October 15th, 2008
09:46 PM ET
6 years ago

Who is Joe the Plumber?

Obama campaigns in Holland Ohio
Obama campaigns in Holland Ohio

(CNN) – Joe the Plumber was the star of the final presidential debate on Wednesday night. But who is he?

Watch: Obama meets 'Joe the plumber'

Last weekend, while Barack Obama was canvassing for support in the small town of Holland, Ohio, the Democratic nominee ran into a tall, bald man, since dubbed Joe the plumber. He asked Obama if he believed in the American Dream — he said he was about to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year and was concerned that the Democratic nominee would tax him more because of it.

Obama explained his tax plan in depth, saying it’s better to lower taxes for Americans who make less money, so that they could afford to buy from his business. John McCain attacked Obama for this exchange, saying the Illinois senator is trying to “spread the wealth around.”

“We're going to take Joe's money, give it to Senator Obama, and let him spread the wealth around. I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around,” McCain said. He added, “Why would you want to increase anybody's taxes right now? Why would you want to do that to anyone, anyone in America, when we have such a tough time?”

Joe the plumber was mentioned 11 times at the beginning of the debate, nine times by McCain and twice by Obama.

Watch: Voters sour on 'Joe the plumber' story


Filed under: Presidential Debate
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Jen from IN

    what about Jennifer the unemployed mother

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Dem in PA

    Seriously? McCain is mocking Obama for having concern about nuclear waste? We sailed nuclear subs around the ocean and never had a problem...what the???? It is frightening to watch him when he gets dug into an issue he clearly doesn't understand.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. AnIndependent

    As if McCain is concerned about Joe the Plumber! Bogus!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Grace Needed

    Senator Obama said Joe the Plumber would have been able to buy his business over 4 years ago had he got his tax breaks for small businesses then.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. Smarter than the GOP

    LOL @ the hillary supporter... too bad you couldn't grow up like the rest of them!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. White Christian Mother for Obama

    I dont think Palin is qualified... she didnt even know Russia was in a governors conference room!! She is clueless and blurts out bad things, she is riling up people in hatred.

    McCain is worse than Biden on Foreign policy... everything that biden has done has worked out and was right... McCain on the other hand... Iraq will be quick... WAS NOT QUICK... its like another vietnam war!! How many years have we been there now??? Why are we so in debt and stock markets falling?? because of all the money we owe for IRAQ!!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. Theresa

    Opportunity for McCain to not discuss the issues. He is grabbing at straws. He has nothing left.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. April Crespin

    I am so tired of McCain he is so boring, and senile. If Amercian people elected we are going ot be in BIG trouble. Also, Sarah Palin is a the wrong direction for the company.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Joe Sixpack

    McCain/Palin – The only Americans for the job!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Rich H

    wow. . .name calling is really professional!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Citizen

    Joe the plumber is some sorry ruddy poot dude that had nothing better to do then hang out at a polictical rally. Joe get back to work.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. Tim

    McCain is wrong on every issue except nuclear power.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Jane T, Williamsburg, VA

    Obama is on the defense. Aw, err....huh, etc. McCain is doing a better job tonight, but he still needs to get nastier with the Obamara.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  14. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Joe the plumber will get a tax break as a SMALL BUSINESS. Under Obama.

    Once he becomes a big business, he'll pay more taxes. Read your factcheck stuff every now and then.

    Voting early for Obama tomorrow.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. changein08

    Problem is that McCain wants Joe to keep his money in his pocket. Spread the wealth...doggone right Obama because Joe is not going to spread any wealth under McCains plan. Instead of hiring more people Joe will probably keep that money in his pockets. Trickle down theory does not work.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. Richie

    Drilling isn't going to do a gosh darned thing. I wish big O would drop that.

    O's so calm and collected. How many blinks per minute for McW? Count 'em while big O is talking.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. lou in ottawa

    McCain tried to make Joe the plumber sound like Joe Sixpack – a new republican tactic? – Maybe. But Obama correctly sticks to his plan and says if you make more than $250,000, youre not hurting as much as most. I agree.

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. gal, Ohio

    What McCain won't tell you, is Obama also spoke to a woman with a McCain sign in her yard while he was out canvasising. After she spoke with Obama she went out and threw the sign in the garbage and is now supporting Barack Obama. Right on the same street as Joe the Plumber.

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
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