‘We have 49 awesome states and Delaware’

DOVER — Back in 2005, David Letterman was reading one of his Top 10 lists.

The topic: “Questions George W. Bush Asked His Homeland Security Nominee.”

“No. 5,” he read, “Be honest — would you really spend any time keeping Delaware safe?”

Every now and then Delaware got a mention on the show, usually the butt of a joke.

From the Editor logo copy copyAs Mr. Letterman enters his final week with the “Late Show”, it has been fun to reminisce about some off the other Delaware digs over the years.

In a 1999 Top 10, he rattled off questions on the U.S. Citizenship Exam. No. 8: “If all the good states are full, would you be willing to live in Delaware?”

The following year, he featured “Top Ten Signs President Clinton is Bored.” No. 4: “To stir up controversy, gave Delaware to the Dutch.”

In 2003, he had the U.S. Army 622nd Movement Control Team from Fort Eustis, Va., read “Top Ten Reasons I Am Proud To Be An American.” No. 9:

“We have 49 awesome states … and Delaware.”


Thanks to Joe Biden, the Delaware pokes were renewed in 2008 when our state’s senior senator became the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.

“In honor of Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden,” Mr. Letterman said as he introduced a video, “we have another installment of ‘Get to Know Delaware.’

The announcer’s narration: “Historic tourist attractions such as Independence Hall and the Franklin Institute, and breathtaking natural attractions such as the Allegheny National Forest can be found in Pennsylvania, which is right next to Delaware. This has been ‘Get to Know Delaware.’”

The next night, the narrator read, “In 1894, the Battle of Newcastle ended after General Thaddeus Rutland signed the Treaty of Edgemoor in Delaware. I just made that up, because I don’t know the first thing about Delaware. This has been ‘Get to Know Delaware.’”

And, finally, on the third night, the segment concluded with another video and voice-over:

“I’ve got nothin’ … This has been ‘Get to Know Delaware.’”

Mr. Letterman made sport of Delaware Republican Christine O’Donnell during her run for U.S. Senate in 2010. During his monologue, he noted talk of the recession ending.

“It’s because of Christine O’Donnell,” Mr. Letterman cracked. “One day Delaware elects a witch, the next day the recession is over? I don’t know … Is that a coincidence?”


In 2012, Vice President Biden was called upon to read the “Top 10 Good Things about Voting Early”:

10. I’m not saying each early voter gets a free cheeseburger, but I’m not saying they don’t either.

9. It’s vastly more effective than voting late.

8. You know who votes early? People with a backbone like a ramrod.

7. In a less crowded polling center, there’s plenty of room to stretch out, linger and relax.

6. If you vote early, you don’t have to pay taxes. “I’m sorry,” said Biden. “I’m being told that’s not accurate.”

5. Single and looking to mingle? Find that special someone in the early voting line.

4. Of course, there’s the open bar.

3. Not exercising your right to vote is malarkey — it’s literally malarkey.

2. Early votes will receive a $5 million donation from Donald Trump.

1. Honestly, don’t you want this election over already?


Downstate Delaware had its moment in the Late Show spotlight in 1995 when punkin’ chunkers were invited to Manhattan.

John Ellsworth and members of his “Under Pressure” teammates were challenged to fire a pumpkin from an air-powered catapult 200 feet down 53rd Street into the open trunk of a cab.

“I’m sorry we didn’t hit the trunk,” said Mr. Ellsworth after 14 tries. ‘’We hit all around it.”

One did strike the hood of the cab.

Mr. Letterman never acknowledged Mr. Ellsworth or the Delaware chunkers during the show.

That led to a midfield target with Mr. Letterman’s face on it once the actual Punkin’ Chunk event took place a few days later.


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