By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated June 16, 2009 at 06:28 PM EDT

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has released a statement accepting David Letterman’s apology for telling what he called a “coarse joke” about Palin’s daughter last week, a joke that has prompted an onslaught of public debate and outraged appearances by the former vice presidential candidate. After Letterman used a large chunk of his Monday night show for a public apology, Palin responded, according to ABC News: “Of course it’s accepted on behalf of young women, like my daughters,who hope men who ‘joke’ about public displays of sexual exploitation ofgirls will soon evolve. Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke’ aboutwhatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express ourreaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. military women and menputting their lives on the line for us to secure America’s right tofree speech — in this case, may that right be used to promote equalityand respect.”