an 14-year-old girl?” Her response? “Hey, take it however you want to take it.” Wow.
Watch the interview. I’d like to point out that during this entire exchange about such a serious issue, she had a smile plastered on her face. I do want to say, though, that I have to agree with the governor about protecting the self-esteems of young women. I agree with her on that 100% but I do believe Dave when he said he was talking about her older daughter.
NBC News Photo