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|September 17th 2001|
|The Late Show - September 17th Episode Transcript
THE SHOW OPENS WITH A SHOT OF THE EXTERIER OF THE ED SULLIVAN BUILDING AND IT SLOWLY MOVES
IN CLOSER WITH SMALL APPLAUSE COMING FROM THE AUDIENCE, THEN WE FADE TO THE INSIDE OF THE STUDIO WITH A VERY DEPRESSED LOOKING DAVID LETTERMAN SITTING AT HIS DESK.
LETTERMAN: Thankyou very much, welcome to the Late Show, this is our first show on the air since New York and Washington were attacked and I need to ask your patience and indulgence because I want to say a few things, and believe me sadly Iím not going to say anything new, and in the past week others have said what I will be saying here tonight far more eloquently than Iím equipped to do but if we are going to continue to do shows I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes and so thatís what Iím going to do here. Its terribly sad here in New York city weíve lost 5000 fellow New Yorkers
and you can feel it, you can feel it, you can see it, its terribly sad, terribly, terribly sad, and watching all of this I wasnít sure
that I should be doing a television show because for 20 years weíve been in the city making fun of everything, making fun of
the city, making fun of my hair, making fun of PaulÖwell.
So to come to this circumstance, this is so desperately sad I Ė and I donít trust my judgement in matters like this, but Iíll tell
you the reason that I am doing a show and the reason I am back to work is because of Mayor Giuliani, very early on after the attack, and how strange does it sound to invoke that phrase Ďafter the attackí Mayor Giuliani encouraged us and here lately implored us to go back to our lives, go on living, continue trying to make NYC the place that it should be, and because of
him Iím here tonight and I just want to say one other thing about Mayor Giuliani, as this began Ė and if you were like me and
in many respects, god I hope your not,
but in this one small measure if youíre like me and youíre watching and your confused and depressed and irritated and angry
and full of grief and you donít know how to behave and youíre not sure what to do, and you donít really Ė because weíve
never been through this before all you had to do at any moment was watch the Mayor, watch how this guy behaved, watch
how this guy conducted himself watch what this guy did listen to what this guy said, Rudolf Giuliani is the personification of courage.
And itís very simple their is only one requirement for any of us and that is to be courageous because courage as you might
know defines all other human behaviour and I believe because Iíve done a little of this myself pretending to be courageous is
just as good as the real thing, heís an amazing man and far better then we could have hoped for to run the city in the midst of
this obscene chaos and attack and also demonstrate human dignity my god who can do that, thatís a pretty short list.
The 20 years weíve been here in NYC weíve worked closely with Police Officers and Fire Fighters and Ė
and fortunately most of us donít really have to think to much about what these men and women do on a daily basis and the phrase ĎNew Yorks Finestí and ĎNew Yorks Bravestí you know, did it mean anything to us personally, first hand, well maybe, hopefully but probably not, but boy it means something now doesnít it, they put themselves in harms way to protect people
like us and the men and women from the fire fighters and the Police department who are lost are going to be missed by this
city for a very, very long time, and my hope for myself and everybody else not only in New York but everywhere is that we never ever take these people for granted absolutely never take them for granted.
I just want to go through this, and again forgive me if this is more for me than it is for people watching, Iím sorry but I just
I have to go through this, the reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead,
they werenít doing anything wrong, they were living there lives, they were going to work, they were travelling, they were
doing what they normally do, as I understand it and my understanding of this is vague at best, another smaller group of people stole some aeroplanes and crashed them into buildings, and weíre told they were zealots fuelled by religious fervour, religious fervour, and if you live to be a thousand years old will that make any sense to you, will that make any god damn sense.
(Dave takes a deep breath to prevent himself form crying)
Iíll tell ya about a thing that happened last night, thereís a town in Montana by the name of Shoto, its about 100 miles south of
the Canadian border and I know a little something about this town, its 1600 people, 1600 people and itís a Ė an ague business community which means farming and ranching and MontanaĎs been in the middle of a drought for, I donít know, three years
and if you got no rain you cant grow anything and if you cant grow anything you cant farm, if you cant grow anything you
cant ranch because the cattle donít have anything to eat and thatís the way life is in this small town 1600 people, last night at
the high school auditorium in Shoto Montana they had a rally Ė home of the Bulldogs by the way, they had a rally for NYC and not just a rally for NYC but a rally to raise money, to raise money for NYC and if that doesnít tell you everything you need to know about the spirit the United States then I cant help ya, (Dave tears up) Iím sorry.
