Wednesday night offering up a mea culpa for jokes about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her family.
In the eight-minute segment, Letterman responded to statements from Palin and her husband, Todd, about jokes he'd made earlier in the week regarding Palin's recent trip to New York — including a couple referring to 18-year-old Bristol Palin, whose pregnancy and subsequent breakup with the child's father has been news of its own.
What really got the Palin family incensed, though, was a joke about a Yankee game the governor attended with her younger daughter, Willow, who's 14. Letterman insisted that this joke — "There was an awkward moment during the seventh-inning stretch, when her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez" — was a reference to Bristol Palin. She wasn't at the game, though, which prompted some harshly worded statements from the Palins.
"Laughter incited by sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is … disgusting," Palin said. Her husband added in his own statement, "any 'jokes' about raping my 14-year-old are despicable."
Letterman acknowledged that the jokes were over the line: "I recognize these are ugly. These are actually ugly. These are borderline." But he insisted that he was talking about Bristol Palin, and that he'd never make a joke about a 14-year-old girl.
"I don't think it's funny. I'd never think it's funny," he said. "… I can't really defend the joke — I agree, unpleasant, ugly. But I'd never, never think this was funny to use a 14-year-old girl in a joke like this, for God's sake."
Here's the full video.