After getting snubbed once and making a mockery of Sen. John McCain for it, David Letterman wasn’t going to back down last night in the slightest when the Republican presidential nominee showed up to try to make amends on The Late Show with David Letterman. No, no. Instead, Letterman came out swinging right from the first monologue joke, implying that all of the audience members in the balcony were Alaska state troopers fired by Gov. Sarah Palin. Letterman displayed a map to show how many times McCain’s "Straight Talk Express" passed by the studio in the day after claiming he couldn’t make it to the show.

And when McCain did emerge 22 minutes into the program, Letterman had plenty of tough, serious questions for him. McCain tried to joke his way through much of it, initially bracing himself for Letterman, rolling his eyes, mugging for the camera. McCain apologized by saying, "I screwed up," but joked about not having this much fun since he was a Vietnam War POW, and said the only person who should pay higher taxes was Letterman. In all, McCain appeared for three segments over 26 minutes. CBS has put together a highlight reel of 4:42 of the conversation.

Letterman tried to steer clear of jokes in asking about getting Osama bin Laden, negative campaign tactics, and spent several minutes questioning the vice presidential selection of Palin. "At 61, I’ve never seen the country in this big a mess," Letterman said. He questioned whether Palin was ready to lead the nation out of crises, acutely asked if McCain would have picked Palin had she been a he, and put the whole Ayers accusation in perspective by asking McCain about his relationship with Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy. Zing! McCain said he’d come back to the show if he becomes president and assured Dave he’d get Palin to come on, too (but not before the election). All in all, Letterman made the most of this opportunity. Jon Stewart would not have had the time nor the audience. And do you honestly think Jay Leno would ask such hard-hitting questions?