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. David

    Love the way you guys sensor out the Pro McCain Comments and only print the Pro Obama ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. EC

    WHAT is up with this "STIFF" persona? I mean is this man a robot or what?

    I'm sorry, but this picture is just painful beyond words. This OLD man walks around trying to "connect" and yet both he and his wife Cindy are as STIFF as a frozen iceberg. SAD.. I can't see this man representing The United States with is BORING and LAME demure about him. If I was a WORLD leader, he would put me to sleep, as I'm sure he does most Americans.

    August 5, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. PCC

    CNN you guys really need your heads examined ...With some of the post that you have posted against McCain is really showing how you guys are backing...But you fail to see that this kind of stuff is whats killing Obama in the polls...So go ahead and do what your doing because in the long run the American people are turning to McCain.

    August 5, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Frank Ontario

    How many people actually realize McCain's stating," he enjoyed the company of a group of bikers over the company of 200,000 German citizens," hurts how people perceive the U.S. all around the world?

    McCain obviously wants to convey the message to the entire world that Americans are the master race and it's their intent to rule the world. WOW!

    August 5, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Mad

    Haha I love how the Obama supporters are saying talk about the issues when Obama doesn't even have any that work!

    August 5, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyManOffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    Did JohnnyMac ride in on his tricycle? He's been acting like a snotty little brat since he has nothing else to offer the country other than his tantrumy, grumpy observations and opinions. Got leadership skills or vision?

    August 5, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. J. Dean, a Republican from Juno Beach, FL

    John McCain, the old man, is at his best when he shakes hands and gives thumbs up. John has nothing else to offer, man.
    Oh by the way, did you realize that recently old man John McCain is not making his famous statement, "MY FRIENDS" anymore. Because he has no more friends, George Bush doesn't like him, sickman, Dick Cheney doesn't like him...except, of course, Joseph Lieberman and the bikers, may be.
    Latest news: Cindy will be leaving Old Man John McCain, she would rather divorce him and find a non-politician and a Younger Play-Boy type lover.
    Hey, Old Man John McCain, make sure you save some money for rainy days.

    August 5, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. Mad

    All you Obama supporters- I advise you to look at past politics

    Every candidate has promised "Change" "and tax returns" and all that junk

    He isn't a new candidate
    he is an inexperienced bimbo who made his way with public speaking!

    August 5, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. What if?

    To…gastoys August 5th, 2008 11:41 am ET……Let’s be honest, we the minority has had to vote for a Caucasian man for President for years. We have had to see them lie, cheat, steal and forget about all the racial different laws and planning they have made while in office. RACE was ALIVE in this world before Obama, even during the times of George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Moore, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adam's. It’s funny how comments like yours is the ones that labeled Obama as Jesus Christ, The One and The Water Walker. If you can’t see that your statement is lacking the truth, England may be the right move for you also.

    August 5, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Patty, Big Bear, CA

    Check out the look on Cindy's, she's excited to be at a biker rally!! What these guys won't do to try for a vote.....I agree with the comment about put a beer in a biker and they will shake hands with anyone..... 🙂

    August 5, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Vietnam Vet

    Funny, McCain has to go where there's gonna be a crowd. They certainly aren't there to see Mc Bomb!

    August 5, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Mad

    "I hope McCain has a picture of this crowd because he could never draw a crowd that large on his one….."

    wow Obama didn't get that crowd either - it was aranged

    people just go to his speeches since no one knows who he is

    August 5, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Just like the make-believe "I wanna be baaad" bikers that go to Sturgis McLame is still living in the 60's. Besides, bikers don't vote anyway so leave it to McLame to pander to them for vote. You're really hip McLame – NOT!

    August 5, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. amazing

    YOu must be an idiot. Barack Obama hasn't called himself Jesus or Moses, it your stupid uncles who are paroding that nonsense and you seem to biting into that because you're incapable of thinking for yourself. You have to wait for fat rich fools like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the brainless O'reily to feed your crap and you eagerly take it like a pig. Come'n man do yourself a favor and start using your God-given brain, even if it is for a moment.

    August 5, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Sarge in Florida

    Tony Powell, you stated that you are waiting for all the Mccain haters make their comments. We don't have to because you said it all, "Too old to ride" LMAF...yeah and I agree with another comment in here. what is up with the Stepford wife Cindy so close to him....Him afraid that he might dump her like he did his last wife?

    August 5, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    obama restoring our respect in the world talking with other countries leaders about americas problems as well as their problems mccain hanging out with bikers whats more presidental to you???? obama08

    August 5, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Teri from Ohio

    Where are McCain links to on your website?

    McCain has 5 items in ONE WEEK on not counting ALL the others he has. (1 still needs to be added.)Have you ever mentioned any of these??
    OK, I will:
    1. A new McCain ad says he'll raise taxes on electricity (false).
    2. A McCain TV spot falsely insinuates that Obama canceled his visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."
    3. McCain Links Castro With Obama – The words used in the ad, however, don't represent Castro's full remarks about Obama.
    4. McCain ad says Obama's the guy to thank for emptying our wallets at the filling station. We say that's ridiculous.
    5. A McCain TV ad says Obama "voted against funding our troops." He did, once. Every other time he voted in favor.
    They still need to add McCain saying he "fought for the recognition of Martin Luther King day in his state." He NEVER fought for it, in fact he voted AGAINST it 3 times!

    August 5, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. paul.08

    It does not matter what the sound of freedome is when your president is a war mongering fascist

    August 5, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. fair and balanced

    BOTH candidates have made some change, no debating that. My conern is that John McCain, went completely opposite to have previous stance on offshore drilling and immigration. The fact he mentioned the troop increase first is to his credit and he is sticking to having troops finish the war in Iraq.

    On the other side, Barack has changed his views as well but says he tends to say that he is willing give something to get something. This would mean that his position on drilling and talking with Iran et al, can still happen to the chagrin of many of us. To his credit he is holding fast to getting the troops out quickly.

    Washington is broken, so do we keep someone who has been there for 26 years to fix it? Or do we bring in the untested newbie, to see whate he can do. Hard decision, lets not go into this "party blind" but on who has the better plan and testicular fortitude to do what he promised.

    August 5, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Upon Further Review,Texas

    Sturgis has become the midlife crisis center for well heeled money bikers.

    August 5, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Sarge in Florida

    TX for Obama,
    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.

    That's because they are in breeders and have no idea about what is going on in this world. They are only concerned about when their welfare check is coming in, how many squirrels they are going to get over the week-end, how many cases of Busch beers that they are going to consume, and how many more teeth are going to fall out next week. Go you southern hicks....

    August 5, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Kathy

    Why would he allow men to whistle at his wife?

    Barack Obama wouldn't allow that.

    August 5, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. norb

    You meet the nicest people on a Honda John.

    August 5, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Billy

    McCain is just lame. He is so cynical. He's always got to deride the other guy to try to make himself look good.

    August 5, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Stanley

    "Amazing how the media writes that the 50k people were there to see Kid Rock and not McCain, but no mention that the 200k in Berlin were there to also see a band and not Obama. "

    Except you have it backwards – Obama spoke AFTER the bands played – and everyone stuck around – they were there for Obama. McCain spoke BEFORE the bands played – that's why he got the crowd...but the crowd was not THERE for McCain..

    August 5, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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