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Cindy McCain as Miss Buffalo Chip?

August 5, 2008 |  3:11 pm

Vigilant Ticket readers know we always are on the alert for historic firsts. This presidential campaign has provided us our fill -- most recently, the chance to reflect upon the unprecedented age gap between the two major-party White House contenders.

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain addresses a sea of motorcycle enthusiasts at the annual Sturgis Rally in South Dakota Now comes another barrier shattered, noted by The Times' Bob Drogin.

As he delineates in a delightfully written piece elsewhere on, John McCain on Monday became the first presidential aspirant to attend the annual Sturgis Rally in South Dakota, an event dating back to 1938 that each year attracts hordes of enthusiasts for a week of celebrating biker culture.

The candidate basked in a warm welcome; as Drogin put it: "It was almost as if McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was a celebrity -- a dirty word in his lexicon since his campaign last week ran ads mocking rival Barack Obama for his celebrity status, comparing him to Britney Spears."

Along with making history with his appearance, McCain came close to breaking new ground as he introduced his wife, Cindy McCain (who, Drogin wrote, "wore the equivalent of a nun's habit here: black jeans and a long-sleeved shirt").

McCain, Drogin relates, told his rowdy listeners "that he had encouraged his wife to enter the annual Sturgis beauty contest, one in which nudity is not uncommon. ... 'I told her with a little luck she could be the only lady to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip,' he said with a broad grin."

Mrs. McCain has been doing yeoman work on the campaign trail. Just this last weekend, she expertly mingled with a NASCAR crowd at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania (and took a short spin in the pace car). Showing excellent judgment, however, she passed on her husband's latest suggestion.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press