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. NY State of mind

    Look at his wife thinking Yum, time to trade up!!

    August 5, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Cyrus - NY

    Yayyy...rednecks and roughnecks unite!!

    August 5, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Jonathan

    Are you going to discuss how McCain wanted his wife to enter a nude beauty contest... I do not think she could hang personally. Not that good looking.

    August 5, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. LA2NC

    What am I missing here? Isn't South Dakota a "safe" state for Mccain?

    August 5, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Scott L

    All my dad's biker friends are voting McCain. You should see them riding through DC on Memorial Day. Thousands of bikers...translates to thousands of votes for McCain.

    August 5, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. Texas M

    McCain is an honest, hard working, American hero.

    He has a proven track record and the respect of Democrats and Republicans alike.

    Obama is a good speech reader, that's it. (Notice I didn't say speach writer, b/c Obama never writes his own speach.) Obama has never lead or managed anything. Obama never had a real job, he went to a racist church for 20 years, he thinks people "cling" to guns and religion for absurd reasons. He's friends with William Ayers, the terrorist. Hamas openly supports Obama, Iran openly supports Obama, NANCY PELOSI SUPPORTS OBAMA.

    Did I mention Obama doesn't have ANY experience.

    August 5, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. Herman in LA

    What a fake picture...

    Vote Obama

    August 5, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Why is Cindy attached to John's hip in every picture? Is she there to catch him if he falls over, or to rein him in if he decides to tell a sexist or racist stupid joke?

    August 5, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. maria

    Mcain is soo old. he needs to retire. What did cindy see in him she could have done better. Cindy needs to divorce mcain and get a yonger more attractive husband.

    obama 08,12

    August 5, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. wake up

    i hope the Bikers had their tires checked...

    August 5, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |


    August 5, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Nina Hartley

    Mr. Vietnam War Establishment ... connecting with rebel bikers??

    I don't think so!!

    August 5, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |

    Makes you wonder if the poeple came to see McCain. Really?

    Are we that stupid? These folks are there for thier yearly event. John McCain jus showed up to pretend that Americans are really interested in him. Clown!

    August 5, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. FactCheck

    I guess you decided to leave out the fact that other events include women's wrestling, a topless bikini contest and the "Miss Buffalo Chip Beauty Pageant" (along with a fair share of domestic abuse reports). CNN, do you even staff journalists anymore?

    August 5, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. MD

    How sad it is to see McCane stoop to this level. He is bad for the Republican Party, and he is even worse for the country.

    He is the reason I changed party affiliation after being a life-long Republican. I can't stand him any further than I can throw a piano.

    August 5, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. fella from Chicago

    Senator McCain being at a biker's rally makes a whole lot more sense than Seantor Obama attending a NASCAR function. Barack needs to stick closer to the basketball courts.

    August 5, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. norml

    looking at scantily clad women no less.why cant he just buy a copy of girl's gone wild.

    August 5, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. DC Steve

    hmmm....I wonder how many of those bikers were going to actually vote for Obama in the first place LOL

    August 5, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. southerner

    A real Amercan, with real Americans. So where is Obama, back eating arugula with his french socialist buddies?

    August 5, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. norml

    i hope he gets skidmarks in his shorts.

    August 5, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. MO


    August 5, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. BV

    Hop on one Senator McCain and take the high road.

    August 5, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    gee I'm sick of baldy's stupid baseball caps.... why doesn't the millionaire beer queen buy him a toupe?

    August 5, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Woman for Obama

    Can McCain go anywhere without his Mommy or Cindy by his side? Geeze.

    August 5, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Michael


    FROM: The Gipper

    TO: John McCain

    When you're in South Dakota, say this, my friend: "I would rather be speaking in front of 50,000 Harleys than 200,000 Germans anytime."

    Have you noticed how out of sorts NBC, CBS, MSNBC, and CNN by McCain's rise in the polls. The most hilarious thing is having mountebanks like Chris Matthews saying , "We want the old lovable, favorite Republican of Democrats John McCain." I bet you do, you mendacious blowhard. You are not any friend of John McCain and you desperately hope McCain loses. What are you at woeful Keith going to do when your redeemer loses?

    August 5, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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