August 5th, 2008
07:30 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain makes the rounds at biker rally


John McCain greets a group of bikers at the annual Sturgis Rally at Buffalo Chip campground in South Dakota, as Cindy McCain and Sen. John Thune look on. (Photo credit: Peter Hamby/CNN)

STURGIS, South Dakota (CNN) – Standing on the main stage at a world famous motorcycle rally in rural South Dakota on Monday, John McCain looked out on a sea of denim-wearing bikers and told them he enjoyed their company much more than that of the 200,000 Germans who turned out to see Barack Obama last month.

Watch: McCain addresses the crowd at Sturgis

“As you may know,” he told the tens of thousands gathered at the 68th annual Sturgis Rally at Buffalo Chip campground, “not long ago, a couple of hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I’ll take the roar of fifty thousand Harleys any day.”

Bikers in the crowd, who had arrived from around the country to partake in the massive outdoor party, revved their engines numerous times in support of the presumptive GOP nominee. McCain said it was music to his ears.

“This is my first time here,” he said, “but I recognize that sound. It’s the sound of freedom.”

If McCain seemed more energized than usual, it might have been because the rally was one the campaign’s most colorful (and noisy) events in recent months. He even purchased four commemorative t-shirts.

As the senator made his way through a sea of motorcycle enthusiasts, shaking hands with the many veterans in attendance and accompanied by his wife Cindy and Sen. John Thune, he was surrounded by scores of beer drinking men and scantily clad women, many of whom were as thrilled to see the war hero candidate as they were to watch Kid Rock perform later in the evening.

Watch: McCain greets veterans, bikers at Sturgis

If there were any Obama supporters to be found in the vast Buffalo Chip campground, they kept quiet.

Indeed, McCain felt so comfortable at the event that he even volunteered his wife for the rally’s traditional beauty pageant, an infamously debauched event that’s been known to feature topless women.

“I encouraged Cindy to compete,” McCain said to cheers. “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    Reminds me of that Viagra ad...

    August 5, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. Dem for McCain

    He has got to buy another "casual" outfit. He wears this same one everytime. My gosh, you'd think Cindy (with all her money) would have him an entire room full of clothes!

    August 5, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Obama supporter: Bipartisan Intelligence in Gov't

    Why isn't John McCain on Capitol Hill with the Republicans? Why wasn't he in the Senate when the issue for offshore oil was being discussed? Why isn't he using gis "socalled" bipartisan credentials to support the recent proposed legislation?? All gimmick and hot air!!

    August 5, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. NoMccain

    Talk about Congress being on vacation! HA...
    what do you call this Mcsane-in the membrane?

    August 5, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |

    LOL Obama's poll numbers are consistently sinking

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    I hear those buffalo chips go well with Budweiser!

    August 5, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Tony

    That's awesome! Now he totally has my vote.

    August 5, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. Canada supports Obama

    John McCain looks and sounds more like a biker than a President.

    August 5, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. What if?

    WHO is really just another CELEBRITY McBush, and shows he not ready?

    If this was Obama, McBush would have the most negative things to say about him. The typical republican, I can be a CELEBRITY, take all these pictures, stay in the news and flip flop, Anything to fool a voter. Just look how childish he reacted when Obama took him up on his demand to visit Iran and Iraq. Bikers how many times have McBush visited you during those many bragged about years in the Senate?


    August 5, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. v.a.

    "mccain what tiny arms you have!"

    "the better to drown in my flip-flops with!"

    August 5, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Tim

    Looks like a Bush photo-op of hand picked "bikers". Clean-cut, clean-shaved, no tats...Yeah, right.

    August 5, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. T Guy


    August 5, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. Keith


    August 5, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. What if?

    John McCain greets a group of bikers at the annual Sturgis Rally at Buffalo Chip............Who's playing the race card now McBush? didn't see you and your followers at the bikers rally in South Carolina...........................PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

    Obama 08

    August 5, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Sane John

    Good to know he's pandering to get the vote of doctors and lawyers who pretend to be big tough bikers on the weekends.

