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. Frank, Atlanta, GA

    So, John McWar is gonna support Barney Frank's (D-NY) Congressional legislation to de-criminalize Marijuana possession now??

    Did he actually listen to the crowd of 20,000 (half of which were stoned or carrying weed) and vow to support reforming the "War" on drugs??

    Talk about the company you keep!!!!!! John McShame is surrounded by Hooligans !!!!!!!

    Can't wait to see who he picks for VP. Has Charlie Manson been vetted yet?

    Vote for Barack's the righ thing to do!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Surged OUT!

    If you can't get the crowds john because they simply don't believe in you go to where the crowds are. Probably your best campaign move so far.

    August 5, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Tony Z- MD

    Now is not to pick sides, but to really understand their policies. The future is calling America- what are we going to do? Each candidate needs to provide us answers/solutions to our problems. Lets reject the negative ads.

    Lets get some independent analysis of their plans.

    August 5, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Mike - Texas

    To --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…"


    Yes, we do see the difference, ( fluff vs. subtsanance ) and that is why we are voting for McCain.

    August 5, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. theWalrus

    Talk about arrogance! McCain wants to compare his appearance at an event that would have otherwise taken place (and for reasons totally unrelated to John McCain) and 200,000 people coming to see Obama.

    And yet, they are (effectively, I'm afraid) painting OBAMA as the arrogant one!

    August 5, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Bill

    McCain: Running for Hoover's 21st term. And ready on Day One to fight two "wars" at once, all with one hand tied behind his back, while Cindy struts her front. Fighting a two-front war is dangerous.

    August 5, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. McCain Cheney 08

    No country for McCain

    August 5, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. gary


    August 5, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. republican



    August 5, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Adam

    McCain capitalizing on the all important biker vote. Hey McCain I would maybe believe you more if you showed up in a t-shirt instead of a $500 dress shirt, cash-chucker!

    August 5, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Dan

    I love the fact that John McCain is alienating our allies in Europe with his repeated comments dismissing the turnout Obama had there. Yes, Barack Obama is extremely popular with people around the world. Since when did that become a negative quality of a candidate for the presidency?

    August 5, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. indlw

    Who are all of these idiots that don't know that cindy released her tax returns in april, and got an extension until october to finish her 2007 filing? Is that intentional ignorance, or are you blatantly lying?

    and for all of you criticizing people who drive harleys - most of those people are professionals, likely in a different tax bracket than you. And if by your logic being supported by "redneck bikers" makes mccain a redneck, then because Obama is supported by militant black leaders, rappers and drug dealers that makes him the same? Right. I can't believe some of you are allowed to vote.

    August 5, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Mike - Texas

    To --Teri from Ohio

    I am not sure about the rest of them but;

    "2. A McCain TV spot falsely insinuates that Obama canceled his visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."

    This one is actually TRUE

    and on "5. A McCain TV ad says Obama "voted against funding our troops." He did, once. Every other time he voted in favor."

    Actually Obama voted against funding our troops on at least 5 different occasionx.

    August 5, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. George Smiley

    "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 that they weren't. Don't sweat the mistake, though. As Ronald Reagan said, "Facts are stupid things." (Yes, he really did say that. It's a fact.)

    August 5, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Sherry, Atlanta


    August 5, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Matt

    In a 1986 Tucson Citizen article recounting a joke about rape told by Sen. McCain. Speaking to the National League of Cities and Towns in Washington, DC, McCain while campaigning for senate allegedly said:

    Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, “Where is that marvelous ape?”

    August 5, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    competing in a topless beauty contest is a great way to bring "style, grace, and elegance back to the White House.”

    August 5, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Frank

    It's good to see a real experienced candidate stand among the true blue hard working Americans who make this country what it is. God Bless John McCain!

    August 5, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Rick S

    Wow, Now he pimps his wife for votes.

    August 5, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. shep

    Anyone know any Harley people? Obama will get more votes from Germany.

    August 5, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Obama supporter: Bipartisan Intelligence in Gov't

    How can any woman vote for this sexiat man and how can any woman aspiring to being First Lady stand there and take? These two in the White House will put women's issues back a generation.

    August 5, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Peter (CA)

    "Sound of freedom"???? I hope he is kidding.

    So, where exactly is the substance in this man? His whole campaign appears to be about deriding Obama. But, he has no decent ideas of his own.

    Did you see where oil analysts support Obama's plan to use some of the Strategic Reserve as a credible means to bring the prices down as we work on alternate sources. The Republicans refused to vote for it...Why is that? Maybe because it's not the "drill, drill, drill" mentality their friends in Big Oil want.

    August 5, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Ms. Buffalo Chip is such an appropriate name for McCain's wife.

    August 5, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. joe sutter

    Is McCain wearing his $520 Ferragamo loafers?

    August 5, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Dianne

    Nice to see how respectful McCain is of his wife, offering her up for a topless biker "beauty contest". At least it is consistent with his statement to her in front of reporters that he considers Cindy a "trollop" and a "c**t".

    What a great candidate for American women–a guy who disrespects (and in the case of his first wife, discards) us. Kind of like that oh-so-hilarious rape "joke" McCain likes to tell on the trail.

    Lie back and enjoy it, girls, this is what we would get with a McCain presidency.

    August 5, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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