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. donna4hillary

    i will take ABBA over rap music anyday. ABBA never wrote or sang a song that dissed women, law enforcement, whites etc etc etc. yea you can tell alot about the music that people listen to. wonder what obamas children are learning from the music they listen to. you can bet they arent listening to Bach or Chopin.

    August 15, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Obama 08

    Get your facts straight....Obama paid rent for the house he used for the vacation is Hawaii. Unlike McCant, he only has one house, not 9 or 10 like the McCants.

    August 15, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Maggie VT

    Hey, JM, don't speak for me, I didn't go see it and don't intend to. Speak for yourself.

    August 15, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Humphrey, MN

    How does CNN find the space to print this mindless, meaningless fluff but gives McCain a completely free ride when it comes to the idiotic and deeply troubling gaffes he makes on a nearly daily basis? Are there no CNN reporters with a shred of courage remaining?

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

    If being shot down is such an all defining moment for McCain why don't we know more about how it impacted him.
    He allegedly is quite closed mouth about it, except of course when he wants to look patriotic.
    Lets ask him the hard questions, like
    How has he dealt with the psychological effects of having been a POW ?
    What is his opinion on PTSD and how it should be treated?
    Does he still suffer from any of physical and psychological problems? If not, what has he done to help himself cope?
    By McCain's own admission, being a POW impacted his life greatly why wouldn't this be issue number one for the American public to know about.
    He discloses medical records and there isn't ANYTHING in there about his psychological health?

    August 15, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. LLM from MD

    To: ANNOY THE MEDIA.....

    GET A LIFE!! Sounds like jealousy to me....what's the problem here?

    August 15, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. Brian MacDougall

    Huh. All the guys I know who love ABBA are gay. Ask him about Cher next time, then we'll know for sure.

    August 15, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Tired of W, OH

    McCain:
    "Well, my favorite choice in music is blah, blah, blah. Did I mention I got shot down in combat?"
    "My favorite food is blah, blah, blah. I was a POW, you know."
    "Did you know that they call me the Maverick."

    It's getting old, old man.

    August 15, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Pat F

    More ageist comments from the "caring party", the Democrats. Makes me ashamed I was ever a Democrat – won't get fooled again!

    Vote for a man of honor, not an empty suit.

    McCain 08/12

    August 15, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Tyler in Raleigh

    I could care less what awful music he listens to (and ABBA is one of the worst), what matters is they ask the guy about Iraq............ "hey, know what band I like"??

    Answer the question, stop talking about music, your war experience (we know, you like war) and celebrities. I don't care if the President is well received in Europe (as if that is a bad thing), all I want to know is WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO?

    August 15, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Uncle Fester

    Gee, Obama runs to Hawaii at the same time that Edwards
    admits his affair. No coincidence there. (wink, wink)

    Gee Michelle, why is it that Edwards adultery is an issue
    for Obama, and McCain's adultery is not an issue for McCain
    (wink wink)

    August 15, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. pat

    **********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.*********

    Is this all you have?

    August 15, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Geronimo

    He should have kept his mouth shut about ABBA. Then again, I don't think there are many polititians out there who have good taste in music.
    Even if McCain were a paraplegic, he'd still be 100 times better than Bambi. Heck, any one of the muppets would do a better job than that naive little affirmative action Presidential wannabe.

    August 15, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Sampsonite

    “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.”

    I gotta say, the man can beat a dead horse alright...
    I'd like to add; it's interesting that he always says he impacted the missile when in fact, he was not a good enough piolet to avoid being shot down in reality seems more likely the case.

    August 15, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Tony from Torrington

    It is painfully apparent that the only people, with the exception of moi-même, who submit comments to CNN are young, un informed, liberal democrats who need to get an education by researching history and not by listening to liberal professors who studied liberal arts and nothing else. Attacking the administration, Bush and McCain may get you in print on the CNN blogs, but it only reinforces your ignorance.

    August 15, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Nova

    Over it's life time, ABBA sold hundred million dollars worth of records.

    August 15, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Pam

    Don't tell me...McCain is also a big fan of Air Supply.

    August 15, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. J. Sully, New York

    Hey MIchelle,
    Dirt on Edwards doesn't not equal dirt on Obama. They will never I repeat NEVER find any dirt on Obama cause there isn't any. No matter how much they try, the losing repubs can't find anything. they have to use "celebrity" and AntiChrist ads against him cause they have NOTHING. I repeat NOTHING.
    As far as the ABBA thing, I knew John McCain had bad taste in music just by listening to him talk.

    August 15, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Matt

    McCain was shot down in 1967. He was released from prison in 1973. "Dancing Queen" was released in 1976. Why is he using his failure as a pilot as an excuse for liking ABBA? Can't he just be honest for once and not hide behind his old war stories?

    August 15, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Proud to be American

    Out of the mouth of the grumpy old man he is out of touch... he goes way back to pick a artist that is not even American.... HUM.... that states a lot... the choice of one music has no bearings on their policies that they promote and we all know McCain voted 95% with Bush .... and look at the mess we are in now... Russia is flexing and we can not do a thing about it as Bush looked in his president eyes and..... you know the rest. Heck might as well say that McCain looked into his eyes 95% of the time too... folks give it up .... do not judge these Presidential canidates on their choice of music it is deeper then that .... follow the money trail (where they are getting finance from) and their stance on the issues ..... then you will see for sure ..... Obama 08 &12

    August 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Paula Diane

    God no wonder he is so crabby all the time.. can this man get anymore out of touch??? Nerd war monger..Nice!

    August 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Sean Micheals

    Fluff to be sure but I, like ABBA too. Must be my fond memories of apple bottoms in those Jordache jeans.

    August 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Big D

    SIGH – A previous poster made one more false claim about Obama. A Politico story already gave info about where Obama is staying in Hawaii and clearly indicated that Obama is paying rent, and went through an agency to find a place, so is not connected to this moderate donor. So enough with these stupid false smears.

    August 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Annie

    Funny how some people will decide because he likes Abba, he won't get their vote. That is nothing more than a comment from a non McCain supporter in the first place. I love Abba as well. So what? I also like the BeeGees, Celione Dion and prefer the sounds of the tunes of years ago coming over my stereo rather than the undistinguishable sounds of today. Funny how it's sport and perfectly acceptable to tear apart McCain for anything and everything about his life and about his character but it is almost illegal to speak ill of Obama in any fashion over anything he has done in his past . Once again a double standard rears its ugly head. And McCain talks about his military career as much as John Kerry did, so what!

    August 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. al

    *********************************************

    C'MON MCCAIN TRY SOME HIP HOP. THEN FOLD YOUR ARM, TILT BACK, WITH A BANDANA ON YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY WAHUP PLAYA. YOU WON'T GET MY VOTE BUT IT WOULD BE FUNNY.

    August 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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