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. Danny

    wow, this guy really is a tool. let me help you with something joe, YOUR A PLUMBER.....your little bs of how you were going to purchase your own buisness and make over 250 k was one of the biggest lies cnn has ever heard. your 15 min of fame is up, get back under a sink trying to make 30 k a year, or if that doesn't work, just go jump off a cliff.

    December 10, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Gail

    Oh, dear Joe, please do just go away.

    December 10, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. JOHN S

    DUMB AND DUMBER

    December 10, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Winston Smith

    No wonder the Neo Cons loved Joe the Plumber so much...he's just like they are.....MORONS.
    Why the GOP made him their poster child is beyond anybody's imagination.
    I guess they had NOTHING else.

    December 10, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Anonymous

    They should change your name to Joe the "joke".

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Donnie

    Hmmm...sounds like a dream ticket for 2012.

    Palin / Wurzelbacher ' 12

    With a dream team like this....Obama won't even have to lift a finger to be reelected next term.

    Who's with me on that?

    I agree with everyone here...their fame is fleeting and they are trying to hold on and make the election last forever. Time to move on folks, there is nothing more to see here.

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Tom

    Joe The Plummer has been breathing way too much sewer gas. Climb back down your manhole and stay there.

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Tom Eyemdaman

    Jeez, you people are being hard on a guy who was thrust into the spotlight and decided to take advantage of it to represent conservative view points. He points out the fact that McCain was not conservative with respect to the bailout and you call him every name in the book and demean him without substantive viewpoints? I guess winning the election didn't do anything to your pathetic divisive attitudes. I pity the people who blindly follow their party without objective thought. I guess it's to be expected, though, with Obamamania still in full force.

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Pat

    Re: NY Veteran....talk about being a biggot. Like the pot calling the kettle black.

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Joe Imdanews

    Joe Who?

    Funny how the news media made this idiot into news, and now keeps bringing him back on slow news days. What this guy knows about tax plans, economics, and/or politics could barely fill a thimble.

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. LawDog

    Repubs...please....keep having people like this guy and Sarah Palin be the "face" of your party....PLEASE!!!!! It makes it easier for people to see how far you have fallen and how deliusional you all have become!

    December 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Who really cares about this guy, and why does anyone give him an ounce of credibility?!? The guy is now opposed to what he deems 'socialism' when he was a beneficiary of such programs.

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Gerald

    Howard...you said it all! Besides...how many plumbers make $250k?

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Buster

    Who cares what this weenie thinks? Yeah, Palin is indeed the real deal for those republican robo-lemmings who wallow in their unquestioningloyalty to an icon of deliberate ignorance like it is a badge of honor. Go home Joe, to your Joe-job and enjoy the benefits a real leader is already bringing to America.

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Renee

    Maybe he should write a song about it..

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. cj

    Who cares?

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. snugglebunny

    This guy really just wants that 16th minute.

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Anonymous

    This man is an opportunist.

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. JB

    14:57 ... 14:58 ... 14:59 ... ..

    December 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Bob Dog

    Its great entertainment to see the cheap, superficial, naive, stupid, and self-serving behavior that hallmarked the entire John McCain campaign. Its so much fun to see it all fall apart. Its scary, however, to think that tens of millions of people voted for McCain.

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. nancy, southeast texas

    The news media needs to stop covering this guy and spend their resources on the coverage of truly newsworthy events.

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Real Change

    Well I'm glad CNN has finally reported what he thinks. I always try to hold off on forming a firm opinion on important issues until I've heard from economics expert Joe the Plumber.

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. Richard

    McCain is getting what he deserved by not "vetting" Joe, just like he didn't competently "vet" Palin. Based on public opinions in polls, saying that Sarah Palin is "the real deal" may not be a compliment.

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. Ricky

    Another one that should leave after Bush and Cheney...

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Rob

    Joe 'The Alledged Plummer" and John McCain are has-beens. Your 15 minutes of fame are up! Glenn Beck is a total tool, by the way.

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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