And I have one more thing to say and then thank god Regis is here so we have something to make fun of.
If you didnít believe it before and its easy to understand how you might have been sceptical on this point if you didnít believe it before you can absolutely believe it now, NYC is the greatest city in the world.
Weíre going to Ė weíre gonna try and feel our way through this and weíll just see how it goes take it a day at a time, weíre
lucky enough tonight to have two fantastic representatives of this town, Dan Rather and Regis Philbin and weíll be right back.
(Return from commercials with Paul and the band playing music)
LETTERMAN: Thankyou Paul. Paul Shaffer ladies a gentleman.
Everybody all right?
SHAFFER: Everybodyís OK
LETTERMAN: All right, good. Our first guest of course is the anchor of the CBS evening news here he is Dan Rather, Dan
come on out.
(A teary eyed Dan Rather comes out, shakes Daveís hand, whispers in his ear and sits down)
LETTERMAN: How are ya Dan?
RATHER: Well itís not our best time David.
LETTERMAN: No, what Ė do we know anything new anything that Iím not aware of anything you have heard in the last
8, 10, 12 hours that --
RATHER: Well some very interesting things happened this afternoon, President Bush made, what I think is his strongest statement yet, when he went to the Pentagon this afternoon, he was Giuliani -esque, I donít think he would mind my saying
No he looked the camera straight in the eye unblinking and said Osama: dead or alive.
(Dan holds back his tears)
LETTERMAN: Now --
RATHER: And he also underscored David, which I think is very important to understand, two things, and the President made
this extremely clear, one: this is for the long haul, wars are won by, in no particular order, fire power, willpower and staying power, and what President Bush was talking about today, I donít think he could have made it any clearer, that we have the fire power, weíve mustered the willpower and unlike the Gulf War we will have the staying power, thatís the message you
got out of that.
LETTERMAN: What do you -- how do you answer the question of why didnít it happen already, why hasnít there been some kind of a strike now everybody was hoping maybe not everybody maybe Iím speaking for myself thinking, perhaps you know Saturday lets do it Saturday why not Saturday we got a weekend, lets go lets do it Saturday are we Ė is that a mistake to be to eager can you make a mistake by being to eager?
RATHER: David I think weíve talked about this before, as a one time private in the US marine core with perhaps the least distinguished record in the whole history of the core I never know what to say about strategy. I donít mean to make light of it,
I donít know the answer to that, I think the answer is one: when we strike the President wants to make sure itís an effective strike and with what weíre dealing with here which is not one man itís a hydro headed operation thatís in 55 countries around
the world. Now granted the focus is on and we should understand not just Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Seria, and Libia now the first strike needs to be a very effective strike, now that to answer your question, one: they want to make
sure the first strike actually accomplishes something and then secondly, Colin Powell whoís not to be under-estimated in this because Colin Powell is from that school of military thought that says you donít move until you first have your defensive
order of battle in place, that is, lets get our stuff in this country all squared away and then you donít move until you got your offensive order of battle into position where you can move with over whelming force, there are other schools of thought,
Gorilla Warfare, Flanking Operation, thatís Colin Powell, Colin Powell is lets donít make the mistake we made in Vietnam
if weíre gonna go lets really go with force so I think thatís the answer we havenít struck, now its certainly true that even in Afghanistan which is a terribly impoverished nation, and its, you know, itís people, itís Ė they -- most of them are as fearful
of the Taliban as you are, but in Afghanistan Ė
LETTERMAN: How long were you in Afghanistan?
RATHER: Well I was there in the 1980ís, a couple of times and we walked in and walked out, once for I think 18 days, Iím
not an expert on Afghanistan but no one should be mistaken to put even a small number of Ground Troops in Afghanistan is extremely, extremely dangerous but they could have, yeah, they could have Tuesday night they could have knocked out Ė they could turn out the lights all over Afghanistan they could have turned off all communication why they didnít do that weíll
have to see later but I couldnít feel stronger David that this is a time for us, and Iím not preaching about it, George Bush is the President he makes the decisions and you know as just one American, wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where, and heíll make the call, I do think that weíll see something reasonably strong Ė soon and strong because President Bush and those around him know that America seethes and there are an awful lot of people asked him the question you did, what are we
waiting on lets get em.
LETTERMAN: You mentioned thatómulti headed, multi armed, whatever in 55 countries, you said how many people does that represent, how may people make up our enemy now? What are we talking about?
