UPDATE: Whilst Cameron might be used to getting grilled on the economy, last night David Letterman gave him an altogether different kind of test. "Can I ask you a lot of dumb American questions?" asked the talk show host, before quizzing Cameron on British history. Unfortunately the Prime Minister didn't manage to get them all right - he didn't know that the English translation of Magna Carter was 'Great Charter', nor did he know who had composed 'Rule Britannia' (Answer: Thomas Arne, who wrote the music to a poem by James Thomson). However, he did manage to identify the countries that make up the UK (phewf!), the population of Britain, as well as when and where the Magna Carta was signed. Oh go on then David, you can join our pub quiz team.
Letterman also asked Cameron whether he thought he was popular in the UK, to which Cameron replied: "Not very popular, no. We have got this budget deficit - we have to make difficult decisions and that makes you unpopular." The PM also spoke about Larry, the Downing Street cat (who apparently is a "terrible mouser"), why he didn't want Britain to join the Euro, and the relationship between UK and US politicians, joking "We interfered a bit in your politics about two hundred years ago, when we sailed up the river and burnt down the White House." Ooh Dave, don't even go there...
Watch Cameron fail Letterman's history test in the video above and let us know your verdict.
25 September 2012 David Cameron is about to follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher Paris Hilton, by being interviewed by David Letterman. The Late Show interview will be broadcast tomorrow night in the US, and will see Cameron square up to the famously quick-witted talk-show host.
Downing Street has said that the Prime Minister’s appearance is an attempt to “bang the drum for Britain” and get Americans to visit us post-Olympics. Although Cameron will be wanting to make sure that it’s only this metaphorical drum that takes a hit and not his own reputation, as Letterman is known for his unforgiving interview style and withering put-downs.
So, to give our PM a helping hand, we’ve put together a guide to what he should and shouldn’t do in his interview, based on the behaviour of past politicians…
DO own your opponent
Obama used a recent appearance on Letterman to hit back at Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Romney’s remark that it would not be his job to worry about the 47% of Americans who back Obama and are apparently “dependent upon government”, were met head on by Obama, who responded by saying, “if you want to be president, you have to work for everybody – not just for some.” Effectively making Romney look even more like Mr Burns.
DON’T take hair tips from Boris Johnson
Letterman temporarily stumped the Mayor of London by asking him, “So how long have you been cutting your own hair?” The talk-show host then wondered whether it was Boris’ hair that was holding him back from becoming Prime Minister. Yep, that’s definitely the only thing standing in BoJo’s way…
DO show your wife some love
Bill Clinton showed big love for Hillary by saying that he was “immensely proud” of her. We’d love to hear Cameron waxing lyrical about Samantha - or Nick Clegg, for that matter.
DON’T not show up
Letterman wasn’t going to let John McCain off for bailing on him back in 2008. The talk-show host brought the ex-presidential candidate to task for pretending to be focusing on the economy, when he was in fact being interviewed for another TV show. See how Letterman makes John squirm…
DO big up other world leaders
Tony Blair was careful not to go along with Letterman’s ‘stupid Bush’ jokes, maintaining that George Dubya really is a clever clogs, honest. As implausible as that might sound, it’s probably a good idea to keep other world leaders on your good side #winningatdiplomacy