    August 5, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. McCain = Bush = Cheney

    This is just too funny.

    August 5, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Irma in North Carolina

    As I am from South Dakota I dont think too much of these bikers as they Voted Bush Back in and see what a mess he has gotten our country in. Go ahead and vote Mccain in so we get the same thing again. I have seen these biker rallys many times ,they are nothing more than a bunch of loud mouths and drunks, that is just what Mccain needs a bunch of people like that supporting him.

    August 5, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. Jan

    It should be evident to you Obama supporters by now that most McCain/Hilary supporters have left these blogs due to CNN not posting our comments–if you understand the polls-many people are changing to McCain due to the manner in which Obama is running his campaign. He trys to smear McCain in every one of his speeches, will not debate him, and plays his race card on a regular basis. Now he is trying to steal McCain's ideas (off-shore drilling, etc) We need a leader like McCain-not a follower. You can bet he will be pure socialist if elected–do not be fooled–Pelosi and co. will not let it be otherwise and they are the ones calling the shots–not Obama. I like McCain in this photo–he, at least, mixes with the people-let's have more of these positive shots, CNN.

    August 5, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Canada supports Obama

    Mr. Biker

    "Are you sure that all these bikes have their tires inflated? You know by doing so you could save up to 10% of all oil reserves in the USA".

    Oops – McCain would rather drill for that 10%.

    Obama – Clinton 08

    August 5, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. Empty suit, empty promises

    Guarantee that these real men will vote in droves for McCain, while uh, uh, uh, uh never served a day Barry H Obama will get the sissy vote.

    Today, uh, uh, uh, I am "refining my position" on uh, uh, uh (where is that teleprompter) on oil drilling just like I backtracked on everything else BECAUSE I am uh, uh, uh am a different type of politician, and uh, uh, uh "what you have been waiting for" and BILL CLINTON IS A RACIST and anyone who doesn't agree with the chosen one will be deemed a racist.

    Why is he not way ahead people......... maybe because WE ARE NOW PAYING ATTENTION and Olbermann, Couric, Williams etc, etc (AKA his staff members) are not going to decide who we want to vote for.

    Empty suit, Empty vessel, empty ideas and yep, thanks for NOT nominating the SUPERIOR Hillary Clinton.

    August 5, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. rice, bryan

    what a waste of time. those people have to see that this old man is pandering for votes in a place that would disgust him on any other day. this two people wouldn't condesend to speak with people that dressed like this or rode a bike.

    August 5, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. jfs Memhis, Tn

    With over 30 yrs experience he knows how to win wars( not that we have OFFICIALLY won a war since WW2 or Iraq 1) he knows how to energize economies...and ...YES... He knows how to be a Hells Angel. He was actually the real person behind the EASY RIDER film and invented the Harley Davidson logo. His experience 'MY FRIENDS' can only be topped with his progressive and modern theories on how to fix tht mess in this country. This can be supported by his amazing track record of thirty years in Washington that has lowered our gas prices, promoted a strong INTERNAL economic growth... and ...his NO VOTE on the Martin Luther King Holiday has helped solve any divisiviness in this Country. Mc Cain/Stevens 2008/2012

    August 5, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  23. georgia independent

    Can we see him dressed in leathers? Now THAT would be news...

    August 5, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Mikey

    This is too precious, the son and grandson of Admirals and his beer heiress, cheerleader wife rubbing elbows with the Sturgis crowd. Cindy has got to be thinking, "It's just a photo-op, it's just a photo-op, it's just a photo-op; just smile and it will all be over real soon."

    Of course, Barack and Michelle might look a little more out of place in this crowd.

    August 5, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  25. Matt

    A good man.

    A real American in touch with the average American.

    McCain will be a great President!

    August 5, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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