RATHER: No one knows, no one knows, they specialize in so called sleeper agents, people come into a country or perhaps
reared in the country and their whole idea is to just seem like everybody else maybe be there for a year or two or longer until
you get the call or until you move on your own, this is as President Bush has described the first was of the 21st century itís a twilight war itís a war to be fought in the shadows and Secretary of Defence Don Rumsfeld has been underscoring that we Americans raised on, you know, movies of World War II and the television of the Vietnam era and the great triumph that was
the Gulf War although we didnít have the staying power to finish and get rid of Saddam Hussein this is different this is not the kind of war weíve ever fought before and we need to think of it that way because this is in the shadows.
LETTERMAN: But what does that mean? And Iíll tell ya I think I speak for other people when I say the Gulf War and you described as a great triumph but then you qualify it and I think thatís why people are sceptical can we expect another Gulf
War where you know a day or two later everything over there is fine Ė
LETTERMAN: And back to normal or will this produce lasting and satisfying results?
RATHER: I donít know the answer to the last question but it will be different in this regard this will be long the casualties will
be greater, lets face it weíve already had more causalities, I mean 5000 of our fellow Americans have been killed already, when you talk about casualties weíve suffered casualties, but there will be more when we send our sons and daughters into this
kind of war, into this twilight zone that theyíre going, theyíll be great casualties now it remains to be seen whether we have
the staying power thatís basically up to you and me and everybody in the audience and every American whether we have the staying power whether we have the will --
(Dan holds back his tears)
to stay with it, is the big question, but you say you know will it do anything I certainly think it can but what would we think of ourselves if we didnít try.
LETTERMAN: Well thatís the point will it do anything and do we have the determination to make sure it does something I
guess thatís what youíre talking about.
RATHER: I think everybody in the United States do.
LETTERMAN: Because everybody second-guessed the commitment in the Gulf War and then we went back again and had another little mop up operation but nothing really substantively has changed there has it?
RATHER: Look, no, but thereís no question we made a big mistake as a people, as a nation, as a society we now know it, another few hours and Saddam Hussein might very well have gone to Yemen or the Sudan but the decision was made to stop
it, we all know now it was made to stop it to soon but thatís in the past, this is going to be, this is going to be much longer this will take years this may very well take another 4, 8, 10 years and Americans are noted the world around for having great
courage, having a great military but the worlds view of us in many places with many people is we just donít have the
stomach to stick anything out and they say well, Ďyou were great during World War II, yeah but this is a new generation
theyíre all spoiltí --
LETTERMAN: It better change, it better change --
RATHER: So where now going -- where now being put to the test, but Iíll tell you this, if they could go down to Ground
Zero here in lower Manhattan and you referred to it earlier and see the following, see those fireman
(Dan starts crying, and grabs Daveís hand)
Take us for a break will you.
LETTERMAN: Ok Iíll tell you whatÖ. umm
RATHER: Well, I can finish it.
LETTERMAN: No, No, No, No, Dan take care of yourself weíll be right back here with Dan Rather.
(Return from commercials with Paul and the band playing music)
LETTERMAN: OK Dan Rather is here, I was talking earlier, these are questions from a dumb guy so help me out, zealots, motivated by religious fervour is -- am I accurate to think that and is it possible to reconcile? But is that what weíre dealing
with and if so what are the events really, that have pissed this guy off. What did we do here?
RATHER: First of all David I wanted to apologize, you know Iím a pro and I get paid not to let it show and Iím sorry about
that now in answer to your question, again this is so important to understand, no I donít think this is about religious fervour, because this has nothing to do with Islam this is not Islam. Osama Bin Laden Ė
LETTERMAN: What the hell are they up to then?
RATHER: Well, they hate America, they hate us, it isnít that they Ė this is one thing that makes this war different they donít
want territory, they donít want what we got, they want to kill us and destroy us, itís a, you know, itís a heavy statement
but itís true, they seek to accomplish our death, our death as a people, as a society and a culture.
LETTERMAN: But why, why, what, what, why?
RATHER: Well Ė
LETTERMAN: They donít get cable? Whatís the problem?
RATHER: They donít get cable, no, who can explain madman, and who can explain evil. They, they see themselves as the
worlds losers, they would never admit that, they see us, we have everything, we win everything, this is there view of things,
they see themselves as, you know, we should be a great people but weíre not, and it drives them batty thatís the only
LETTERMAN: And that really is it, thatís why we have 5000 people dead in this city Ė
RATHER: We have 5000 Ė
LETTERMAN: Envy its just envy, jealousy, bitterness?
