David Letterman apologized once again to Sarah Palin last night at the end of a long speech expressing regret for hurting his own wife, Regina, last week.

The Palin apology was not sent out with Letterman’s main speech, and why he did it again is a head scratcher. It was unnecessary.

The apology to his wife and staff, however, were heartfelt and moving. They followed his monologue, which was kind of brilliant. Not only did he address the event of last Thursday–the blackmail scheme against him–but then lampooned himself. The latter came in trying but failing to tell jokes about politicians who’d had affairs. Letterman would mention a name, start a joke, and then stop.

He also focused the whole episode on the alleged criminal involved–CBS producer Robert Joe Halderman. Letterman said it was about “pushing back” and not allowing yourself to become a victim. The whole thing couldn’t have been more eloquent or elegantly handled. Hopefully he and his wife will work out their problems. But as far as the audience goes, Letterman should only benefit now from being truthful and, as far as anyone can tell, self-effacing. Well played, as everyone says these days.

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