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Posted by on Jun 9, 2009 in Arts & Entertainment, At TMV, Politics | 53 comments

Letterman Jokes About 14 Year Old Girl Being ‘Knocked Up’

In his monologue last night, David Letterman made a joke about Willow Palin, the 14 year old daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, being ‘knocked up’ during the game.

Of course politics is about making jokes and politicians need to have thick skins. But what happened to families being off limits? Can you imagine if someone made a similar joke about the daughter of a Democratic politician?

I remember when people made jokes about Chelsea Clinton and they were quite properly told to lay off, that kids are off the table when it comes to making jokes. As I see it any jokes or attacks on the Obama daughters are also off limits. It would seem to me the left should feel the same way about Republican politicians and their kids.

I am waiting for the protests over this from the left, but I’m not sure they will come.

Hat Tip To Instapundit

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  • GeorgeSorwell

    I completely agree that Letterman was wrong.

  • sparkles43

    I agree that politicians’ children are off limits but the Palins make it a little difficult to adhere to that when they keep putting their children in the limelight. I think some of the comments made about the Palin children are a direct result of the Palins’ actions.

    The Clintons, the Bushs and most politicians try to keep their children out of sight and out of mind. They are not paraded around like the Palin children are.

    • $270502

      sparkles43 is from some sort of alternate reality, apparently. Here on Earth-1, the children of many prominent politicians are in the public eye.

    • AustinRoth

      Sparkles –

      So the Obama girls are fair game?

  • sparkles43


    Sure politician children are in the public eye but most politicians do take great care to keep their public appearance minimal. I was never a fan of the Clintons but they did do a great job of keeping the public out of Chelsea’s life. GW and Laura also did a great job of keeping the twins out of the public eye. The Palins are different. They debut their kids everywhere. They parade Bristol around with her child. If my 18 year old daughter just became a single mother and just finishing high school, I sure would not be parading her around in the public eye. I would be making sure she was taking care of the baby, spending time with the baby, and learning to support herself.

  • I have to agree with JimTreacher. The children of prominent politicians are in the public eye. And no matter how much they are paraded, when they are minors, they should not be “attacked”, period. Left, right, center, slantways, backways, or sideways.

  • sparkles43


    The Obama children are not put center stage and interviewed. Their lives are pretty much kept private just as the Bush twins were and the Chelsea was. And TSteel I agree that minors should not be attacked but when the parent makes the misjudgment of putting the child center stage and putting their lives out there…they will be commented on. The Palins put their kids lives on center stage and leave them open for comments. If they don’t want their kids commented on, they should take more care to keep their children’s lives private.

  • rfyork

    I rarely agree here, but Patrick hit the nail on the head. Leave the kids alone. Period.

    There is no justification for foisting the sins of the parents on their children. Whether Letterman or O’Reilly does it, it stinks. And, it applies to all of them, right, left or center. Whether their parents are stupid enough to push them in front of the press or someone else does.

    La Palin is awful, but that gives no one the right to joke about her daughter.

  • No it isn’t funny AustinRoth which is PRECISELY why Letterman is totally classless joking about 14-year old Willow Palin. The children, ESPECIALLY MINORS, are off-limits. They can’t defend themselves and they are totally over-matched. Besides, if an adult “attacked” my children the way Letterman went after Willow Palin, I would want to “do some painful things” to Letterman’s face. ‘Nuff said.

  • MoyCullen

    Children are off-limits no matter what their parents do. If the Palins are guilty of putting their children in the spotlight, then make Todd and Sarah the butt of the jokes, not the children.

  • joeaudio

    BTW, I think Letterman is a stupid jerk too, but Austin… Roth takes the cake.

  • joeaudio

    If I’m banned from future comments here due to my response to AustinRoth, that’s okay, because any forum that allows a comment that the President’s daughters are “future sluts” is not worth being a part of.

    • AustinRoth

      joeaudio – glad to see you are getting my point that ALL minors of politicians should be completely off limits, regardless of the fact that all political families these days seem to use their children to the extent they can, whether in photo ops, interviews, making reference to them and what they have said, taking them on public tours with the press in tow, etc.

      And I would never tag ANY comment as inappropriate under the circumstances. My comment was, of course, a vile, baseless and disgusting attack of the lowest order.

      And no offense taken from your comments, either. I am glad it offended. I would be worried, frankly, if it did not.

      • joeaudio

        Glad to hear your comment was meant to be provocative, it obviously was.
        Sorry if I went overboard, but using “sluts” about a couple of kids really pissed me off.
        I don’t forgive you, but I agree that kids of politicians should be off limits.
        So you were “kidding” when you said they were “fair game?”
        Maybe you should be more clear when you’re being “snarky.”