RATHER: Deep abiding hate, which Ė its very difficult for anyone in western civilisation much less our United States of
America to understand this kind of hate, you have to see it first hand, you have to of been among it to understand itís, it Ė
thereís no rationality to it by our standards, thereís no trying to explain it, but I keep coming back to the point, David itís a mistake to believe this has anything to do with the Islamic religion these are crazy people, they are haters, they hate us for
who and what we are, they donít want anything except to see us dead and see us destroyed
LETTERMAN: Yeah I- I -I mean Iím listening to what youíre saying, but do you know anybody alive today who is capable
of that. I mean itís so aberrant and so far a field of what we regard as the human experience, how can it exist at a level large enough to be of any consequence for Gods sake?
RATHER: I donít have the answer to that question, I come back to, some evil is just -- it canít be explained.
LETTERMAN: Are these people happy are they joyous --
RATHER: No --
LETTERMAN: Are they celebrating, Ďthank Godí
RATHER: Oh absolutely, theyíre celebrating, thereís one report, this has not been confirmed, but there are several reliable
reports there was a cell, one of these cells across the Hudson River, and they got on -- this is the report and I emphasize I
donít know this for a fact but thereís several witnesses who say this happened, they got on the roof of the building to look across, they knew what was going to happen, they were waiting for it to happen, and when it happened they celebrated they jumped for joy to see this happen, it was a great triumph, its inconceivable to me and to you, but David this is what we have to understand as a country, weíre not dealing with the kind of thing we dealt with in any war weíve ever fought before, because weíve never dealt with these kind of hateful to the core evil people.
LETTERMAN: Have, have, have Ė has Ė is -- did this country years ago or currently make some kind of mistake that made us more vulnerable then we knew, has there any kind of Ė I think about the FBI its run like a high school Volleyball team,
(Small laughter from the audience)
I think about the CIA, you know, they canít even find the drinking fountain, have we made mistakes that we should not have made?
RATHER: Absolutely and youíve touch on some, look we spend in excess of 25 billion dollars a year for alleged, supposed intelligence, thereís been virtually no accountability for one intelligence failure after another, sure everybody has excuses,
well we werenít aloud to do this or that, itís a total abject failure in this case and one Ė you mentioned Mayor Giuliani, one of
the things that made the Giuliani administration go is accountability, the Mayerís bit was, Iím going to give you responsibility
but youíve got accountability, now the FBI and the CIA, nobody wants to talk about this but law enforcement people know it, they barely talk to one another, the CIA keeps things from the FBI the FBI keeps things from the CIA, no doubt they will deny this after this is over but everybody in law enforcement knows this, and thereís kind of a keystone cops aspect to this which
has Ė mistakes weíve made Ė and I mentioned before, look we ended the Gulf War probably 24 hours to soon, we now know that Saddam Hussein, we mentioned Ė you know Ė if he isnít connected to this, heís connected to any other things heís part
of this hate America thing, you have to understand Saddam Hussein is somebody I have sat this close, eye to eye, when heís
feet hit the floor every morning he dreams of leading a victorious Arab army into Jerusalem, and he sees himself as the new Soladine an his hate is deep for us, I donít even like to use the word hate, but you know this is what weíre dealing with and
we have to wake up, itís a new, itís a new place now, and weíre headed to a new place David, TIME Magazine had a
wonderful essay this week and it said you know, weíre going now to a new place, where even the songs we sing will have a completely different meaning, example, you know, America the Beautiful, who can sing now with the same meaning we had before of one stanza of that, that goes ĎO beautiful for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years, thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tearsí
(Dan starts crying)
(Dave puts his hand on Danís arm)
RATHER: (Crying) We can never sing that songÖ.. againÖ.. that wayÖ...ÖÖÖ. David youíve been terrific to have me on here tonight Iím so sorry for this.
LETTERMAN: Youíre fine
RATHER: The hour grows late.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah, youíre fine you know youíre a professional but good Christ youíre a human being.
RATHER: ThankyouÖÖÖ..thankyou very much.
LETTERMAN: Now, the other day Dick Cheney who to me seemed like the real deal. Dick Cheney was talking about how counter intelligence and espionage is dirty business and maybe now we were going to have to get down in the mud with these people, and I thought holy God isnít Ė wasnít that the way it was supposed to be, why arenít we down there with the bad
guys, you know why donít Ė and he said now OK all that Ė the rules are different now we are, well you donít Ė you only
know what the bad guys are up to if youíre pretending to be a bad guy yourself.
