Letterman Gets Rumsfeld

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Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will make his first appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman Sept. 6, according to the program.

The show bills Rumsfeld as having "led the Defense Department in its efforts in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and in its military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq."

It also points out that he is a former Navy pilot, congressma, and NATO ambassador.

Executive Producer Rob Burnett said that the booking came after "a couple of solid years of begging."
We sent "guys in dog costumes to go to his house and try to make friends with his pet," jokes Burnett.

Letterman plays his show politics down the middle, says Burnett. "We never have a political agenda," he says, though they routinely seek out pols, including those in cabinet level positions, though he said that once you get down to the Department of the Interior, "probably not."

To date, Burnett says, Letterman's best political guests have been Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. Dole appeared three days after he lost the 1996 election, whcih many who saw that show thought he might have won if he had only showed his relaxed and funny side a little earlier.

Rumsfeld, whose relaxed and funny side are argubly yet to be explored, will share the stage only with musical guest Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.

Letterman tends to give high-profile political guests essentially the whole show, knowing he will run long, says Burnett.

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