        • AustinRoth

          joeaudio –

          I wouldn’t even use the word ‘kidding’. I actually do not like Palin OR Obama (or too many politicians, when you get right down to it), but what is now considered fair commentary and comedic fodder on the airwaves about family and children of public figures is disgusting, and I blame both the media for lowered standards and politicians as well.

          The ‘family portrait’ photo op has been part of campaigning forever, but now it is ‘the family that campaigns together wins together’. It is an offshoot, IMHO (but correct) opinion of the move toward dynastic political families for the past few generations. Everyone wants to create the next Bush/Gore/Kennedy clan.

          p.s. – I didn’t ask for your forgiveness 😉

          • joeaudio

            “an offshoot, IMHO (but correct) opinion of the move toward dynastic political families ”

            In Your Humble Opinion, which is “correct?”
            Good thing that you get to decide when you are Right.
            others would disagree.

            People, including politicians, have families.
            Would I be correct in assuming that you do not have children?
            I DO have children; other PARENTS will understand my anger at your post.

            If I am wrong, and you are a parent, I am sorry, in so many ways…

          • AustinRoth

            Gee joeaudio –

            Not quite sure how that last comment of mine set you off again. I thought we had made up (to a degree) once you knew I was NOT truly advocating my initial comments.

            The “correct” was (again) a joke. You seem to be particularly humorless, I guess, and unable to tell any kind of a joke without a large, blinking sign telling you to laugh.

            Perhaps you missed the winking emoticon on my ‘didn’t ask for your forgiveness’ comment (that would be the internet equivalent of said blinking sign telling you to laugh, BTW)

            I also never said there were never political dynasties prior to the more modern ones. All I said is that more and more political families are trying to create them. If you think that is OK, that is your right, but as for me, I do not long for the days of semi-permanent political class.

            As for children, I have mentioned them many times on this board. I have two. And in fact, I have been in Chicago since Wednesday of last week tending to my youngest, my daughter, who severely broke her hip during Navy boot camp. She will not be able to remain in the service due to the severity of that injury, and in fact will now be receiving disability and is facing the prospect of regular hip replacement surgeries for the rest of her life,

            Thanks for asking.

          • joeaudio

            It’s not that I’m humorless, I just didn’t find your comment’s about the Obama kids amusing.
            I’m afraid we do have a semi-permanent political class and think it’s a lousy way to run a democracy.

            Best wishes for your daughter. I hope she is well taken care by the VA.
            I’d say enjoy your visit here (Chicago) but under the circumstamces, that’s probably not possible.
            If there’s anything I can do (ride to the doctor or airport, etc) reply and let me know.
            I’d be happy to help.

          • AustinRoth

            joeaudio – thanks for the comments. It is time to put this behind us, but let’s be clear. I never intended my initial comments to be taken amusingly, or seriously, but rather as I often do as an example of the extreme from the other side to make a point.

            And thanks for the kind offer of help, but I have the logistics under control.

          • StockBoySF

            AustinRoth, I am saddened to hear about your daughter’s misfortune and she will be in my thoughts for the best recovery.

          • joeaudio

            “dynastic political families for the past few generations”
            I don’t care for the Bush dynasty either, but “the past few generations?”
            Ever hear of John Adams and John Quincy Adams?
            Not exactly new stuff in American politics.

  • OsamaBinLogin

    I think Letterman is a liberal comedian. And Limbaugh is a conservative comedian. So they both make awful remarks about what, politicians, their kids, wives, dogs, aides, friends, etc.

    I think this is the age of awful mudslinging in politics. It all sucks, but each side has to do it to keep up with the other. I don’t think either side is clean.

    I don’t think anybody’s going to use this thread as a guide to mudslinging in the future. They should this, they should that, I’ll agree, but they won’t.

  • lucius0729

    So the jokes made about Janet Reno being Chelsea Clinton’s father were okay, and who made that joke? Wasn’t it John McCain?

  • joeaudio

    I see that my comments to AustinRoth have been deleted by a “moderator,” but the AustinRoth comment
    “And the Obama’s are parading their future little sluts all over TV right now (hey, they are now fair game now by the new rules).”
    still stands.
    Great moderation! (snark)
    Moderators here should visit Firedoglake to learn how it should be done. (You were correct in deleting my profanity, you just didn’t go far enough.)

  • tjproudamerican

    Letterman should have pointed out that the Palin family is very much a private and publicity averse group, that education is so important to the family that Palin children do NOT drop out, they simply pursue their GED or join the military, and that they do not get pregnant until they turn 16.