RATHER: Well two points Ė
LETTERMAN: Did that make any sense to you Dan?
RATHER: It does, two things, number one, when did we get our first clue that dealing with these people is a dirty business,
but if we behave the way they do then weíve lost, weíve lost completely, but look if youíre in a street fight you know its different then if youíre in the golden gloves, in the golden gloves you got a referee you got bell sounds and things and rules
this is an alley fight, this is a street fight, it doesnít mean we have to fight completely dirty all the time, but it also means that
we canít behave as choir boys, and Ė you know you mentioned Vice President Cheney, and, you know, President Bush has around him some very experienced people, Donald Rumsfeld, Defence, Dick Cheney, Vice president, Colin Powell, Secretary
of State, and Time magazine had a cover a few weeks ago, you know, Ďwhere are you Colin Powell?í well we now see him
front and centre, and heís, heís rising in influence because he has battlefield experience in Vietnam, he helped carry us to the victory we had which was incomplete but none less had in the Gulf War, and you talked earlier about well lets do something
and when I talk to people this is the string that runs through everybody is, lets do something, but thereís a saying in the far
east revenge is best served cold, which is to say wait your time, take your time, its also, Roger Kipling, wrote that the law
of the jungle is you never lose your temper, well weíre past that weíve lost our temper and you know, -- its shown so clearly here tonight but I think thereís a rage within all of us, that has to be sort of tempered while we take care of business
LETTERMAN: I asked you earlier if any of these people that were responsible or connected to the responsible parties might be celebrating, are any of them nervous, is bin Laden, if this is the guy, is he nervous now, or are these guys just oblivious to that?
RATHER: I have no way Ė
LETTERMAN: Do they invite that? Do they want it, do they want to be killed in this cause?
RATHER: Some of them do as was evident aboard these aircrafts, but there basic attitude seems to be, OK big guy come and
RATHER: Come and get us.
RATHER: And there looking to entrap us, in some ways thatís the reason this business of waiting a bit, patience, get our
stuff in order may turn out to be very prudent.
LETTERMAN: And with that in mind, can you give us an estimation of when we might see something, I mean I know
there are signs of fuel being moved, reserves being called up, and so forth, is there a best guess when it might happen
something might happen?
RATHER: I wouldnít give you a best guess if I had one to tell you the truth, but Ė cause I feel so strongly about this, let
them do their work, but Iím a little nervous being here because I think a strike could come at any second.
LETTERMAN: Is that right?
RATHER: I think we will see something --
RATHER: But again it isnít going to be one strike and thatís it, well OK, but Iíd be surprised is we donít see something very soon, and if the Osama bin Ladenís of the world arenít nervous, they soon will be, because we do have with not just our
military we have other resources we do have a terrible swift sword and itíll be striking fairly soon.
LETTERMAN: Alright Listen Dan thankyou very much I know you have to get back to running CBS news.
Itís been a pleasure to have you here, God bless you, keep up the good work, Dan Rather, Weíll be right back with Regis
RATHER: Thankyou, thankyou, very much.
(Return from commercials with Paul and the band playing music)
LETTERMAN: Alright now comes the hard part. Our next guest is a good friend of ours, ladies and gentleman here he is
(Regis Philbin comes out shakes Daveís hand and sits down)
PHILBIN: Wow what a show you got tonight, itís a tough seat here.
LETTERMAN: What do you want?
PHILBIN: You know I was booked six weeks ago, but every time I come here lately thereís another crises.
LETTERMAN: I know and I wanna Ė
PHILBIN: Big mans going to the hospital, big mans getting out of the hospital, and now this.
every time I sit here thereís, you know, some catastrophe.
LETTERMAN: But God bless you for sticking in here and showing up tonight, because a lot of people would of thought well maybe itís not appropriate and I know you rise to any occasion and I was very happy and very proud of you for being here.
PHILBIN: What do you mean not appropriate?
LETTERMAN: A lot of people would have just thought, well maybe Iíll just stay at home, I wasnít certain that it was
appropriate to be back on the air either.
PHILBIN: No, well we talked about that just briefly today and I think it is time for you to come back, I think the American
people want to see you again.
LETTERMAN: Oh sure.
