White House Spins The Boy Who Yawned
Turns out Tyler may have been destined to become a late-night TV star, but he wasn't supposed to be standing right behind the president.
Crotty says he and Tyler were seated a dozen or so seats from the podium. But when event organizers discovered two no-shows in the row right behind Bush, the local party chairman took Tyler and they sat in the empty seats, Crotty said.
"They saw a cherubic-faced kid," Maxwell said.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Dickens said the family has been swamped with requests to interview Tyler, but as of late yesterday, the plan was to do only Letterman's show.
Meanwhile, CNN apologized on the air to Letterman yesterday for having reported Tuesday that the White House said his videotape had been altered to put the boy right behind Bush.
That honor fell to Daryn Kagan, who first reported on CNN that the White House was calling the tape a fake; Kyra Phillips said something to the same effect later, only she said "We're told that" without citing any source. CNN retracted that report Tuesday night, but only after Letterman had shown the clip of Kagan telling viewers that the White House said the tape was doctored, and only after Letterman had called the White House a bunch of liars. Twice.
"It turns out, due to what we might say a misunderstanding among the folks who are usually so fantastic behind me here in the newsroom, it turns out that was not true," Kagan said yesterday. "The White House, it turns out, I guess never did call us about the tape. . . . And we've been looking through our tapes and apparently we now see no evidence that it was faked.
"So Dave, we apologize for the error. I hope that makes things good with us. If you need me to come up and do a stupid human trick or a stupid pet trick, I have that, too. But hopefully we're just okay. We apologize."
Last night, Letterman called it "a landmark day, because for the first time in 25 years of network television broadcasting, the first time ever since I've been doing this, someone has apologized to me."
Crotty senior, who says he got a big laugh out of the videotape, expects it to show up again when his son decides to get married and has his bachelor party.
Dickens says the Bush campaign was tickled about the whole thing: "We think it's all in good nature, very good-humored."
Letterman's not so sure.
"This whole thing just smells. Doesn't it smell a little bit?" Letterman asked his audience last night.
"I mean, it just seems all just a little too tidy, just a little too neat. And now, the guy, the kid in Florida -- and his old man -- was really upset in the beginning. . . . Well, now everybody down there loves it. Everybody couldn't be happier; everybody thought it was hilarious. So you see, it's just a little too tidy. Stuff like this never ends happily, certainly not happily for me. I was waiting for the lawsuit, I was waiting to be arrested, I was waiting to be beaten to a pulp, and now, oh . . . we couldn't be happier."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company