    I just pray for this good woman, who has never mocked or belittled anyone except people she holds in contempt like community organizers and the people who are not from the Real America like she and Todd and anyone who has ever dared to oppose her or point out that she is a Bill and Hillary Class pathological liar.

    And I know conservatives are really upset. Just as they were when FoxNews called Michelle Obama Brack Obama’s “Baby’s Momma”.

    Oh the humaity! Poor, poor Sarah Palin…….

  • StockBoySF

    You know what? We’ve been through this before with Sarah Palin and her kids. Palin knows EXACTLY the costs of parading her kids around publicly and she has chosen decided it is worth the cost to her family for her own political benefit.

    Put the kids in the spotlight and they will be commented on, for good or for bad. That doesn’t excuse potshots taken by some people, but the Palins are not protecting their children and quite frankly how they choose to raise their kids is their own business. If you put your kids out on the target practice field, then you won’t get any sympathy from me. Especially when a parents chose to do so for their own political benefit.

    I feel sorry for the kids, but I’m appalled by Palin’s actions.

    Yes, the Obama girls have appeared in the media (and I’d love to see more of them, they’re well behaved and intelligent, I think any parent would be proud of them). And they are the first family so many Americans do take an interest in them. The granting of the interviews have been thoughtful, and I don’t think Obama uses his kids for political purposes. He was careful to keep them off the campaign trail, and their appearances were meant to satisfy the publics’ desire to see them. And negative comments HAVE been made by the right on the Obama girls.

    When you’re a politician you should expect such comments, fair or unfair, on your family. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is.

  • EEllis

    Exactly how should of Palin “protected” her daughter Willow?
    If you are a politician and you don’t have your family at some events then it’s somehow a bigger deal then if they are at every event. You could say that they have it coming for being politicians at all and it would have just as much validity.
    Palins daughter (Bristol) was older and, with her situation, a natural lightning rod for press. We have no idea how much of her presence was her desire to be a part of her mothers campaign, her mothers idea, ect. Older children being a part of a campaign is of course much different then an 8 yo. So?
    Politicians should except negative comments on family?
    Maybe, it may very well be an inevitable part of campaigning. However I don’t think we the public should put up with it when it comes to children. The partisan feel of a few of the posters is disturbing and disgusting. Do you really dislike Palin so much that you would take it out on her 14 yo daughter?
    What has Palin done that deserves an attack on her daughter? Exactly I mean, not just “paraded around” but specifics? Anyone?

  • Facebook User

    “I agree that politicians’ children are off limits but the Palins make it a little difficult to adhere to that when they keep putting their children in the limelight”


    Sarah Palin was at a baseball game. How is that “putting their children in the limelight”?
    Did Sarah Palin invited the press to see them watching the game?
    What exactly is Sarah Palin allowed to do as a mother with her children that is not putting them in the limelight?
    I think that would be any activity in which the press is not interested, such as… I don’t know, help me out here, give me one example…

  • Facebook User

    “I just pray for this good woman, who has never mocked or belittled anyone except people she holds in contempt like community organizers and the people who are not from the Real America..”


    Sarah Palin remarks about community organizer during the republican convention were in response to Obama’s reference to her as “the former mayor of Wasilla”. That is a fact, but don’t let it take away from your favorite leisue activity of mocking the hick from Alaska. BTW, the people from the “Real America” include those bitterly “clinging to gun and religion”, who hates people “who don’t look like them”… I can’t recall what famous american politician said that when he thought only his friends and supporters were listening…

  • AustinRoth, all the best to your daughter. My cousin suffered a similar injury several years ago. It was (and still is) tough on her but she has done damn well with her combination of flexibility and strength training exercises.

    Both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama have had characterizations created about them that are downright disgusting and depressing. Whereas Obama’s children have not been targeted (and I hope never do), Palin’s entire family has been and continues to. What’s to be gained by attacking a 14-year teenager? A teenager who has done NOTHING but have Sarah Palin as a mother she obviously loves! Letterman’s full of crap as well as others who want to target minors with politically motivated attacks. No excuse!

  • jwest


    I’m saddened to hear of your daughter’s injury and I wish her the best in her recovery. It’s never easy seeing your child hurt – we always think we can protect them – but we can always be there to help them pick up the pieces and try a new direction.

    The comments about Sarah Palin’s children have been breathtaking. You think by interacting almost daily with a group of people you might get a take on their personalities and values, but then something like this comes along.