PHILBIN: Weíre not going to do the same kind of a show. But they gotta see you Dave, gotta see ya.
LETTERMAN: You think Kathy Lee will come back?
(Audience and Regis laugh)
PHILBIN: Now there is somebody that could end this in a hurry.
LETTERMAN: I know, I know.
PHILBIN: You think Iím kidding? You want a quick end to this? Send Kathy Lee over there!
LETTERMAN: You were on the air I guess a week ago Tuesday right?
PHILBIN: Yeah, I was going to ask you Ė you were dark last week right werenít ya?
LETTERMAN: Thatís right, I was out of town.
PHILBIN: You were out of town. Did you see it on TV as it was happening?
LETTERMAN: Thatís all you did see on TV for gods sake.
PHILBIN: Yeah, but I was there sitting in the makeup chair waiting to go on our 9 oíclock show Ė
LETTERMAN: Wait a minute, you wear makeup?
PHILBIN: Yeah. Not tonight.
But anyway there was that horrible sight and I knew right away it was foul play, I mean what else could it be and then on
the show we had Ė you know we were playing it, and watching the Twin Towers and the second plane went in and then eventually the network took over and itís been on ever since.
LETTERMAN: Did you watch Peter Jennings on ABC, did you get a chance to see Tom on NBC, and Dan on CBS, did you
get a chance to see these guys?
PHILBIN: Absolutely, I thought they were fabulous.
LETTERMAN: Just unbelievable, how can they do that for Gods sake?
PHILBIN: I donít know, they just sit there and -- unruffled and go and go and go.
LETTERMAN: I know.
PHILBIN: Yet it was something to see Dan Rather here well up with tears twice.
LETTERMAN: Well, but I mean, you know it would be surprising if sooner or later it didnít happen to somebody, how can anything else happen? How can it not happen?
LETTERMAN: You know what I mean itís just Ė
PHILBIN: You know, I was down on the lines, just two hours ago, I went down to see for myself what was going on.
PHILBIN: It is really some scene, you know, weíre seeing it on television, weíre seeing it in the papers but until you go down there, and we could only stay a few blocks away but there is that enormous cloud of smoke still there almost a week later, and
all that, that wreckage is still there and men are going in, 1500 guys are digging away, and the next batch go in, itís really unbelievable.
LETTERMAN: Itís amazing because could there be something bigger to live through then this, I donít think so.
LETTERMAN: I donít think so, but yet the human spirit is so resilient, god bless us, we will live through it.
PHILBIN: Oh absolutely.
LETTERMAN: You know Ė
PHILBIN: Oh sure.
LETTERMAN: But its just Ė how Ė what Ė does it seem real at all, you look at these pictures Ė I was looking in the Times
today and its no Ė how Ė but yet youíve seen it and seen it and seen it and still donít believe it.
PHILBIN: Yeah, well youíre absolutely right and to go down there and talk to those men and to spend just a few minutes with them, you realise the guts and the character and the courage that they have, and thatís is whatís going to get us through this.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah.
PHILBIN: Yeah the spirit is great and Iím happy to hear what you said about Mayor Giuliani he comes out of this thing Ė
LETTERMAN: Iím not wrong about that am I?
PHILBIN: Oh heís a giant.
LETTERMAN: Heís the best.
PHILBIN: He is a giant.
In fact, I think I read in the paper today that the President was so impressed with him on Friday that heíd like him to join the administration in some capacity when he has to leave, and incidentally Dave he was down at the stock market today, down at
the commodity exchange, and there was a chant that went up Ď4 more yearsí Ď4 more yearsí you know. Youíd hate to see him go.
LETTERMAN: I donít know if Ė one of the guys who Ė this has perhaps been pointed out before, itís the first Iíd heard it,
one of the guys who works here Bill Sheft was saying obviously that if he had been able to run for Senate, he might have won, and we would have had a different guy as the Mayor and we wouldnít of had this greatness for us now.
PHILBIN: Thatís right, thatís right, heís really stepped up to the plate. And he has such authority and such command and
seems to make the right decisions.
LETTERMAN: But what great dignity I mean you learn so much from just watching how this guy carries himself Ė
PHILBIN: And there he was best man at somebodyís wedding yesterday.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
PHILBIN: So how are you holding up?
