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. democracynow2008

    McCain did not have this crowd waiting for him to speak they would have been their regardless of his showing up.
    When Senator Obama goes somewhere people are their to hear him speak .
    I guess McCain cannot get anyone to listen to him so he needs to go to their party instead.
    McCain is a loser and will be a loser in November

    August 5, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. shish

    come on Tony. You said "It's too bad that backers on BOTH sides can't see the situation for what it is" . After which I said to myself "wow a voice of reason, someone pragmatic" and then another corner of your mouth you start bashing Obama...Are you sure you are not McCain. McCain is this your first blog post ever...
    Obviously no jokes on McCain yet , i think you told them all.

    August 5, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |

    Andy August 5th, 2008 10:38 am ET

    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.


    The people gather there every year . Kid Rock and John McInsane are just there as guests this year. Next year there will be 50,000+ people. Will they show up for John McLame then?

    August 5, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. James

    Now a bikers rally McCain might, just might be able to lead
    This country ( not only no but ,Oh hell no )

    August 5, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Boye

    Andy, the difference between the McCain and Obama event is: Kid Rock was the main attraction while Obama was the main attraction in the German event. This event wasn't organized by the McCain campaign. And I don't think 200k Germans will carry American flags to see a band.

    August 5, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Crush Rush

    Staged photo-op with with agents,real bikers would spit on him.

    August 5, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. David in Illinois

    While Cindy McCain is a lovely woman, I'm getting a little worried about the need for her to be at John McCain's side constantly. It's great to see husband and wife campaigning together, but she's always RIGHT NEXT to him. I think she's feeding him lines, serving as his memory or maybe ready to help him should he fall and he can't get up. He's losing it, and her presence is only more evidence of that.

    August 5, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Amy in Texas

    I find it very disgusting that CNN closes the chance for comments on the John Kerry story calling McCain dangerous for America but all the other stories that are negative about John McCain, what do ya know they are still open for comment. Come on CNN get over your Obama crush and be fair, this is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen and you just lost a viewer. I'll get my news from the fair and balanced station FOX NEWS. Go McCain

    August 5, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Lorraine

    They did not come to see McCain. They came to see his wife.

    August 5, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Brina

    I hope McCain has a picture of this crowd because he could never draw a crowd that large on his one.....:)

    August 5, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. royalld

    I wonder how much precious gas was burned to rev-up those engines to applaud the beer queen's husband.

    August 5, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Gimmeabreak

    Uhm, Andy,... if Obama was in front of a crowd there to see a band... what band draws 200,000 people normally? And let's just hope that if John McCain is president in January someone on his staff can explain it to him by February.

    August 5, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Theresa in Georgia

    Len in Washington: 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

    Len, just when I thought I was losing my mind too. I have never seen a presumptive candidate spouse so far up his $%%#! If this was Michelle Obama, you would hear so much static from the Republicans. This is UNBELIEVABLE! She doesn't say anything but just stands behind him.

    August 5, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Chris

    Does the person from TX who seems to think people inthe South are stupid actually think that TX will go to Obama this November?

    August 5, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. politics

    Does America really wants John McCain to be their next president? Really????

    August 5, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. J. Huck

    yihaaa! HOT ROD MCCAIN, don't forget the six pack...

    August 5, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. pat C.

    THIS IS A JOKE. this old man is grasping at at anything he can to get his photo in the news. i am so sick of seeing his trashy looking red neck plastic wife with him everywhere he goes. is she afraid he will say something stupid or maybe so old that he has a stroke when he stomps his feet with his little fits?
    she looks like she should be his nurse trying to disguise her uniform with all that leather she wears. they are both so superfisial they reak. McCain is an insult to what our country stands for. he is so out of it that all he can do is throw stones at obama and that is because he is eaten up with jealousy over him. give it up will never be young again no matter what you say and do.

    August 5, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. Dave in Boston

    The man certainly knows who his constituency is...

    August 5, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. C from Texas

    crooksandliars August 5th, 2008 10:27 am ET

    If you can't draw a crowd on you own…you have to go where the crowd is and pretend they're there to see you.


    LMAO, this is what Obama does by giving his speeches at concerts and beach parties. You Obama supporter amaze me. LMAO


    August 5, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Tom

    Andy – By what I have read there were two popular bands played in Berlin before and after his speech plus free food and beer. You are right not one major media outlet even mentioned it. You can tell this article is bias they way it was written. I don't understand why Americans cannot read between the lines and see the truth. I wonder what Obama will do to get the 75,000 to Denver. A Rock Concert, free food, bus them in with promises of who knows what.. My family would love to go to Denver with our protest signs if only we could afford it. .

    August 5, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. Nancy, MD

    McCain's camp turned away a black reporter because he was "local" and not "national". Reports have proven there were other reporters in the group who were not "national", and they were allowed to stay. Why was this black man kicked out?

    Oh, they kicked a white woman out who stood up for this guy.

    Having a President McCain would be dangerous, and I'm not going to vote for another dictator. That man should be no where near our White House.

    August 5, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. Ryan, Denver

    McCain's such a clown.

    August 5, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Blake

    An observed difference between Barack Obama and John McCain:

    Obama brings forth crowds.

    McCain looks for crowds, which is easy because all he has to do is not go to his scheduled speeches. It seems there are lots of people in places where he is not supposed to be.

    August 5, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Beverly, NYC

    Way to go John, objectify your meal ticket. Can't believe some women actually think this senior citizen can advance women's rights.

    August 5, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. McCain Cheney '08

    He was surrounded by 'scores of beer drinking men and scantily clad women'. Sounds exactly like George Bush.

    August 5, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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