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. Wolfgang Müller

    Wouldn't it be great if Mr. McCain who might be our next president started to engage the issues facing our country in an honest way instead of beating up on Berliners in order to win the elections.

    Winning is not everything, and the democratic process of electing a president is too precious to be demeaned by cheap shots.

    I am sure that most German-Americans, and there are lots of us, are not amused.

    August 5, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Is he still alive

    this outing is the closest Cindy has come to sex since the last time McSame got of his heart medicine to take take some viagra. she is clearly enjoying her self.

    August 5, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Carol

    I like the way McCain's wife's clothing is always coordinated to match the event she is attending. Blue work shirt with, what is that, her name embroidered on the pocket? I'm sure we would see leather pants and biker boots if the camera was further back.

    Poor woman – she is presented to the public like a throw pillow.

    August 5, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. bulldog

    McCain = Cheney and Bush. He has a little bit of both in him. Watch him now try to seperate himself from them, but we know the real McCain, warmonger, big coorporate and oil sponsor, bully, angry, cynical, negative to name a few.

    August 5, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. What if?

    Tony, Powell, OH August 5th, 2008 10:37 am ET...Point taken, but for some reason McBush seems to come out smelling like roses, and then belittle Obama for doing the same things he does. He said Obama play's the race card, he to is guilty of that, he just use the old under the table race game that has been used for years. This makes his hand in the game appear nothing out of the norm.

    He said he was going to run a different campaign this time, not like 2000, yea, right….sure looks like the same campaign as usually from a republican who is desperate to win….....It’s about time Obama, he would be a FOOL to LET MCBUSH use these negative UNTRUES AND DESPERATE TACTICS TO WIN VOTES, WITHOUT DEFENDING HIMSELF.……….

    YOU WOULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    August 5, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. Not sleeping at the switch

    Skinhead convention next? Yes These guys represent the typical American and THAT is who I want to see a Candidate for POTUS working for. ~snark~

    August 5, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. Pat

    Well I guess if the crowd doesn't show up for you, then you have to go find where the crowd is.

    One thought on yesterday. When McCain was making fun of Obama, the few people in the back ground sure looked bored.

    August 5, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. J

    To Amy in Texas: You are crazy.

    August 5, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Old Stradlater

    The sound of freedom? So what do vespas and segways sound like?

    August 5, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Oh Boy!!!???

    News just in...New reports form the the beleaguered battleground of Sturgis...yes,..yes... it is official. Sturgis is RED.

    Also to are the eyes, necks, and economic standing of all in attendance.

    Three cheers for Kid Rock and Johnny MC!!!

    Seriously, since when did Sturgis become a replacement for Iowa or Vermont to guage a campaign?

    August 5, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Sharon Kitchen

    Let's see ........he is talking about "freedom" in S.Dakota.........O.K.,how about all the First Peoples freedom he cast aside when he drew up that bill that removed 2,000 + women,children, know the code talkers 1997 that pres. Clinotn signed as a pres.order,and put them on a radio active toxic dump (2nd only to Cheranobal).........freedom ? They did not and still do not have freedom.Oh.......that's right.....he and his very wealthy wife....have about the homeless they have freedom ? I guess one might say they do....which place to lay down to sleep,etc. He doesn't care about them.....he has not voted in their favor for a long time..........glad he is not homeless........How about those that have lost their homes ???? NO. How about those who can not aford to get to work..gas prices......Oh ,that's right,he receives $ from the oil companies so that he can push the idea it is o.k. to destroy drilling. Does he hear his fellow oil man T. Pickens ??? I guess not.

    August 5, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Danel

    Those people in Germany weaving American flags are American Pats, did McCain know that?

    August 5, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Ryan

    I love Obamabots that put down the bikers!! It's great!! White, trailer, bikers that....Obama needs to vote for him! The Obamabots are just as elitist as their candidate!!

    Keep making fun of them!! Please!!!'ll be hearing the sound of Harlees when McCain is our new president.

    August 5, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Lucy for HRC

    So what your telling me is that my choices are Obama or Suffering.

    Im no idiot I Choose Obama.

    August 5, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Vote Nader

    TX for Obama August 5th, 2008 10:50 am ET

    Some of these States in the South like Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky etc must be full of Stupid Idiots. I don't know how they are voting for John McCain. Can't they see the difference in the Quality of the Candidates….

    OBAMA '08


    You realize our state (Texas) is going to McCain also, right?

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    August 5, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Mike - Texas

    To those of you complaining that McCain is pandering the bikers, I have this to say.

    Better for McCain to pander to American bikers than to have Obama pander to a bunch of Europeans !!!

    The more that Europeans like Obama, the less I do. Europeans are a bunch of Socialists and Obama is right there with them.

    Just another reason NOT to vote for Obama.

    August 5, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Tim

    Oh brother.......maybe he thinks the hat won't make him look like such a dried up old geezer. lol We need a strong, young man to lead this country. Not some old warhawk from the 60's.

    August 5, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. edw

    1. McCain supported the drilling moratorium; now he’s against it.
    2. McCain strongly opposes a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.
    3. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.
    4. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

    August 5, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Pick Me! Pick Me!

    Why is it that the majority of McCain commercials are almost always false when relating to Obama and Obama's commericals are almost always on the mark?

    Political fact check is the place to go to become truly educated about the candidates. See past the smoke and mirrors to the truth.

    August 5, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. KL

    I agree with Amy in Texas.

    CNN, you've lost your vision when it pertains to both candidates. I too have wanted to post a comment to some of your other articles, but you've closed them. You treat Senator O'Bama as if he's God...come on be fair and not so one-sided. We Americans all understand and know that the media is to the left, but when it pertains to reporting the facts and/or discussions with your viewers, try to be fair in the future or you'll begin to lose your audience. You preach over and over that your team is the best Political Team, well then prove it.

    August 5, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Remember, this is the same Senator McCain who flew into Baghdad and pronounced that he "walked the streets of Baghdad without fear " as his campaign was getting off the ground.

    Yes, he walked the streets, because he had a platoon of crack Marines with him every step of the way.

    I have a great idea for Captain Bravo – walk the streets of any inner city in this country; don't worry, they're all Americans, just like you!

    First we had fearless, Jet-Pilot, and now we're getting fearless, Captain Bravo!

    August 5, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. R.I.F.

    I'm glad Obama didn't make that comment about Michelle competing in a nude event. The media would have started a 48 hour firestorm. McCain can say it and everyone thinks that it's "cute" and "part of who he is that makes people love him" . Seems like a double standard to me.

    August 5, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. gastoys

    It amazes me that both candidates are not the answer to America's problems, both lie, both flip flop, but some how Obama is the new Jesus Christ to the World. Obama has racially divided this country, wants to push his socialist agenda to the American people and spit on George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Moore, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adam's grave who all sacrificed to rid the tyranny of the British Government. If you all love socialism so much why don't you move to England.

    August 5, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. CW4Barack

    Get some beer in those bikers and they'll cheer for anybody!

    August 5, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Same old empty words from Repubs – well "liberty", "freedom", "patriot" don't pay my bills, fill my gas tank or keep me safe. Yet, enough folk fall for it every time – WAKE UP AMERICA and ask yourself, did Bush do anything to make you're life better? The rich got richer, we embarked on colonialism (despite Bush's claims he wouldn't), he divided us, not united us ("uniter not divider" campaign pledge). Unless you are rich, the Repubs play you for a fool and you bite every time!

    August 5, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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