LETTERMAN: Well Iím, Iím Ė you know itís just, its crazy, because I just didnít know if we should be on the air, and Iím repeating myself but it was because of the Mayor, and I just felt like to do anything but come back and do the show would
not be in the sprit of re-building this city, and I know Iím fooling myself because itís a meagre effort we have here, you
know the people who are really re-building the spirit of this city are right now digging through the rubble of this city, and
those are the people who are re-building this city.
PHILBIN: And the way the rest of the nation has rallied around New York, theyíve asked people no more donations, they just canít handle it anymore, and rather it go to waste send it to a charity but there stacked up all along West Side drive little tents with provisions under it there. So Ė
LETTERMAN: How Ė
PHILBIN: It was quite a scene.
LETTERMAN: How did you first meet Joey Bishop (Regisís wife)?
(Audience & Dave laugh)
PHILBIN: You know Ė
LETTERMAN: (Laughing) Iím sorry.
PHILBIN: You know, donít you people understand that Dan Rather just cried in this seat a few minutes ago.
LETTERMAN: I know.
PHILBIN: He broke down!
LETTERMAN: He was -- it was Ė
PHILBIN: And you are making Ė
LETTERMAN: No, no.
PHILBIN: No, Iíll tell ya what happened.
It was a long time ago.
LETTERMAN: Now, now, you, and I donít mean to be silly about this but you experienced Pearl Harbour, I think, right?
PHILBIN: Well I wasnít there,
I wasnít there if thatís what you were asking.
LETTERMAN: You were on the air then too werenít you?
PHILBIN: No I wasnít on the air.
LETTERMAN: Sorry I thought maybe you were.
PHILBIN: You know, but that is another thing that youíll always remember where you were when it happened, I was a little
boy growing up in the Bronx, it was I think early Sunday afternoon, crisp day in December and I was sitting in a chair in the living room on my Ė in my house, my house on Kruger Avenue, and my father was laying down on the on the couch and I believe the Giants were playing the Brooklyn Dodgers who had a pro football team at that time, half time, bang, in comes this bulletin, ĎPearl Harbour has been attackedí and my father who was an ex-marine leaped off the couch and he was ready to go right then, and Iíd never heard of Pearl Harbour and thatís Ė Iíll always remember that and Iíll always remember sitting in that makeup chair watching that plane go in Ė
LETTERMAN: Do you remember anything about FDR, his presence, what he had to say, how that was handled?
PHILBIN: Well I remember his voice, you know it was all radio in those days.
PHILBIN: And he had quite a -- somewhat a theatrical voice, you know that it was a voice that you paid attention to.
PHILBIN: And gained confidence in.
PHILBIN: And it was the right voice for the right time, and he was terribly strong and yeah, I mean youíd listen to that voice
and youíd say we canít lose.
PHILBIN: Weíre not going to lose this.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Weíll be right back here with Mr. Philbin.
(Return from commercials with Paul and the band playing music)
LETTERMAN: Thankyou very much guys, Felicia, now I didnít realise this, tell me, tell the folks what you were about to tell
me during the break.
PHILBIN: Well, itís interesting that my son works at the Pentagon.
LETTERMAN: I had no idea.
PHILBIN: Yeah and Ė so he was there and after these planes collided, after my show, he called me up and we were talking
about what had happened, and he said you know thereís some noise in the building here, and people are, are beginning to run thereís some shouting, and of course he didnít know it at the time because he was on the other side of where that plane hit the Pentagon, and so he said I have to leave now and he left, and heís in a wheel chair so I worried about him because, you know, but fortunately heís office is on the other side of where the plane hit and he had managed to get out but still it was a harrowing experience.
LETTERMAN: Are they Ė is he back at work, I mean what is life like down there for him?
PHILBIN: Yeah he came back to work, he is out right now though he had a little kidney infection so heís out for a day or
two, but he canít wait to get back and spirit is very high, theyíre very determined that this is going to end the way they want it
LETTERMAN: Now you were not on the air this morning, you were planning on coming back on the air this morning?
PHILBIN: Iím coming back tomorrow, could you do my show tomorrow?
(Audience chuckles then applauds)
LETTERMAN: I, a Ė
PHILBIN: All the times all the times Iíve been here to save the big man!
When the big man called who was on the front line with him standing right here?
PHILBIN: No, Iím Ė
LETTERMAN: I, a Ė
PHILBIN: No, no, no, Iím kidding, heís got a different show, he Ė
LETTERMAN: I was kinda hoping to sleep in.
PHILBIN: But I wanna tell you one thing that Iíve learned from this, that life is very unpredictable, and can be extremely short and cut short cruelly, so I implore you again, canít we have dinner together?