    Naturally, I’m angry at Letterman for making such a cruel, tasteless remark. What he said wasn’t that surprising for him or even for someone of his political leaning in general, so it wasn’t terribly unexpected. But I don’t know Letterman, I’ve never corresponded or had any interaction with him.

    It’s the people on this site that have stunned me. How anyone could defend or try to rationalize this slur is simply beyond the pale. This must be what it’s like to find out your next door neighbor is a child molester. You hear it all the time on the news – “He was such a nice guy…..” – it all goes to show you can never tell.

    What is this infection called liberalism that makes normally good people fill with such bile? How can thinking people live when they are overwhelmed with hate and bitterness? You know they understand the disgusting nature of an attack on a politician’s child because they reacted to your example of Obama’s kids, but they don’t seem to have the capacity to project that onto a conservative’s children.

    There is never a feeling of greater sadness than when you learn someone you thought you knew is capable of something really disgusting.

    This is how we get to start our morning.

    • Anna

      Letterman is a jackass….he’s always been a jackass. He shouldn’t have made the comment and should retract.

      That being said, jwest is also a jackass since he feels that anyone who doesn’t agree with him is an “infection”…way to have a dialogue with people by insulting them. Besides, someone like jwest would’ve laughed it up had Limbaugh made the same “joke” about Obama’s daughters. Don’t think for even one second that both parties aren’t guilty of this kind of thing unless you want to show yourself for the true hypocrite you are.

  • HemmD

    Austin –
    I’ve read this entire thread and clearly, you failed to use the correct “irony” font. Your example about Obama’s kids was exactly correct in demonstrating why a politicians kids are off limits. I’m not sure how you were so badly misunderstood. My best to you and your daughter.

    jwest –
    This may be the first time you and I seem to almost agree. I was right with you until you turned from general disgust with attacking children of all politicians into another biased attack again liberals. Both sides have done this, and it wouldn’t have been tto hard for you to merely keep your condemnation bi-partisan. Ah well, maybe it was too much to ask.

  • Reggie182


    However many times Sarah Palin brought her kids with her to campaign events (which are not ongoing, as the 2008 election is over) is irrelevant. David Letterman shouldn’t make rape jokes about 14 year old girls simply because they have accompanied their mother to campaign events in the past.

    Letterman is slime, but this is against a conservative woman’s family, so it is doubtful that the media elites are going to expect ole Dave to show a shred of decency and apologize. I would declare a boycott against Letterman, but seeing that I haven’t really watched his painfully unfunny show for over fifteen years, that would be kinda redundant.

  • jwest


    First, I’m glad that you feel the same as I do about Letterman’s remark. You’ve restored a tiny bit of my faith in mankind.

    Now, on an argumentative note, this “both sides do it” meme is not only inaccurate, but is growing increasingly old.

    Focusing on personal attacks, whether it is Supreme Court nominees, politician’s children or any other group you can name, there is no question that the quantity, viciousness and media backing of leftists dwarfs anything the right has done.

  • Lit3Bolt

    Now that we’ve all firmly established what tribe we’re rooting for…

    Letterman must feel pretty comfortable doing this, thinking that it’s a clever way to drum up ratings. You’d suspect this garbage would come from Ted Rall or Michael Moore, and their conservative counterparts, who love to say shocking and taboo things and relish the “controversy” that follows. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired of the game and tribalistic fauxtrage from both sides, then the guilt trip demands to “own up” to whatever random idiot X said as if they spoke for the MSM, conservatives, or liberals at large. I’m tired of being played like a harp.

    The most insulting thing you can do to a media personality is ignore them. So…

  • CStanley

    So you’re not allowed to take your kids to a baseball game? That’s ridiculous!

    That anyone would think that is a clear indication of how we view things through lenses and sometimes aren’t even aware of it. By definition, for those on the center left and left (and even some on the right who found Palin lacking or distasteful as a candidate) everything she does is political pandering. Thus, if she travels with her family and spends time in public with them, it’s despicable and reason enough to take the gloves off with her kids.

    Obama spends time with his kids, or Michelle appears in public with them…”Awe, what a great family, they’re so close! ”
    (Which they do appear to be- don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking them as a family at all.)

    I don’t doubt for a minute that if Sarah Palin made public appearances frequently WITHOUT her kids, and didn’t travel with them, she’d be knocked for that (‘Apparently she cares more about advancing her political career than spending time with her large family!’ would be heard.)

    Personally I assume that political families are like military families- the parents end up putting their kids through stuff that I wouldn’t choose for my own kids, but I think a lot of them are able to manage it and do a great job raising their kids through the process. And thank God someone is willing to do it.

