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. itbeme

    good grief....

    THE ELECTION IS OVER PEOPLE!

    get over it already. Who cares what Joe the idiot thinks.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Chris

    seeker of attention.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Meli

    Joe the idiot. I bet McCain hated having to pander to this moron.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. jenn

    joe i think your 15 minutes are up. go away already.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. jolene

    He is jumping ship because mccain lost. He is ridiculous. He is not worthy of a news article CNN!

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. 2012

    A Sarah-Joe ticket in 2012?

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Tim

    Isn't this guy's 15 minutes up yet??

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Dave C - NJ

    This guy is a reproabte. He got famous by complaining (i.e., lying) to Obama about taxes he will never pay on money he will never earn. Pathetic.

    I agree that the bailout was a mess, however this guy loses even more credibility with his praise of that clown Palin.

    Palin/Joe the Plumber 2012? LOFL

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    And why do we care what this schlep thinks? Maybe he can be Boob Palin's VP???

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Lin

    Why would anyone care what Joe has to say about anything?

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Hmm

    I suspect that if McCain had won, the plumber would have made different comments. I didn't vote for McCain, but I hate turncoats. Nobody knew the plumber before McCain introduced him to the country, and now he using his "fame" to tear McCain apart. Go back to unplugging drains Joe.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Andrew

    Listening to "Joe the Plumber probably made McCain want to get off the bus too. Democrats should hope for a Palin/Wurzelbacher 2012 ticket! Obama wouldn't even need to campaign against that! Good grief.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. proud liberal in Texas

    Why is anybody still interviewing this moron? With people like Joe the Plumber and Sarah Barracuda the republican party has been dumbed down to the point it's crumbling under the weight of its own stupidity.
    The intellectuals of the party, the thinking wing of the party, have been alienated by loudmouth college dropouts like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Karl Rove, and the keys to the prison have been turned over to the inmates.
    If the republican party expects to make a comeback they need to ditch people like Joe the Plumber and that governor from Alaska.

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. Wally

    "...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."

    Joe, as a small plumbing business owner, do you really think that you will make over $250K a year? You are worried about taxes on that income? Joe, if you were to make that amount, which I truly doubt is possible after all expenses, you should pay more in taxes simply because you are making the money. What is this guy thinking?

    December 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Ashley from indiana

    just another person who wants to be in the spot light, i wonder if glenn beck asked him about him not even being a plumber, man this is a funny story but also a stupid story

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. adder

    Why is the media giving this attention-monger any press?

    And just how easy is it to say "I knew he was a loser" when the person has already lost?

    Total scum.

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. AMB

    Seriously?? This guy's opinion is important enough to put on the front page of cnn.com? I didn't vote for McCain, but this article is laughable–who cares what he thinks? He really thinks his opinion matters?

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Brandon In NC

    Who cares about this guy! I have no clue why this is even news

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. Jody in St. Louis

    Who Cares? Your fifteen minutes of fame are so OVER.

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Matt

    Who cares what this plumber says. Now we have to listen to him opine about the financial bailout? Next he will be on Larry King talking about what our strategy for removal from Iraq is.

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. ET from Omaha

    Oh yeah another stupid opportunist, ideologist republican.
    Why are you still talking about some uneducated fools who know nothing about the economy or the mess the economy and the country is in right now?
    Who likes bailouts but do we have a choice? This "no" sayers will rather see the country in total choas. I hope he got fired from his so call plumbering business and he will understand the reality.
    He can run as Sarah Palin VP in 2012 to form a team of uneducated for America.

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. jeff

    why are we hearing about this guy?

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Tim

    "On an Obama campaign swing shortly before that debate, Wurzelbacher approached the Democratic presidential nominee while cameras rolled"...

    That is an incorrect statement – Obama approached him. Stop twisting the truth.

    December 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Snidomite

    Stupid is what stupid does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  25. JP

    This guy is the male version of Palin – uninformed, stupid, moronic and pretending to be something he's not on subjects way way over his head. No wonder he thinks Palin is the "real deal" ... she thinks and talks at his low level.

    December 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
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