By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 10, 2002 12:22 PM

No earplugs were necessary after all. Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose singing ability has been the butt of David Letterman’s barbs for the past few weeks, appeared with Dave on the “Late Show” Tuesday night. The Republican didn’t sing, but he did play the piano. Since February, Letterman, who turns 55 this Friday, has been airing a clip of Ashcroft singing “Let the Eagle Soar,” a ditty he wrote, before a group of North Carolina theological students. But Ashcroft, 59, staunchly refused to sing it Tuesday, no matter how hard Letterman pressed him. “You know what would be a valuable deterrent in this effort is if these people could hear you sing,” Letterman told his guest. “They’d know you couldn’t mess with this guy.” The host even started singing “Let the Eagle Soar” himself — to no avail. (Later, returning from a commercial break, Letterman quipped that Ashcroft “did a Barbra Streisand medley . . . It was fantastic.”) What Ashcroft did do was remove his jacket and, backed by the show’s band, tinkle out the Beatles song “Can’t Buy Me Love” on the piano, which, he explained, was part of his tribute to Paul McCartney, who, like Ashcroft, is turning 60 this year. Earlier in the day, before taping the “Late Show,” Ashcroft toured the World Trade Center site with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reports the Associated Press. Bloomberg, already 60, has been making headlines over the past two days, by the way. He’s being featured in new pro-marijuana ads sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. (Last summer, during his campaign, he acknowledged to a reporter that he’d smoked weed. “You bet I did,” he is quoted as saying in the ad. “And I liked it.”) Wednesday’s New York’s Daily News reports that Bloomberg is not protesting the ad. In fact, he’s being very mellow about it. “I never lie,” he told the paper. “So if somebody asked me a question, I told (him).”