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. Eye Opener

    Whatever McCain does he is like grandfather for all.

    He tries to look cool by taking his witchy wife around wearing a cap and light colored shirts. He can never be able to cover his age. 🙂

    August 5, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Judgement over Experience

    You Mcsurge fit right in with the Hell's Angels

    August 5, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Luis

    Vote McCain or join the insane

    August 5, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. PJ, New York Independent

    John McCain has earned his right to be president... he will make a great one!

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain.

    August 5, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Chicago Red

    McAttack Where is your Wheel Chair?

    August 5, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Linda31

    I bet you did tell Cindy that and more. At least she would have had a legitate chance at the Miss Bufalo Cup.

    August 5, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. bill for barack

    McBush is really in his element here.
    Hope he didn't ride a chopper though. He can't even fly an airplane without crashing.

    August 5, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Obama Supporter from FL

    Wow – McCain seems very human and normal at that event – not his usual stilted self.

    August 5, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Linda31

    I wonder if McCain realizes that those people would have been there regardless.

    August 5, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. wake up

    Houston Chronicle: McCain's contributions from energy interests spike
    John McCain received prolonged applause from the oil executives who gathered June 17 in Houston to hear the Republican presidential candidate's speech on energy policy. Now it appears that McCain received something else: Lots of campaign contributions.
    -4,100 Americans were murdered for the oil in Iraq...
    -john Mccain wants to bomb Iran
    -john Mccain wants to drill off shore in spite of the fact that it would make NO difference to the price of gas. in facet McCain is against keeping the oil found IN our country, he wants to sell it to China and India...
    -we have had a President/Vice president for sale for the last 8 years and as a result America is in trouble.
    Country first....please John we dont think so.

    August 5, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |

    This country is doomed if this hack gets elected, old and beat.

    August 5, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. chet

    Why does John McCain always hae his wife at his side when making public apperances? Dies she have to be there to ensure he reads the lines correctly?

    August 5, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Kevin, Austin

    Ha! That's too funny. Those 200,000 Germans came out just for Obama, and so have crowds of 10, 20, 30 thousand at time for Obama over the past three months.

    To get a crowd, McCain has to tag along at somebody else's event. I'm sure he'll show up at football games and thank everybody for coming out to see him!

    But seriously, my disappointment with McCain is his continuous denigration of Obama. That's obviously the only way he can win. So, I guess I don't want a bully as my next president. I want the smartest guy in the room. I'll vote for Obama.

    August 5, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Go Johnny Go

    Right on, McCain!

    August 5, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. tidho

    wife looks terrified.

    August 5, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Republicans hate America

    who cares about a bunch of rednecks. its been their stupid votes that have hurt this country. people remember to register to vote it does count and we must make sure these idiots are not the ones deciding the direction of our future.

    August 5, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Brennan - Seattle, WA

    Pander, pander, pander.

    Again he can't talk about the issues, just has to attack, attack, attack.

    Probably a good political move though.

    August 5, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. TX for Obama


    OBAMA '08

    August 5, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Heather

    How can ANYONE think that Cindy McCain – the plastic woman – would make a good first lady? She looks like a barbie – and that's not a good thing.

    August 5, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Oregon here

    lol, that's one way to have a crowd, go where it is. The people actually ccame to see Obama, he did not go to where they were holding a rally.

    Obama 08

    August 5, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Kim, Charlotte

    He only went there to drum around a crowd.


    August 5, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Democrat for McCain

    Unlike Obama who only wants just three things: "Indiana, Colorado, and Virginia."

    SHAME on Obama, HIS birthday wish shows how narrowminded he is.

    August 5, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. newz4i

    Senator McCain keeps attending small rallies counting till he gets to 200,000.

    He's soooo angry Senator Obama got to 200,000 first.

    August 5, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. McCain's Born to Ride Moment

    Oh John.. your coolness factor just went up at least one point! Hangin' with the biker dudes is definately a plus on the coolness monitor!
    Did you leather up and ride? That would have made one great photo op.. but your jealousy of Barack is still rearing it's ugly head.. get over it John .. you just are not cool dude.. and 50,000 Hogs won't make it so.

    August 5, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. ChicagoJosh

    Wow, not only does McCain go to the Girls Gone Wild fest, but he volunteers his wife to participate. Apparently he didn't get the memo that the organizers of Sturgis are concerned about domestic violence. This is not who i want as the first family. Hell, its not even McCain's first family.

    August 5, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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