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. T Guy


    VOTE OBAMA.........08

    August 5, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. BV

    Bye bye, Amy.

    August 5, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. W.

    "This is my first time here,” he said, “but I recognize that sound. It’s the sound of freedom.”

    -John "Freedom Fries" McCain

    Simply stultifying. Any satire derived from this would merely be redundant. Oh, by jingo!

    August 5, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Sylvia

    The only crowd McSame can attract are wet n" wild topless women. What a joke!

    August 5, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Katie O'Brien

    What are you trying to say, Senator? What are you implying? You're their friend over the citizens of Germany? I hardly doubt you would be able to say that in front of the Hell's Angels or other biker clubs of the same ilk.

    They are a much more difficult "biker" crowd to win over with political rhetoric and I doubt Cindy would be there smiling.

    August 5, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Upon Further Review

    AMY,dont let the door hit you.

    August 5, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Ian

    I thought foreign policy was supposed to be one of his strong suits. Dismissing 200,000 Germans like that doesn't sound very presidential to me.

    August 5, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Cheney - the apple of the RNC's eye

    It's actually hilarious – This photo op looks so fake..

    August 5, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Ronda

    Ok McCain finally got his wish. He actually had people (20,000 bikers)there listening to what he was NOT saying. He finally got his crowd. His photo opportunity. The jealousy is over now. Now, McCain can stop whinning about how no one is paying attention to him.
    Smile McCain your on camera.
    Are the McCain supporters happy now. Smile.

    Now that everyone got their pictures taken with a crowd in the background.


    August 5, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Peter in PA

    The biker who is shaking McCain's hand looks like the skinhead gangster guy from Charles Bronson's Death Wish movie.

    August 5, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Vince

    Been to Sturgis before it became mostly weekend warriors. Having stated that, I wouldn't even cross the street to hear McCain, and I AM a veteran.

    Besides, the only reason he drew such a crowd is because it is wall to wall people at the camp ground and most of them are drunk.

    August 5, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. C.E.

    What's with Cindy McCain's "bee hive" hair doos?? I think they are both stuck in a time warp!

    August 5, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Amy

    To the uneducated person who says they're from Texas, which I seriously doubt you were born in the south by what you said about people in the South being stupid. Get a life. You are the one who will be disappointed come Nov.5th when John McCain is the next President of the United States. Typical of an Obama supporter who thinks they are more intelliegent, now you're saying you're smarter than people from the South. Let's see how the South carries McCain to victory, he is of the people not above the people. Thank God for John McCain!

    August 5, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. CM

    Man, Amy in Texas has to be the only person alive that thinks Fox News is fair and balanced.

    August 5, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Mark Cross Junction VA

    What campaigning is about, meeting Americans that vote, not walking down streets of Berlin or jet setting around Europe.

    August 5, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Upon Further Review

    What does volunteering your wife for the "miss cowchip" tell you.He has no respect for women is what it tells me.

    August 5, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Marilyn

    It is really a shame that we have no one to vote FOR this year. I'm really tired of having to vote for the person I dislike least, but I guess I'll be doing that again this year. And since I REALLY dislike and distrust Obama, my vote will probably go to McCain. It will be the first time in my life I have voted for a Republican!

    August 5, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    Oh my gosh! He's totally one of us! I want to have a beer with him and then watch *insert sport here* while eating barbeque and knitting American flags. Then we can wrap several of them around the Hummer that I hope to buy when drilling in a fraction of a percent of the world's oil preserves while coating Santa Barbara in oil again magically lowers gas to the level it was when Bush took office. Those were the days.

    The basic moral of this is that John McCain was the opening act for Kid Rock. Wow. That is way more impressive than drawing 200,000 people to see you speak in Berlin. By the way, because of Obama, there are a lot of people around the world who are thinking highly of the U.S. again...they want to love this country. I love this country but it's so hard when we have done the things that we have done. Patriotism to me means rejecting the policies that are hurting this country.

    Obama '08

    August 5, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. suzyku

    mcsame is still a putz!!!!!!! he's OLD, he's OUT OF TOUCH, he's SENILE, he FLIP FLOPS, he LIES, he's BAD FOR THIS COUNTRY!

    August 5, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. Em

    John McCain considers revving engines to be "the sound of freedom?" That explains his energy policy.

    August 5, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    FOX news is anything but fair and balanced. You get more accurate news information watching a NASCAR race.

    August 5, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. A

    "I recognize that sound. It’s the sound of freedom.” Oh my God.

    I hoped that he could have something a bit more intelligent to say. Like good luck running your bikes when gas costs $10 a gallon...

    August 5, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. Ian

    Isn't Fox the wonderful network that brought us the family television show "Married With Children"?

    August 5, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Chuck, Montgomery, AL

    Chris – I've lived in TX – people there are stupid too – ha. I couldn't stand the rednecks. Will never go back.

    August 5, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Earlier this morning...

    Cindy to John – "I really think you're supposed to wear underwear and pants under the chaps, John"

    John – "Aww, but the ventilation is fabulous!"

    August 5, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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