December 10th, 2008
11:55 AM ET
6 years ago

Joe 'The Plumber' 'appalled' with McCain

Joe 'The Plumber' Wurzelbacher said he was 'appalled' with some of what McCain said.
Joe 'The Plumber' Wurzelbacher said he was 'appalled' with some of what McCain said.

(CNN) – With the dust still settling from the 2008 presidential race, one of its biggest celebrities lashed out Tuesday at the man who made him famous.

Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, the Ohio voter who challenged President-elect Barack Obama on his tax plan and later became a hero of John McCain's presidential bid, said Tuesday he felt "appalled" at some of his interactions with the Arizona senator, and soon felt the need to ditch his campaign.

Speaking with conservative talk-radio host Glenn Beck, Wurzelbacher said he was specifically at odds with McCain's support over the massive $700 billion bailout, a measure many conservatives opposed despite McCain's attempts to shepherd the bill on Capitol Hill.

“When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen,” Wurzelbacher told Beck. “I asked him some pretty direct questions,” he continued. “Some of the answers…they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry.

"In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him."

Wurzelbacher rocketed to stardom during the third and final presidential debate, when McCain referenced the Ohio plumber's direct challenge of Obama's tax proposals. On an Obama campaign swing shortly before that debate, Wurzelbacher approached the Democratic presidential nominee while cameras rolled and challenged the candidate over his plan to raise taxes on those making over $250,000. Wurzelbacher said that could mean his taxes would go up if he ever achieved his goal of owning a plumbing business.

McCain jumped at the opportunity to use Wurzelbacher as a symbol of all small business owners who could potentially be penalized under Obama's plan, and his name was repeatedly invoked by both the Republican presidential nominee and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

But Wurzelbacher never appeared completely comfortable being used as a tool of the McCain campaign, and notably failed to show up at one campaign rally - prompting the Arizona senator to embarrassingly call out to him to no avail.

Despite his disappointment with McCain though, Wurzelbacher praised Palin as "absolutely the real deal."


Filed under: Joe the plumber
soundoff (584 Responses)
  1. oliver

    This country is not a direct democracy, we elect representatives who legislate for use. Good for McCain for not pandering to idiots. If the majority of people are against Social Security (like JTP) or the 14th Ammendment, does that mean politicians should over-turn them? I would have voted for McCain had he simply told said Plumer or Glen Beck they were idiots. Just because you hold an opinion, that alone does not make it valid. Long live representative government!

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. America's standard

    Is now clear that Keith on MSNBC has been right about "Joe the plumber" all along...this guy is a complete FRAUD. Imagine him now trashing Sen McCain and praising Palin...Palin can never compare herself with the achievements of Sen McCain in all areas from earmarks, bridge to nowhere, Russia, Interviews, coherent sentence even to pledge to support the new administration.
    Its sad that Sen McCain made two Bozos from zero to prominence and now they are trashing him

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. J.

    Somebody tell this guy his 5 minutes are up and to go back to his day job...and take Sarah Palin with him!

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. chris

    Go to Alaska with palin- you two can eat moose chili together forever.
    Really getting sick of this guy.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. mIke from LA

    WHO!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. tom

    "never appeared completely comfortable being used as a tool"? but he IS a tool! come on!

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. jo

    Why does anyone find this man time???
    He does does not know what a bailout plan means.

    He is just angry he did not get paid the 250K he was promised.

    what a fool and a lier.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Don

    So now that Joe the Plumber knows what McCain is all about....suddenly he's not as impressed with him. Maybe you should look into what someone stands for before hopping on the band wagon just because of thier political affiliation.

    He still likes Palin though....that is, until he gets a chance to talk to her too. Well...IF Palin will answer his questions, she tends to like to answer the questions that she wants to, just like she stated in the VP debate.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Scott

    Who cares what this guy thinks!!! I don't get it, I didn't get it, and I will never get it.....why the media is giving this guy attention????

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. J

    I'll be worried if an unlicensed plumber with bad debt ever starts making over $250k in the plumbing business.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Scy

    What a loser

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Brad

    Let's not forget the plumber never had a plumbers license, didn't pay his taxes and the coumpany he sought to own never earned over $250K. This guy is a fraud and quite frankly, the McCain campaign lost because of this oversimplification of what he believes is middle America.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Defense Secretary McCain

    Ok, he's officially over.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. michael

    Please tell me why anyone at all cares what this guy thinks?

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. Nel

    Wow...really trying to strech out those 15 mins

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. L.

    A complete waste of time!

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Mike

    Go away – your 15 minutes are up. Who cares what Joe thinks – I think its funny that he disses the one person who brought him this attention. Now he thinks he's qualified to determine what's right for our country

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. Ryan

    couldn't agree more. totally greedy for coverage.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. BWaters

    "Despite his disappointment with McCain though, Wurzelbacher praised Palin as "absolutely the real deal."

    Hmmm. What else can be said? Small minds think alike.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Luna

    Conservatives are suppose to take this guy seriously? Where is the big red nose, colorful curly wig, and big goofy shoes? And Palin is "'The real deal'"? Please!

    He is causing a greater divide amongst the GOP, who is already struggling to rebuild itself. And as good as a part of that makes me feel, I would still much rather have an opposing party who understands issues and why decisions are made to help rectify them. If this plumber thinks it's OK to pocket his cash based business and avoid taxes all together then that's quite un-American. These bailouts, as flawed as they can be, are designed to keep American-American-American jobs afloat. What does he think should be done?

    He is nauseating to put it kindly.

    December 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Mark

    Get over it.

    December 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. cynthia

    this guy is a trip – you praise sarah palin and down talk mccain....sarah palin is no where near ready to be president at all – i hope she can learn what she needs to learn in the next four years but she needs to have a clear understanding of it that i don't think she can do in 4 years!!!! mccain however is a great man and was forced to vote for the bailout to keep the economy going – so joe – just be a plumber or whatever you are and stop putting you 2 cents into everything – Obama is a great man and McCain is a great man....Sarah needs to learn more and she may end up doing pretty good but she is just not ready – i'm sorry to say

    December 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. erick in al

    he should just go somewhere and hide and never return. whywould he be "afraid" of an Obama presidency? I was scared of a Mccain presidency. We would definately have had more unneeded wars, and he had no clue on the economy, and the fact that Palin was a half of a heart beat away. My God, that's scary.

    December 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. scorp

    Get out the old hook and get this clown off the stage.

    December 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. SAD SAD

    imagine...Is now clear that Keith on MSNBC has been right about "Joe the plumber" all along...this guy is a complete FRAUD. Imagine him now trashing Sen McCain and praising Palin...Palin can never compare herself with the achievements of Sen McCain in all areas from earmarks, bridge to nowhere, Russia, Interviews, coherent sentence even to pledge to support the new administration.
    Its sad that Sen McCain made two Bozos from zero to prominence and now they are trashing him

    December 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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