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. ran

    Mccain can't seem to go anywhere without bad mouthing OBAMA. What a SAD SAD SAD man mccain is. Citizenes of the US please vote only for DEMOCRATS.

    August 5, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Will in Richmond, VA

    Excuse me, waiter?

    I'd like to order one "BREAK" please?

    August 5, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. what?

    just a waste of gas. thanks for ruining our economy by driving up demand, jerks

    August 5, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. glittergirl

    So out of the thousands that showed up for this annual event, how many were actually there to see him? It just goes to show how desperate he is, he couldn't even muster up his own crowd but had to leech off of this event – which I'm sure has the same number of people there every year without him showing up. Give me a break.

    August 5, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. yaki

    It's good to see McCain connect with his base. After all, the Sturgis rally is a biker heaven where alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse, mysogeny, violence, xenophobia, and disregard for the law are the norm.

    Sounds like a regular Republican hoe-down.

    August 5, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. ls

    Yeah, that's the way to get your crowd, catch them off-guard.

    The bikers revved their engines numerous times to hint to McCain to hurry up and get it over with.

    And where does McCain get off speaking for Obama . . .McCain sure does have a lot of nerve. Can't wait for this guy to be out of the public eye.

    August 5, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. Sherry for Obama

    Yea 50,000 red necks......Was there even a black person in the crowd?............I think not.

    John is so jealous of Obama.........

    Come Nov. are country will take a turn for the better......
    Barack Obama will become our first black president and will lead our country to prosperity and honor that will far exceed the prior presidents before him

    August 5, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. ProudDemocrat

    Mccain the idiot tried to make fun of Obama's advice to inflate our tires properly to save gas, but this shows how idiot the old man is the fact is by keeping your tires inflated properly in can save 3% in gas, by keeping your car tuned you can save another 4%. What the old man does not understand is 7% saving means a lot the low income people like me.

    August 5, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Cara

    Imagine if Obama attended a hip-hop event with less-than-dressed women... The pundits would be wetting their pants to discuss the, "racial implications of this event." Is Obama demeaning women? When is CNN going to get of the McCain suckle and report evenly?

    August 5, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Jeff

    Oh yes, Sturgis. The last large gathering in the US where it is ok to denigrate women, minorities and homosexuals. A tip of the hat to McCain for speaking straight to your base.

    August 5, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Willow, from Iowa

    Why even compare everything? Everything out of McCain's mouth is comparing each and everything said and done with Obama. Trying to make himself better in every situation. Come on, McCain. Try to run a respectful issue based campaign. He's just insulting Obama every step of the way. Its getting old.

    August 5, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Cricket

    It probably sounds like the roar of war planes to him. Seems that's all he wants to talk about.


    August 5, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Vivian

    And that's where McShame belongs....on a Harley....not IN the Whitehouse.

    August 5, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. William Spivey

    Yep they are the sound of freedom alright. Using up gas to help the gas you are burning. They do make 3 wheelers Big Mc. Maybe you could buy one and tour the country.

    August 5, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Denise Groves

    Mccain could never gather 200,000 people to hear him speak. He cannot get people excied. he is a depressing, wrinkly, old, out of touch, rich, white man.

    August 5, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Kansas Republican

    Here among the "far right" we are faced with no choice at all. Even if McCain wins (yes I will vote for him), he is so far left that the Democrats still win. This race really stinks. I believe if either of these two candidates really cared a hoot about America (versus their own personal ambitious egoes) they would quit and let somebody who loves America become President. The way things are now, regardless of the outcome, America is the loser. As I see it, both Obama and McCain want us to finalize our membership in the global world order that was started by Bush senior and continued by Clinton and GW bush.

    Better remember this folks. America is the LAST place of liberty in the world. Most Americans have never been to lands without liberty. Obama will accelerate the loss of liberty. McCain wouldn't do much better. Even so, Lord Jesus come.

    August 5, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. Jon

    I agree. This is a better event for a canidate to make a speech than in Germany. Obama get a clue. You are running for President of the USA not Germany or the World. A vote for McCain is a vote for America first. Avote for Obama is a vote for anybody but America.

    August 5, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. kenny

    McCain would rather appear appear at a crowd, then try to draw one.

    August 5, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Cheryl

    Revving motorcycles are the sound of freedom??

    This clearly shows the difference between the two candidates, one goes out on the world stage to persuade our European allies to do their part in Afghanistan while the other just serves up corny platitudes to bikers.

    For gawd sake America stop thinking small and elect a president instead of a "buddy" this time.

    August 5, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |

    Yup, the poeple were there to see Kid Rock. Why does McCain want to take credit for the gathering?

    Didn't that sound just as stupid as when the many idiots claim that people only come to see Senator Obama because of free concerts?

    Well, in this case the truth is that the people do this every year, with or without John McSlander.

    August 5, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Bill From Fl

    The Obama supporters better adjust to the fact that McCain is going to win.

    With all the hoop la going on about Obama, and he is only a few
    points ahead of McCain. Wait until the debates, Obama is going to look like a fool just like he did in the debates with Clinton.

    August 5, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Kate

    Can any one say Photo Op?

    August 5, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. miken

    McCain has it right!

    August 5, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    For a man who scorn at the word "celebrity", I see John McSame getting his 15mins of 'shame' at a rented bikers rally....this man can't pull a crowd here in america or abroad.

    sorry, McSenile....offering your "botox face" wife to compete in the NUDE beauty pageant bodes well with paris & britney status!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Obama = Demise of USA

    A true American doesn't need to go outside the USA to get support of citizens of a foreign country... Nor would he rather speak to foreigners then his own countries' injured troops.

    Mac '08

    August 5, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14