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. Minnesotan

    Joe is a joke, a tool and a liar. He said he wanted to buy a business, but had no money to do it. He said he hated handouts, yet he was the recipient of a government handout. He said he was supportive of McCain/Palin, and then he bites the hand that made him a national joke. Why doesn't Joe just endorse an underwear line at Walmart and call it "Plumbers Cracks?" That's about the only way anyone will give this clown the time of day.

    December 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. fielding mellish

    All Dems are praying for a Palin-Wurzelbacher ticket in 2012.

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Jackie

    Take that McCain!

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. derek bradley

    i'm a union tradesmen from the same small city as this fool joe. did he think anything positive would come out of him(joe) opening his mouth. did this guy think, that if mccain won he would be appointed some sort of job under mccainn. insert foot in mouth and then back petal. don't feel sorry for ya JOE the nonplumber.

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Peter

    Sorry, but this is laughable. The guy wasn't even a qualified plumber. And isn't it a bit cheap to start criticizing McCain one month after the elections?

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Terry

    I can't believe we are still hearing about Joe the freaking plumber. Will this guy's 15 minutes never expire? It's laughable how he disses McCain as he sucks up to Sarah. What? Does he think she's gonna tag his sorry butt for running mate in 2012? That would be a scream; the airhead beauty queen and the lunkhead wannabe.

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. nhcountryboyz

    Yes, he's an attention-grabbing, tax-evading nitwit but he does add a little humor to current events. America's Favorite Blowup Doll has departed for Juneau and all of face four years of competent leadership, problem solving, integrity and full sentences without those delicious non-sequiturs-we NEED a bozo like Joe from time to time!!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. drahcir61

    Joe the Plumber endorses Sarah Palin ... what a revelation!!! A phony supporting another phony. Joe hasn't even completed the plumber's apprentice program he began in 2003 ... stop calling the guy a plumber!

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. PA Independent

    Is he for real? McCain is the real deal who might have had a chance at the presidency if he hadn't been forced to pander to right-wing zealots like Sam the Sort of Plumber. Seriously, we need to fix this country's education system!

    December 10, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Janese

    CNN do you just need anykind of news to keep your job? Joe the plumber is a joke, a fool, a moron, a loser, he and palin should be married they have so much in common!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. GOP Campaign Strategy

    Sarah Palin,Joe the Plumber, Joe Six Pack, boy can't wait until 2012, we are on the roll now! Throw in some guest appearances by Joe the Idiot , and we will be unbeatable.

    December 10, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Otis

    Oh I can see it now...

    Palin / Joe the Plumber in 2012.

    December 10, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What appalls me is that this guy is a tax dodger and disapproves of anyones tax plan, what a joke.

    December 10, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Paul Miles

    Glad I am part of the 99% that think this guy is so full of it, outside of a drug dealer this is the type of guy I hope my daughter does not bring home. I am from Canada but I have heard enough of this dog.

    December 10, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    You know, it is kind of scary that the Republicans would give this guy any kind of platform. He turned out to be a liar about who he was, what he did, and how fiscally responsible he himself was.
    But it doesn't surprise me about Glenn Beck– as long as you espouse his ultra right commentary, he'll put you on the air. The guy ranks right up there with nutcase Rush Limbaugh.
    So Joe thinks Sarah is the "real deal"– just what kind of deal would that be, Joe. Tell us what she stands for. Tell us how she answered any questions to your approval versus McCain. Tell us if you've paid your tax lien yet, Joe.
    Stunts like this are exactly why the GOP is in the trouble it is today. They have let a segmented ultra right group start to speak for them unchallenged. There's a big difference in being a "conservative" and being a "uninformed jello brain zealot ultra right conservative". Wake up GOP– get a handle on your own party!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. Ace

    Both Democrats and Republicans agree that Joe the plumber needs to Shut his hole

    December 10, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. Dave

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

    Well, he certainly was a tool...

    December 10, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Al Ram

    Joe the Plumber become Joe the Hater of John McCain!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Martin

    The 2008 campaign season will go down as the silliest – yet! – for him and Caribou Barbie. Please, pretty please, make them go AWAY!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. name

    What a selfish uneducated idiot!
    By the way, why do people still call him a plumber when he has no liscense to work as one? Doesn't that mean he is one of many scam artists who work in a profession that they lack education for?

    December 10, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Dave - Republican from NJ

    this guy is a piece of garbage – a lot of his thoughts and ideology are exactly what's wrong with this country.

    December 10, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. kerry d

    50 posts and not one with a good thing to say. Just a bunch of negativism. I am saddened by all of you. You people are what is wrong withthis country.

    December 10, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. GA Independent

    He felt "dirty"? So is that why he didn't show up at one of McCain's rallies? That was pretty funny to watch live... Another GOP airhead. Go Joe, Joe 2012.

    December 10, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Barnhardt in NC

    I am a Democrat who supported Obama 150% but let's not lose sight of the fact that John McCain is a man who has achieved much and served his country in many ways. Joe the plumber is a whiney nobody from nowhere who has been given a pulpit by the media.

    As if anyone cares what this loser has to say.

    December 10, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Leroy P.

    What a discrace to the plumbing industry. They happened upon the biggest idiot to wine and cry about something he has no clue about, we have really got to think about our society if this guy is the best we can produce.

    December 10, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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