December 10th, 2008
11:55 AM ET
6 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. gg

    Look, this guy was an idiot during the campaign, and he continues his merry little march thru the limelight. He sold out his soul for publicity and abandoned his fellow workers who had no chance to prosper under a McCain/Palin administration. He still thinks Palin was the real deal?? That just goes to show how smart he is. In a landslide, America disagreed with him. Oh well, his time is just about over, and he can settle back into his non-licensed plumber job and get on with his life. He got used by McCain, and even though he said he wanted to get "off the bus", he never did. Now it's time for him to get off the bus.

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. lmj

    The 15 minutes are up and "Joe" is stabbing the clock keeper in the back.

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Jason

    Yes, Viv, you are.

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. A

    looking for his addition 1/2 minute of fame

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. lf

    Perhaps Joe with his 'claim to fame' may run for political office even in his hometown. Some of these people have excellent ideas and abilities to do very much more from city council to higher office.

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Mark

    Funny he had nothing bad to say about McCain then. A month later he has no problem throwing him under the bus and jumping on the Palin bandwagon. Maybe she'll give him a job.

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Wally©

    Why didn't you come forward with this story earlier...

    You were awfully quick in calling the president-elect a 'socialist'...

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. Michelle

    Of course she is the real deal...she really IS an idiot!!

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Bravado in Boston

    Shouldn't he be home now, taking care of his child? And registering to votre? And paying his taxes? And....welll, nevermind.

    Let's just say this: Pot? Meet Kettle. Kettle? Meet Pot!

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. WENDY

    Who on God's green earth cares what this guy thinks?–Hey media,stop covering this person!!

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Lyndon from CA

    Hey Joe, have you paid your taxes yet?

    December 10, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. Lawrence

    Hey Joe, Your 15 minutes is up...go back to work!

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Aughhhh

    And his opinion matters because.........???????

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Iowa Mom

    Loser

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. Beerad

    This guy needs to go away already.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Mike G

    Who cares what this robot sheeple thinks about his robot sheeple candidate? Go get a plumbing license and get on with your life Mr. "Plumber" – a life that will be better now thanks to Barack Obama.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. david

    He is still trying to turn his 15 mins. of Shame into a big enough bank account he will not have to buy that plumbing business and work.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Ben

    Not worthy.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Sam

    This guy is a joke.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. a2

    Stop the insanity. This guy needs to fade away and find a sink that needs unclogging.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Old Dominion

    This guy is a first rate fool, and nobody cares about his political opinions other than the red meat frothing GOP acolytes. He'd rather have a complete nitwit run the country than someone who disagrees with his opinions despite having experience and evidence to do so.

    Maybe Bushie can hire him before Jan 20th

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Vickie

    He wasn't too appalled to stop making public appearances and trying to milk the situation for all it's worth.

    When does his album and book come out? :)

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. Jan

    Stick to plumbing. We don't want to hear from you any more.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. CT College Student.

    This guy is an idiot and needs to sit down and think about what he believes in before jumping in feet first. Viv, you got it right, he just doesn't want his 15 minutes to stop. Sorry joe, its not going to pay the bills or the back taxes, get back to being an unlicensed plumber.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Todd

    This bail-out stuff is akin to socialism. We found out that the companies that are "too big to fail" were not quite that big after all. We are bailing them out because they fudged the numbers or over leveraged themselves. We should let them fail, instead, we are rewarding failure. Its funny that we don't bail out everyone and get to hand pick those who are going to be saved. CEO's should be locked to a percentage of the salary of their lowest paid employees.

    December 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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