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. Eileen from Maine

    Do drug dealers who contribute to Presidential campaigns have to explain where there money comes from?

    August 5, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. crooksandliars

    If you can't draw a crowd on you have to go where the crowd is and pretend they're there to see you. John McCain needs to stop trying to define who's patriotic and American enough and start talking IN DETAIL about what he's offering as a leader. So far all he's done is trash Obama and tried to label anyone who criticizes him as unpatriotic. He seems so out of touch and short sighted for a leader in this century.

    August 5, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Neal

    McCain is a pig and a moron.

    August 5, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. SC for Obama

    C'mon Cindy, take it off. At least, you can be Miss Buffalo Chip!

    August 5, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Len in Washington

    How do you spell "Harley Davidson?"

    Sen McCain replys "Well .....P-a-n-d-e-r. of course!"

    I wonder if Cindy brought along enough beer to pay for this all this.

    By the way...has anyone else noticed that John McCain is never more than three feet from Cindy for the past six weeks. What's up with that?
    Just who's running for President anyway?

    August 5, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. ima Dolt

    John McCain can't stop being corny.

    August 5, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. jOhN McCain

    My friends.... We need in surge in Drilling

    The Oil company executives have so far contributed $2 million to my campaign.
    I recently told them, that if their donations to my campaign reaches $100 Million .......and I become President.... I'll sign an Executive Order Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP & Chevron permission to Drill at the Rose Garden, the Capitol, the Pentagon, Disney-Land, and any other location of their choice.

    That, my friends….. is how we get out of the energy crisis.

    I'm John McSurge, and I approved this message!

    August 5, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. S. Boatman

    What Happened To Getting Back To Washington For The Vote On Your All Important Drilling Bill? No One Wants To See Your Wife In A Topless Beauty Contest! There Are Better Boobs In National Geographic! I Guess Having The Title Of Miss Cow Pie Is Better Than Having The Title Of First Lady!

    August 5, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    REALLY THIS IS NEWS? How about the ISSUES? HOW ABOUT THE DANGER WE FACE WITH LIMITED ENERGY???????????????? I am disappointed CNN, that you have not informed the people!

    August 5, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Tony, Powell, OH

    Can't wait to see all the McCain haters and their stupid jokes...the comments aren't visible yet but there will for sure be the "he's too old to ride" guy, the "well he can ride but he needs a tricycle" guy, and of course the standard "McSame", "McShame", "McBush" geniuses who all think they're original.

    It's too bad that backers on BOTH sides can't see the situation for what it is...both candidates are changing their minds and doing pretty much the same thing. If you think McCain is "flip flopping" but Obama is simply "redefining his position", then you're not objective but rather a brainwashed Obama supporter that isn't seeing what the rest of us do...Obama is just as "flip-floppy" as anyone else.

    August 5, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. H. Shakur

    Hmmmmm, I could see McCain's neck turning red.

    August 5, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Andy

    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.

    Nope, no media bias there. Doesn't matter. McCain will be President of the United States come January. Obama could be President of Germany.

    August 5, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Puma Former Democrat

    Now that's the way to energize America for McCain. He' spending time meeting "real people" not the designer elite who will support anyone who makes them look chic. "See how liberal I am, I'm supporting the black man".

    As far as I can see Obama wants the title and prestige, the glory and adulation but he doesn't want to do the work. He didn't work as an Illinois Senator, voting Present when he did bother to show up. He hasn't fulfilled his duties as a US Senator, he has one of the worst attendance records in the Senate. He's used every position in government so far to advance Barack Obama, not to do the work necessary to make life better for his constituents.

    So why do we think that as President he would do anything at all that he has promised.

    Vote McCain, we KNOW his commitment and duty to country. He has spent his life serving our beautiful country, never flinching when asked to do the hard uncomfortable work.

    If not Hillary then McCain all the way in 2008.

    August 5, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Michelle

    Way to go, McCain!

    Hey, did everyone catch ex-President Clinton's remarks (paraphrasing): Anyone who meets the CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS for POTUS should be able to run.

    Hmmmm, interesting!

    August 5, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. CM

    Andy, did the 200k who came to see the band also clap for Obama's speech just to be polite?

    Who cares if there was a band? Obama will draw far larger crowds than McCain any day and thats been proven by his meetings around the country.

    McCain will be president only if America doesn't remember the last 7 years and needs more of the same.

    August 5, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. G

    How nice. McCain finally found his base, base though they may be.

    August 5, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. PG

    Such an excellent event! This event is going to help the economy, lower gas prices, bring our troops home, help the mortgage crisis, slow down unemployment. What a guy!

    August 5, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. How does CNN determine who gets posted?

    Does anyone know why Cindy McCain always seem to be with McCain? Does he have a medical condition that she's helping him with? Does she have children she needs to take care of? Obama travels constantly, but his wife isn't attached to his hip.

    What's really going on?

    August 5, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. PUMA-Jessie

    These are voters and they count as votes. Obama would have served himself better if he attended this rally instead of the one in Germany. I guess the reason the Obama supporters, if any there, were quiet is because bikers are not a bunch of left wing latte drinking liberals. If Hillary had been there she would have got the same welcome as McCain.

    August 5, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. cherrystrawberry

    McNeedsaCane is pathetic. When will he talk about the ISSUES! I think Obama has a stalker

    August 5, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Well, let's try this again....

    And Andy, this gives me the opportunity to respond. My understanding is that the rock concert was sponsored in order to give the waiting crowds something with which to occupy themselves.

    However, the Kid Rock concert and Sturgis festival was scheduled before McCain decided to show up.

    August 5th, 2008 9:46 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    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 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Nolonger Republican Obamacan all the way 08

    He needs all the photo ops he can get, this man is dangerous to our country, he is a hot head who will say anything, even if it means telling a lie, and throwing God under the bus in a Neg ad. what i dont understand is why people see that he is another Bush, and he will make things worst. He is old and cranky which is not a good thing. the GOP is the reason why we are in the shape we are in now he has been in the Gov for 26 yr and what has he done??? Can we afford another 4 years of Cranky Bush!

    August 5, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Jean, Indiana

    My gosh! He's wearing Obama's 4th of July outfit! Now if he could only get that zombie makeup off his wife . . . .

    Sorry for the jab but it couldn't be more belittling than Miss Buffalo Chip. Sickening.

    August 5, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Jeremy D @ UT

    "The sound of freedom."

    And the Right criticize Obama for rhetoric.... rrrrriiiiight.

    August 5, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. kevinindc

    Isn't a buffalo chip a piece of dried turd?

    Yay women! Vote McCain!

    August 5, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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