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. Tyng

    Joe (dumb) and CNN (dumber) for wasting pixels on him. Rocket to stardom? like Kato Kalin and William Hung?

    CNN should be glad Glen Beck is gone.

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Joyce E Neal, Antioch, TN

    Look, this man is trying his best to remain in the spotlight (as is Gov Palin). Please stop giving into his request for media attention. And could you please remember that he is not a plumber, that fact did come out when the media did an investigation into his background. He is still wanting his 15 minutes of fame to continue. He is a liar and is hoping to rebound in a different direction. He happened to side with the losing team with hopes of skyrocketing to the top had McCain/Palin won. Well, they lost and please try to find a way for "Joe the Plumber" to get LOST!!

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Michelle, PA

    Can we please just let this guy go back to his normal life and let us not have to hear about him ever again? Please?

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Jess

    I think it's time for Joe to go back to his job... which I thought was plumbing, not politics. If I want to know what the average American thinks... I'll ask my neighbor, or my father, or myself!

    ~Jess

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Dee G. - CT

    OMG! Please – your 5 minutes of fame is over – go away!

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. JJ

    Go away. The election is over.

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. carlo

    What have the Republicans come to when THIS guy speaks for their base, along with dimwit Palin? This is not a game. This is a country to run, and for anyone to have thought that a woman who took 6 years and 5 colleges to graduate with a 2.2 gpa and has an I.Q. of 85 could be a heartbeat away from the presidency has space dimension.

    Joe was appalled by McCain but thinks Palin is the real deal? I mean, McCain isn't my favorite person, but I would have felt a lot more comfortable with him in the White House than Palin.

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. John

    "absolutely the real deal." lol yeah.. If Palin was a middle aged man she would be making biscuits at mcdonalds. She can attribute all of her success to her pretty face and nothing more.

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. julie

    Good grief...Take the ALASKA DIMWIT and just go away.

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. CB2

    Oh give me a break!!! This "faux" plumber supposedly challenges President Elect Barack Obama, meanwhile he was challenging John McCain behind the scenes.

    That entire campaign was an absolute JOKE!!! And so is Joe "The Book Writing Plumber" and Sarah "I'm not running in 2012" Palin.

    Sore Losers!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. gail

    Joe, it's over, go and crawl back into your hole. You got your taxes paid and a few new shirts, so go away.

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Tward

    Isn't his time about up? Do we really nedd to hear any more from Joe?

    December 10, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. Eric

    I am glad McCain used him, got both of them far...

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. An American

    Time for Joe the plumber to go fix some sinks.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. ndlily

    If this is the new Republican party, I'll take the old. They were cold, they were ruthless, and they were calculating. But at least they were intelligent. If Joe and Sarah are what we are left with as the "great heroes" or the "real deal" (ala Joe), I see a very long and prosperous future for the Democrats.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Triggidy

    Don't bite the hand that fed you, Sam the Plant.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Linda

    Why is this newsworthy? Who cares about Joe the Plumber. Ignore him, and he'll go away. There are far more important things happening in the world that need our attention.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Anonymous

    He's still alive?

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. AndyB

    You aren't the only one apalled Joe. Whats even more appalling though is Palin and 8 years of Bush. Now thats appalling.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Robert - Florida

    Hey Joe...go get your plumbing licence!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Samuel

    Can anyone smell political plumber. I do.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Tyler

    Palin's the real deal? Wait... what?

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. tina from atlanta

    ENOUGH OF THIS FAKE PLUMBER! I agree Viv he is an attention seeker. Now he is displaying the fake support that he had with John Mccain. He is something.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Joe the Douchebag

    who cares

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Larry

    who care what Joe thinks? When he's not uninformed, he's misinformed. He opinions are worthless.

    December 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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