4 Presidents Say Goodbye To David Letterman & Remind Us Of Their Best Moments On The Show
David Letterman wrapped his 33-year run hosting the Late Show Wednesday, and the epic episode unsurprisingly began with a major bang. I mean, who else could have four of the five living U.S. presidents bid him farewell? George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — these four presidents said goodbye to David Letterman, but you'll never forget these great moments that came out of their appearances throughout the years.
For Letterman's final show, the episode began with a clip of former president Gerald Ford declaring at his 1974 inauguration speech, "Our long national nightmare is over," referring to the Watergate scandal that left the nation marred in scandal and disillusionment. The video segment then became a montage of H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama repeating Ford's words to joke about Letterman's retirement. The host pops in with Obama and sheepishly asks, "You're just kidding, right?" — to which the president nonchalantly shrugs.
The late night circuit has long been popular with presidents. Talk shows like Letterman's gave politicians the opportunity to reach Americans in a casual setting and show off their comedy chops as they pushed for new policy. These four presidents might have made it to the top echelons of American politics, but Letterman brought them comfortably into our living rooms.
George H.W. Bush & George W. Bush
George H.W. Bush is one of the idols for his son, George W. Bush, who provided such great Letterman moments, we had to let the junior take the reins on this one. Weeks from what would become the most contentious race in U.S. history, the younger Bush made a campaign stop on Letterman and riffed on the host's popular Top 10 list by reading off his own list called "The Top 10 Changes I'll Make In The White House." Bush Jr.'s agenda included a hilarious shout-out to his father, referencing an incident that involved Bush Sr., sushi, and the Japanese president.
Since he left the White House, Bill Clinton has been on the Late Show a number of times, often chatting with Letterman about serious policy changes such as climate change. With wife Hillary Clinton now vying for the presidency, Letterman had to ask Clinton, "What are the chances of you moving back to 1600 Pennsylvania?" To which, Clinton responded:
Clinton then wrapped with a wholehearted endorsement of Hillary, saying, "It'd be a good thing for America if she won. I hope she does."
Barack Obama was a frequent guest on Letterman — five times in total, three times while in office. In late 2009, as Obama began laying out the first plans for the Affordable Care Act, or what would eventually become better known as Obamacare, he was met with staunch opposition. Former president Jimmy Carter called out critics for what he saw as racist attitudes, but Obama decided to go the comedy route, using Letterman's platform to give this amazing answer.
Check out the presidential opening below. Thanks Dave!