    As for the Letterman ‘jokes’- disgusting, but I’m so tired of the outrage games as well. People need to examine their own consciences and if they’re applying double standards and excusing bad behavior, well, I think they’re a$$holes but I’m sure that my telling them so won’t change them.

  • archangel

    Dear Austin, Prayers aimed specifically for your young daughter. We pray together, two different groups of old woman in black, nuns and Guadalupaños. If you would care to send your daughter’s first name to us, you can do so by emailing our Ed. in Chief Joe Gandelman.

    Also, working with vets for over 40 years now, know a great deal about bone density in women, calcium metab., nutrient malabsorbtion, etc. If I can help with pointing toward resources/info, please dont hesitate to call on me. Have one vet in her 80s who’s had three hip replacements over time, and still literally climbs 14ers out here in the Rockies. Though for now, just walking across the room is real progress. Hang in there and tell your dear daughter hello from a praying grandmother whose first service was with vets suffering from quadraplegia at Hines VA hospital in Chicago in the 1960s. The spirit that comes to people in military is amazing. She will be made well… it takes time, but she will see a new way and a new day not too far down the road.


  • CStanley

    LOL, Anna, so jwest shouldn’t make insulting presumptions about people who disagree with him yet you’re perfectly comfortable asserting that jwest would have laughed at a similar joke if made by Rush Limbaugh.

    Alrighty then.

    • Anna

      OK, fair enough but human nature can sometimes take over when someone ticks you off. 🙂

      Considering jwest’s track record of insulting anyone and everyone that disagrees with him, it didn’t seem so remote a possibility. However, I am a big enough person to say mea culpa and take that part back. I stand by the rest of my comment, however.

  • Skyefire

    Sure, Limbaugh was told to leave Chelsea alone, but the next week he “apologized” for calling her ugly but used a picture of a dog in place of her face when he did so.

    Not that that was at all ok, but simply that is a horrible example, because it shows that side is just as bad about it.

  • tjproudamerican

    This is the number one issue on Memeorandum. Whatever you think about this issue, you have to admire the sheer power of Right Wing Blogs to set the agenda.

    This is a very cool exercise in phony outrage by the Right who invented all the PC curbs on language. They had to drill deep to make Letterman’s offhand joke which was clearly a slap at Palin’s inability to pass along her strict moral code even to her own daughter by substituting the non-pregnant unmarried daughter from the unmarried mother daughter.

    Only professional grievance mongers thought Letterman’s joke was about the 14 y.o. The joke was about how strange it was that Sarah Palin was unrolled like an unknown product we would all love, and then we found out very little about her was real.

    I would say Letterman is silly, but compared to the blogosphere, he is Wittgenstein and St. Augustine.

  • CStanley

    If it’s any consolation, tjproud, some of us feel the same way every time Memeorandum lights up with outrage over Rush Limbaugh, Imus, Ann Coulter, or anyone of that ilk, and those stories dominate the blogosphere (including TMV) for days as though there’s nothing more important going on in the world.

    I’m not sure why you consider it odd that people would assume Letterman joked about the daughter who actually accompanied Sarah Palin, nor do I agree with those who think it would be OK to make rape jokes about her slightly older daughter (‘Hey, we know she’s not a virgin, so fair game!’ Is that how this works?)

  • casualobserver

    joke was clearly a slap at Palin’s inability to pass along her strict moral code

    So, proudamerican, statutory rape is a reflection on the woman’s/mother’s moral code…….glad you clarified that.

  • I find Sarah Palin quite engaging… I like the regular gal angle.

    How’s that for derailing the conversation!

  • kathykattenburg


    I am truly sorry to hear about your daughter’s injury. This must be terribly hard for you and your entire family, on so many levels — the seriousness of the injury itself, and the fact it ends her military career, which had just begun. I hope you and she can stay strong and take courage in the love you feel for each other.


  • DLS

    Why is anybody actually surprised by another example of the Double Standard?

  • fdlheb

    Letterman, you’ve got a kid too. You really want this kind of karma coming back at you? Expect it.

  • AustinRoth

    To all who have expressed your kind words toward my daughter and your condolences for her misfortune, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude. We may disagree on politics at times, but I think everyone here shares the concept of the importance of family.

    Luckily she is a emotionally strong young woman, and we are a very close-knit and loving family, so we know this will be dealt with successfully. She is already making new plans and goals, and refusing to wallow in any self-pity. We are here to support her in whatever direction she chooses.

  • Loltrolledbyletterman

    America – learn to take jokes. This is exactly why so many murders are committed in your country every year.

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