December 10th, 2008
11:55 AM ET
5 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. Saad from NJ

    WOW!!! This guy or lack thereof is actually smarter than I thought he was. He knows McCain is toast. He also knows Palin still stands a chance. So now he is ditching McCain and saying Palin is the real deal!! Smart ***, isn't he?

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. Eric - Pittsburgh

    The thing thats appalling is how Joe is bashed left and right because he dared asked the great Messiah a question about his tax plan, who responded with "spread the wealth". I'll tell you what, he sure is right about this bailout mess. What are banks using the money for? Buying out small companies to increase market share instead of loaning it. Let 'em fail folks... it will be tough times for all for a while, but its better than the socialist path we are trodding down.

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. will

    Hey "Joe the Economist" – which stocks should I buy? Also, do I need a haircut?

    December 10, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. hope

    What kind of Repulican are you?!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Dennis

    How is this guy even relevant any more? Aren't his 15 minutes up?

    December 10, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. Eddie B.

    Why is this guy still in the news? Nothing he said about himself was true. He is not a licensed plumber. He was not trying to buy his company and even if he did it would not make over $250K a year. The biggest issue is that he had a lot of nerve asking about tax plans when he is in the rears for his own. Pay your taxes, Joe! He was another prime example why McCain lost so badly because they thrusted this idiot in to the limelight. They even had him taking foreign policy questions about Israel. What a joke! He has been trying to capitalize on this hype and he is an idiot.

    December 10, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Nick

    Go away.

    Appalled? I was appalled a candidate would use a person like you to help themselves. I'm appalled that you think you represent all of the workers in America. Maybe I'm too "white collar" for you.

    December 10, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. RMA

    PLEASE stop giving this tool a platform. Just ignore him. Don't feed the beast!

    December 10, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. joel palmer

    Palin and Wurzelschmucker; yeah, that's the ticket!

    December 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. bill, alabama

    Joe the plumber and John McCain's fifteen minutes of fame is long past being used up.

    Now someone needs to convince Sarah Palin that her time has run out also.

    God help us if any of these people continue to serve the people of this country in any governmental role.

    December 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. huh ?

    I thought the election was over.....

    December 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Mike

    Palin the real deal? Your kidding , right? go fix a toilet or something. Your opinions have done enough damage.

    December 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. Andrea/ CA

    Maybe he should move to Alaska. I don't ever want to hear or see him.
    He is not all there in the head. Good bye Joe the dumber...

    December 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. slowCNNnewsday

    Just like the rest of us being "appalled" with you, you idiot!

    December 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Joyce Stringer

    Joe the Plumber has got to be one of the most ignorant and oportunist persons ever. He knows little about what is really happening with the economics of this country however, he jumped on the McCain bandwagon anyway...just to promote his ignorant self.

    December 10, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Jamie

    You have GOT to be kidding me... I mean, okay, I understand that it took Joe the Plumber this long to realize that McCain was a complete idiot and had absolutely no plan for America other than throwing money at our problems (money that we don't have, by the way)... but saying that Sarah Palin is the 'real deal'???
    UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    Go Obama! :)

    December 10, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. Ian

    Why would anyone care what Samuel (Joe) has to say? That Glen Beck would even have him on says as much about Beck as Wurzelbacher. Bird brains of a feather . . .

    December 10, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Proud American from New England

    Joe is a TOOL.

    December 10, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Ashley

    Funny, because while the campaign was going on, Joe the plumber was the man! Now we can actually believe Joe had his own agenda.. and the GOP picked him up and made them the face of his campaign, and some of the policies mad him mad? Am I surprised? no ...

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Don Rydberg

    This comes from a man who says he would not buy a busness because he would pay less taxes on his first $250,000 of income and an additional $3,000 in taxes if he made an additional 100,000 by his income going up from $250,000 to $350,000.

    For most of the working folkes they would be glad they would have a chance at paying the extra $3,000 and making $350,000.

    I can't understand why the argument has any traction with anyone but it seems to have some credibility.

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. Tobias

    It'd be nice to know what Joe found appalling about McCain's answers, but I don't expect any details from this guy. I'm still waiting for his explanation of how Obama's victory will cause the death of Israel.

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Josh

    Does anyone actually care what this idiot thinks?

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. no trickle down...

    - praised Palin as "absolutely the real deal."

    LOL! Oh really?

    Well that just about says it all, doesn't it.

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. LIP

    Bite the hand that feeds you.
    Well, he had his 15 minutes of fame and it must not have been enough...what about a book deal titled "Plumbing Made Easy", by ex plumber, Joe the Plumber.

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. wazu

    "But Wurzelbacher never appeared completely comfortable being used as a tool of the McCain campaign"

    But Wurzelbacher IS A TOOL!!!!

    PALIN IS THE REAL DEAL???

    But Wurzelbacher IS AN IDIOT!

    December 10, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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