Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Sex scandal and the Olympics

They’re not linked, but the stories that topped the news shows this morning had to do with sex and with the Olympics.

Late-night comedian David Letterman made an unusual LEISURE EMMYconfession on his show last night: he was the victim of a $2 million extortion plot by a man who threatened to write a screenplay about Letterman having afffairs with female employees.

The talk show host quoted a blackmail note as saying: “I know that you do some terrible, terrible things and I can prove that you do these terrible things.”

Initially, Letterman’s audience didn’t understand and thought he was telling a joke. They laughed as he said he found a package in his car three weeks ago from a person who was trying to blackmail him.

Then the audience seemed kind of stunned, not knowing how to react as the 62-year-old comedian spoke about the “very bizarre experience” as he admitted that he had had sex with women who work for him on the show. He then went on to say he hoped to protect his family and his job.

The First Draft: Iran …and the Olympics

When President Barack Obama was running for president, he was heavily criticized by his rivals — including his current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton — for saying he would be willing to sit down with the leaders of countries like Iran.NUCLEAR-IRAN/

Well, today is the day the United States takes part for the first time as a “full participant” in talks between Iran and six world powers to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program.

Obama is not participating but he will likely be closely following results of the one-day talks in Geneva. U.S. officials have said Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns — the head of the American delegation — would not actively seek a one-on-one meeting with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator but would not reject one if the opportunity arose.

Obama brings the Olympics to the White House

OBAMA/OLYMPICSPresident Obama deeply disappointed his hometown Chicago when he announced that he would not go to Copenhagen next month to personally make the city’s case for hosting the 2016 Olympics, so he and first lady Michelle Obama, who is going in his stead, on Wednesday brought the Olympics to the White House instead.

Former Olympic and paralympic athletes, Chicago officials and local schoolchildren attended the event on the White House lawn, where the president and first lady both spoke and watched judo and gymnastic demonstrations. The president even joined in with some of the athletes, earning a gentle jibe from his wife.

“You should have seen the president in there fencing,” she said. “It was pathetic, but he passed the baton really well.”