LETTERMAN: Iíll have to call you.
PHILBIN: And Iíll tell you what, weíll take Dan Rather out,
LETTERMAN: But you know, that Ė you bring --
PHILBIN: And cheer him up!
LETTERMAN: Anyway Ė
PHILBIN: Come on big man lets have dinner together!
LETTERMAN: All right Iíll have dinner with you. Now, um
PHILBIN: Because one day I may not be here to save you.
LETTERMAN: Yeah I know, and by the way youíve just been great, and selfless, and again thankyou.
PHILBIN: No, but I love you big man you know that, I really do.
LETTERMAN: Well I Ė I love you.
PHILBIN: And I admire the show you have, and everything, and the other night Ė
LETTERMAN: You like the camera angles on this show.
(Dave & the audience laugh)
PHILBIN: You know I said that once about ten years ago.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, he calls me up and he said Ďyou got the best show on televisioní and I thought wow, coming from Regis Philbin this is going to be Ė and I said really and he says Ďyeah some of those camera anglesí.
PHILBIN: I want you to know (Regis turns his head and looks into another camera) something
(Audience & Dave laugh)
That I said this, youíre right, I said it 10 years ago, but I happen to appreciate camera angles,
no I happen to appreciate a job well done. And part of the magic of this whole business, are the camera, the camera work and
the guys who run them, and the director who calls the shots Ė
LETTERMAN: By the Ė
PHILBIN: The other night, can I just say this?
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
PHILBIN: You had some Marines running down Broadway Ė
LETTERMAN: Oh, that was fantastic
PHILBIN: It was fantastic.
LETTERMAN: It was great Ė
PHILBIN: And I called up your director Ė
LETTERMAN: It was great, he did a great job.
PHILBIN: And I called up your director, Jerry Foley, and I commended him.
LETTERMAN: I want to mention something right here, the crew, the camera crew, our technical crew, recently, like a week ago, won Emmyís for their work on our show.
PHILBIN: Is that right, Iíll applaud that.
(Regis, Dave & the audience applaud)
Well, you see, Iím glad to hear that, thatís good, you see I may not know much but I do know camera angles.
LETTERMAN: Yes you certainly do, and they did a fantastic job when we had the Marines here and Ė
PHILBIN: Oh it was great Dave, it was great.
LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah it was nice.
PHILBIN: You donít see that anymore. What Iím happy about in all of this, if thereís anything to be happy about, is the re-emergence of the American spirit, you know in this city with so many nationalities you see everybody elseís flag flying and I,
and Iíve always said to myself Ďhappy to see those people are so spiritedí well for a change hereís our flag flying.
LETTERMAN: But you want to see it make a difference that lasts.
PHILBIN: Of course, of course.
LETTERMAN: You donít want it to be a week, or a month.
PHILBIN: Nope, gotta go all the way, and I think Bush knows that this time.
LETTERMAN: Are you Ė
PHILBIN: And I think heís going to do it.
LETTERMAN: Are you done with your Ė I know during the summer you travel with your little nightclub show, do you still do that?
(Dave & the audience laugh)
(Regis looks down and takes a sip from of his coffee)
PHILBIN: You know, youíve never seen my nightclub act have you?
LETTERMAN: No I have not, no.
PHILBIN: Iím gonna be up at Foxwoods in November.
LETTERMAN: But is Ė itís just like Danny Boy, like, for hours?
PHILBIN: No, that, thatís Ė Don Rickles fishes Ė
LETTERMAN: You donít do Danny Boy anymore?
PHILBIN: (LAUGHING) No, Don Rickles says Ďdid your mother come from Ireland and Danny Boy?í
No I donít do that, no.
LETTERMAN: Well thatís a pretty good show right there.
PHILBIN: You bet it is.
PHILBIN: Wouldnít be bad at all.
LETTERMAN: Regis, thankyou very much and God bless you.
PHILBIN: Dave, thankyou, good to have you back on the air.
LETTERMAN: Weíll be back.
PHILBIN: The big man is back! Bye-bye.
(Return from commercials with Paul and the band playing music)
(Regis is still out there with Dave)
LETTERMAN: Thankyou again Regis.
PHILBIN: You bet Dave.
LETTERMAN: Weíll see you tomorrow night and I can tell you this so far, we have no one booked for tomorrow night.
Thanks for watching.
PHILBIN: I canít be here every night! I canít be here every night!
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