August 15th, 2008
08:10 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain rises to ABBA's defense

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/15/art.abba.gi.jpg caption="McCain's choice of a favored ABBA tune drew analysis from political and musical observers alike."]

ASPEN, Colorado (CNN) - ABBA might be one of the world’s most-ridiculed pop acts, but at long last, John McCain is rising to their defense.

Speaking to Walter Isaacson at the Aspen Institute in Colorado on Thursday, McCain found himself explaining a recent interview with Blender Magazine in which he selected ABBA’s 1976 track “Dancing Queen” as his favorite song.

Watch: McCain defends Abba

“What were you thinking?,” Isaacson asked him, looking incredulous.

“If there is anything I am lacking in, I’ve got to tell you, it is taste in music and art and other great things in life,” McCain joked. “I’ve got to say that a lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane and never caught up again.”

But McCain quickly defended his musical taste, citing the Swedish band’s longevity and crossover success on Broadway.

“Now look, everybody says, ‘I hate ABBA. Oh ABBA, how terrible! Blah blah blah,’” he said. “How come everybody goes to ‘Mamma Mia?’ Huh? I mean really, seriously, huh? ‘I hate ABBA, they’re no good, you know.’ Well, everybody goes. They’ve been selling out for years.”

A few minutes later, following a question about Iraq’s budget surplus, McCain turned back to his discussion of the finer things in life, saying he plans to take an art class “when I have the opportunity.”

“I loved my Naval Academy education and my time at the National War College, but some of the things weren’t there that I would like to see to fill out my education,” he said. “But I make no excuses for my taste in music.”


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. lovable liberal

    McCain never, ever talks about his military service. It would be unseemly. That's why he doesn't do it.

    Using it here would have really helped him, but he didn't. After all, he had to wait until "Dancing Queen" was ready before he would accept repatriation. Now that's courage, and he missed the opportunity to mention it.

    August 15, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. Caryn, Washington DC

    McCain was hoping that during Obama's vacation, all of the media attention would be on him. Now we know that he has absolutely nothing interesting to say.

    August 15, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. CONFUSED OLD MAN!!

    Chanda in Cincinnati Ohio- Somebody go ask him how he plans to "take on Big Oil", when Big Oil has heavlily financed his campaign! Now that's a question that needs to be answered!!! DITTO!!!

    August 15, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Obama supporter:White, 60 year old woman

    If John McCain wants to make his military career his major reason for being elected the media and the voters should demand the release of the 540 out of 600 pages of his military record. 105 is not good enough!!

    August 15, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. TX for OBAMA

    I watched some of this event. As from any other McCain events, it is so plainly obvious to anyone – his uncomfortable body language, lack of articulation, lack of focus to the question, and the general lack of understanding. He kept referring to the President of Georgia as 'Misha' and tried to give the impression that he is very thorough with that area. But, when he had to refer to the 'Abkasia', I heard him say 'Aksaba'.

    I may understand people who cares for only social wedge issues voting for him, but really don't see anyone else willing to pick such an unworthy candidate for the President

    OBAMA '08

    August 15, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Chris, NJ

    lol I personally would have pictured him more as an Eagles kind of guy. whatever works for him I suppose

    and for the guys criticizing him about talking about the naval academy.. you might have to look up the whole transcript for this because you don't know if he was asked a question where it became relevant such as "why did you start listening to them?" in which case his answer talking about the naval academy becomes perfectly relevant

    August 15, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  7. John from New York

    I really do not appreciate McCain's attempts at humor, especially during these troubled times.

    August 15, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. McCain=the draft

    War! War! War! Everything goes back to war with this dangerous, evil, little, man and the continual squeezing of his POW card!

    McCain's mental state should be a big consideration people!

    August 15, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Does this mean that his thinking stopped then too? I guess everyone likes something different, but to say that something stopped after getting shot down with a SAM is just plain silly and foolish.

    What else stopped when he was shot down besides flying an airplane? Did his brain stop thinking?

    August 15, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. mel

    McCain, made his money being underhanded.He can't be
    trusted.His lobbyist female friend is not being talk about.

    August 15, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. LaShanda

    Wait a minute? I thought we were talking about ABBA? I respect his service, but this guy is basically telling us that he is ENTITLED to the presidency because he was a POW. This is insane!

    August 15, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. PUMA 4 HILL

    ABBA's refreshing and gives memory to a lot of good times.

    McCain '08

    August 15, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. Anyone but these 2

    I'm no McCain supporter, but you're an idiot if you think a traumatic event like being shot down in a plane does not affect your life for a long time. People lose their loved ones and they never forget it, people are abused as children and it shapes the rest of their lives. Lay off the remarks that "you're tired of hearing about his military career." Everyone is defined by something. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about how many of you are short-sighted, insensitive hate mongers. I'm also tired of hearing "Time for change" without any actual proposals for change.

    Vote third party if you care about America's future. We need to see more options during these important elections.

    August 15, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  14. 18,000,000 plus the disenfranchised

    Good job McCain! CNN won't let me say any more!

    August 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. toto3

    Since we are faced with selecting the lesser of the evils in this election campaign, rather it be a conservative broken record rightwinger than a closet radical socialist leftist. Mr. Obama, Europe needs you, go now .

    August 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. v.a.

    "what's up with iraq?"

    "uhhhh, i like art!!"

    haha dumb

    August 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. cecil

    McCain joked. “I’ve got to say that a lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a "surface-to-air missile" with my own airplane and never caught up again.”

    Listen To The WAR Analogy. "surface-to-air missile"
    He's A Scaremonger.

    You McCain Supporters Can Have Him!
    Sen. McCain, Eats, Sleep and Thinks WAR.
    No Wonder People Call Him A Warmonger.

    August 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. J, Philly PA

    Well McCain supporters, here's some non-news for you in response to the Obama non-news.

    August 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Toby

    "A few minutes later, following a question about Iraq’s budget surplus, McCain turned back to his discussion of the finer things in life..." I guess important current events are beyond his scope – and beyond the limits placed on him by his handlers.

    August 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. Hello!!!

    I have officially decided to vote for McCain. I was going to possibly vote for an independent, or third party candidate, or just not vote at all......but DAVID GERGEN has just convinced me to vote for McCain.

    August 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. Hello!!!

    Lisa in Salt Lake. Wow.....that was horrible to say.

    August 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Larry in TX

    McCain said if there is anything he is lacking in, it is taste in music and art and other great things in life. I guess his taste is all in his mouth.
    I know he'll be lacking one more thing. My vote.

    August 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. Don

    I have to admit, I like how honest Mccain is. He speaks Mccain. Whether it comes out cheesy, awkward, funny or plain. He speaks Mccain and that is refreshing to see.

    August 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  24. MiddleRoad

    Is there any question he will answer without talking about crashing his plane?

    August 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. J, Philly PA

    "How come the media is not reporting that the Obama's are staying at a beach mansion "rent free" , this home is owned by a prominent Democratic contributor to Obama. The house is in a community that requires that rent be paid by non-residents. The non payment amounts to a "CONTRIBUTION" to Obama's campaign by a contributor who has already maxed out his contributions."

    -You are wrong on this, Obama DID pay rent to stay there and had no idea that the leasor was a campaign donator. I mean out of 2 million donors, it's pretty plausible he'd run into someone in Hawaii of all places who donated to his campaign.

    August 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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