(CNN) – Samuel Wurzelbacher, the Ohio Congressional candidate best known as "Joe the Plumber," said Thursday his status as an American citizen was qualification enough to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In an interview on CNN's "Early Start," Wurzelbacher said he had developed a new political awareness in the four years since his rise to fame as a backer of then-presidential candidate John McCain.
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"For the last four years I've gone around building houses, taking trees down, plumbing, and speaking at different events around the country encouraging Americans to really get informed on who they're going to vote for and stop voting on 30-second soundbites and make sure their vote counts and then really exercise their civic responsibility as an American," Wurzelbacher said.
Wurzelbacher rose to GOP fame in 2008 when he challenged then-presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama over his small business tax plan.
The confrontation quickly became a popular anecdote in the presidential election and was frequently used as a campaign message by Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Asked Thursday what qualified him to run for office, Wurzelbacher noted his active political involvement.
"What qualifies me, one, I'm an American citizen," Wurzelbacher said. "Two, I'm very much involved in the process of what's going on. I guess my question would be, what qualifies the current politicians who are killing our country – Republicans and Democrats alike."
He added he thought the qualification question seemed "silly."
When confronted with past statements proclaiming "queer" not to be a derogatory term and suggesting he wouldn't allow gay people around his children, Wurzelbacher accused CNN of asking a "gotcha question."
"So this is TMZ, this isn't CNN, is what you're saying," Wurzelbacher shot at host Zoraida Sambolin.
Pressed further to explain whether or not he still held the same views toward homosexuals, Wurzelbacher explained his focus was on improving the jobs picture for all Americans.
"I'm going to work towards all Americans – homosexual, straight. They want jobs. That's what it comes down to," Wurzelbacher said. "I'm allowed to have my opinions as an American but it seems the left has become very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state."
On Tuesday Wurzelbacher won a Republican primary in Ohio's 9th Congressional District. He will face Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in the House of Representatives, in the fall.