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. Carramia

    Joe the Plumber wouldnt know a real deal if a plumbing flange hit him on the head. Shows you how bright he is. Thinking Palin is worth a dingle doodle

    December 10, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Ray

    What a clown! Is anyone with any brains suprised by this idiot? Doubt it. Good luck, Joe. With all the brains you've displayed, you'll probably never get your 250 thousand.

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Anyone who supports Palin can't be to smart – two peas in a pod!

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Scott

    A big WHO CARES!? This man has proven to be a dope and an attention seeker. His opinion means nothing and he should not even be asked any questions.

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. creighton

    Can't we just Flush this guy away, he's as irrelevant as Sarah Palin.
    Why does the Main Stream Media keep pushing this crapola at us, when we are facing some of the worst times in our history. It's like they want us distracted as we slide into oblivion.

    CNN, is getting to be a Fox News wannabe, anything for ratings.
    It's pretty sad. Campbell Brown "No bias, No Bull", what a load, she's talking head with not much substance. Red meat issues, addressed so superficially it's laughable. Thank goodness for C-span and PBS.

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. wwf

    Good God! This man is a nobody! Who the hell cares what he thinks. The way the media and some brainless republicans treat this fool, you would think he is the comming of the next savior. He is a joke. Those who cover him are bigger jokes. Those who actually think this guys knows anything are the biggest jokes of all.

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. WhatTheHeck!!

    I just wasted one minute and :45 seconds of my life reading this article about this dumb truck!!!! Man it's a Wednesday!!!! I'll be better on January 20, 2009.

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. mark

    What an opportunist! Saw an "opportunity" with McCain, but since he lost, wants to distance himself from the guy. Probably hoping to be on the Palin 2012 ticket.

    December 10, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Jason

    This guy is not relavent anymore. He's a low income individual who supports measures to make the rich richer. He thinks because the republican party is the "tough guy" party that he needs to be a republican. I don't understand people like him. Why would you support a party that blatently supports measures to make the rich richer while doing nothing for middle income and low income individuals. Sometimes Perception out shines Reality. Joe the non-licensed plumber needs a reality check.

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. mominNY

    It still amazes me that people expected Sarah Palin to be more knowledgable about world politics than ANY previous PRESIDENTIAL candidate. She is a Governor and a good one. People thought Jimmy Carter was stupid too (because of the way he talked) and I believe he was one of the most well educated people we elected. What a shame.

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Wayne Mazorow

    I am appalled that what "Joe the Plumber" ithnks is considered newsworthy.

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Star in Fort Worth, TX

    And somebody really cares what this guy has to say...then and now?

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Tony

    I thought this man was back in his cave to hibernate.

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Derek B. Tulsa

    Palin/Wurzelbacher, the Republican dream ticket for 2012. Dream for the Democratic Party... He is simply noise, best he crawl under the sink.

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Steve in PA

    Why does anyone care what Joe thinks? Does he represent the opinion of the average working american? NO! He is just a loud-mouth. He has no special insite into anything. The entire premise of his fame is based on the lie that he would be penalized under Obama's tax plan. So thank you again, Glen Beck for trying to make us all stupid, and don't let facts or reality get in your way.

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. bt

    Why are people still calling him 'Joe the Plumber'?

    He's 'Samuel the heating and cooling technician.'

    December 10, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. A Boston

    You didn't jump off that bus soon enough joe. Amazing how now after the fact you're appalled. Get a life and get back to work! We all see your motivation here. Your candidate lost! You're now irrelevent!

    Beat it!

    December 10, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Michael

    Joe the Plumber has a lot of nerve talking about socialism when he has been on welfare TWICE. So back then, he didn't mind wasting my tax dollars when he benefited. Hey Joe, you plan on sticking to your conservative principles and paying back the money you owe from being on welfare? Also a radio station raised money to pay off Joe's tax lien and his plumbing license. Funny how Joe's conservative principles didn't matter then when it came to getting a "handout". CNN please print this and get the truth out.

    December 10, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. phatboy7

    Go away already...and take Palin with you. You're 15 minutes of fame timed out months ago.

    December 10, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. Phil, Ashburn, VA

    Why is it so hard to keep ths guy and Palin away? These people with an IQ level of 10 are driving me crazy.

    December 10, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. Eric

    I am "appalled" a serious news network report on this idiot.

    December 10, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  22. Davey O'

    Just who is this Joe the Plumb... er... Has Bee... excuse me... Just who is this Joe the Never Was anyway?

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. Patricia G, Houston, TX

    And one more thing..."he never felt comfortable being used as a tool" WHAT? He jumped at every opportunity to be the tool...even NOW! Give me a break...talk about something that is really appalling the D. L Hughley "Break the News" NOT FUNNY! INSULTING! I am appalled that CNN would stoop sl low as to hire this insulting so called comic to have a show so insulting while so many really FUNNY comedians are available. Just proves you want to keep up the negative images of blacks. D. L. Hughley does not represent Black America! Not hardley...

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. Phil in Toronto

    Why should anyone have the least interest in what this nitwit has to say. That is the ONLY question worth asking .

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  25. Mesa Mick

    There are two village idiots being reported on in this article...

    1. Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher and,
    2. Glenn "The Girlie-man" Beck

    Both are trying to be something they can never be – intelligent...

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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