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

McCain rises to ABBA's defense

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    There is yet another opportunity of being shot over Georgia to increase his credentials in foreign policy.that is post graduate degree of POW. Failing to accept this challenge is tantamount to COWARDICE.

    August 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Jane

    He's a lot of "fun" for a warmonger.

    August 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. Jerry in Boston

    I suppose Obama's favorite ABBA song would have to be "I Have A Dream", seeing as he thinks he's the re-incarnation of MLK

    August 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. Ronnie in CT

    To all that complain "this is news?".....oh, give me a break....loosen up a little. Yes, there is war, and economic problems, and social issues...but I think its not so bad....on a mid-august friday ponder a bit about the glories of abba....I'm glad McCain fessed up to liking dancing queen....good for him....that song still gets me dancing.....makes me more keen to vote for him....maybe next week we'll find out that obama likes samatha foxe's "i wanna have some fun"....if thats the case, then its a toss up for me.

    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. ryan

    Are you kidding? Is this guy for real? Somebody get him a bib, blend his peas and carrots and spoon-feed him please. Then it's off to the shuffleboard courts, right after his nap.
    I keep trying to figure out the most important reason that I won't vote for McCain in November, but there are just too many choices. One of these, although not at all the most important, is the fact that he refuses to cease pointing out what a horrible fighter pilot he was. Somehow he manages to work that into every conversation he has.
    As for Barack Obama, I love the way he continuously compliments Americans by acknowledging that most of us are too smart to fall for the republican smear tactics, or to be swayed by their sound-bite politics. I also love that he appreciates and understands that, to a large extent, this election is not about him in particular, but about Americans finally recognizing a need for radical new directions and for a new movement in politics, both foreign and domestic. He understands this movement is bigger than him. Anyone who mistakes his enthusiasm and effort as arrogance really hasn't been paying attention, and is probably too ignorant to vote.

    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. George

    He better ease up on the shot down routine. Swift boaters go after that kind of stuff.

    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Linda

    He has to make everything about being shot down 40 years ago because that's all he has. Do we really want another stupid President?

    August 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Wander_SF

    What a strange article. Referring to one of the best selling musical artists in history as a "ridiculed act" and putting them in place as an issue in the U.S. presidential race. I don't know who CNN is hiring these days, but it looks like you could use some cutting back in staff.

    August 15, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Xavier

    McCain = Dancing Queen

    August 15, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. LA2NC

    Annoy the Media, Say NO to Obama August 15th, 2008 8:45 am ET

    By the way folks… Back to Hawaii for a minute.

    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.
    Please do some research before you post stupid stuff like this. It's been widely reported that unlike the Clintons, Obama is paying the full going rate for the rental property.

    August 15, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. Tim Johnson

    John McCain's life is an open book. We have known him for decades for his national service. He has accomplished much. He is an honest broker, and he has always kept his dedication to the USA foremost in his heart.

    Compare that with a candidate noone can figure out. Obama has no credible history. The information we learn about him is all very vague and confusing: no consistency in any position. One feels Obama's campaign is built basically on lies. He is a deceiver.

    August 15, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. NegSpin

    McCain lost all artistic sensibilities when he was shot down? That's quite a statement. It seems like that side of him would be aspects of his personality that would be necessary to be a good president.

    As for Abba, they're great. And Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" is great.

    August 15, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Anonymous

    His favorite music is Abba, he doesn't (can't) use a computer, doesn't send email, is constantly reliving Vietnam, hoping for redemption – this is the man who wants to lead this country into the future? How can anybody possibly take him seriously? This country is f'ed.

    August 15, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. White/female/age 55/Texan

    The National War College. That says it all.

    August 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. jady

    Mc Cain is a dancing queen lol

    August 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    First Paris Hilton, now "Mama Mia"...McSame, pop culture references are nice, but they won't win you an election...

    August 15, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  17. Stop the lies

    Hey, 'Annoy the Media' - Obama's paying rent for the house you mention; the story was already covered a while back. No reason to make up lies.

    I believe it is also mentioned that the owner of the property, while an Obama donor, was not directly involved in the arrangement. A rental company handled the details, and the Obama campaign wasn't even aware that there was a connection.

    August 15, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. SDindependent

    So is his entire foreign policy going to hinge on the time he impacted a missile with his plane?

    August 15, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    "They’ve been selling out for years.”

    Sounds friend.

    OBAMA 08

    August 15, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Deanna

    What? Now he's pandering to Queens everywhere? LOL Someone needed to tell him that even the queens have better taste and hate THAT song. Try again Johnny Boy but leave out the reference to your being shot's getting old and your beginning to really upset the Vets...over seas Vets contributed to Obama 6 to 1 would think you would at least be smart enough to figure some of this out on your own.....

    August 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. Jack

    ABBA is great...McCain finally makes sense. Than again..who cares?

    BTW, I am sure he had a great time at the Naval Academy ranking 894 out of 899 cadets (fact)..It must have been like animal house for him while everyone was studying.

    August 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Mike in NYC

    Rob Johnson wrote:

    "A President who would dumb our culture down even more than Bush?"

    All his negatives aside, I don't see how Bush has "dumbed down" our culture.

    Those responsible for the coarsening and cheapening of our popular culture are more than represented among the ranks of BO's supporters.

    As for BO’s brain - he may be smart, but he's no Bill Clinton.

    August 15, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. kg

    Can someone tell John McCain, largely gay men and their middle aged female best friends (aka hags) kept Mamma Mia alive on Broadway and in theaters. He's in good company is you ask me.

    August 15, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. It Be Me

    does EVERYTHING have to come back to "I'm a great war hero". They were talking about his taste in music (or lack there of) and it still comes back to "when I was"..........and then again "when I was at the Navy school"...yada yada yada....enough already. We all know you were in the service...we all know you were shot down.....we all know you were a POW.....and we all know that DOESN'T MEAN A FLIPPING THING when it comes to being President. You are so out of EVERYTHING.......Maybe you should spend some time NOW filling in some of the gaps in your education.

    August 15, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Daniel from FL

    OK I am sick and tired of McCain using everything as an opportunity to bring up his days as a POW. He plays that card entirely too much! That IDIOT Sean Hannaity on "Fixed Noise" even suggested that it was OK for him to cheat on his wife because he was "beaten and tortured for 5 years". At least Obama is faithful to his wife and family. This is ridiculous. Can McWar even talk about his taste (or absence thereof) in music without whining "I was a prisoner of war"? Ridiculous!

    Obama 2008/2012

    August 15, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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