Attorney General John Ashcroft, the target of David Letterman's humor over the past few weeks for his singing ability, didn't rise to talk show host's bait on the "Late Show" on Tuesday.
The Indianapolis native and Ball State University alumnus has been repeatedly playing a video clip of Ashcroft singing his own composition, "Let the Eagles Soar," in recent weeks.
The Republican attorney general accepted Letterman's invitation to appear on "Late Show" and engaged the host in a sober discussion about national security and his job since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"You know what would be a valuable deterrent in this effort is if these people could hear you sing," Letterman said. "They'd know you couldn't mess with this guy."
After coming back from a commercial break, Letterman said Ashcroft "did a Barbra Streisand medley ... It was fantastic."
Letterman even started singing "Let the Eagles Soar" himself. No luck.
Instead, Ashcroft doffed his jacket and sat behind the piano to play part of the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love." He said it was his tribute to Paul McCartney, who is turning 60 this year just like him.
Earlier Tuesday, Ashcroft toured the World Trade Center site with Mayor Michael Bloomberg after a discussion about improving communication on security issues.