In a statement Tuesday, the Alaska governor said she accepted Letterman's apology "on behalf of all young women, like my daughters, who hope men who 'joke' about public displays of sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve."
Letterman apologized on CBS' "Late Show" Monday night, explaining that his joke from last week targeted Palin's 18-year-old daughter Bristol -- not her 14-year-old daughter Willow, as Palin interpreted. Letterman never mentioned the name of the daughter in the joke.
"The joke, really, in and of itself, can't be defended," he said Monday.
Palin and her husband Todd initially responded forcefully to the joke. Palin called the comments "sexually perverted." On Tuesday, she said Letterman has the right to joke about whatever he pleases and that "thankfully, we have the right to express our reaction."
"This is all thanks to our U.S. military men and women putting their lives on the line for us to secure American's right to free speech," she said. "In this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."