(CNN) – Could Joe the Plumber become Joe the congressman?
Joe Wurzelbacher, the most famous plumber in America thanks to John McCain and Sarah Palin, told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham Friday he's considering a run for Congress in 2010.
That would pit Wurzelbacher against longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for Ohio's 9th district on the state’s northern border, which includes Toledo and Sandusky. "I'll tell you what, we'd definitely be in one heck of a fight, Marcy Kaptur definitely has a following in this area," he said of the possibility. "But, you know, I'd be up for it."
Wurzelbacher's chances would likely be slim. Kaptur has served in the district for 25 years, and remains a popular figure there. She won reelection in 2006 with nearly 75 percent of the vote and is expected to easily sail through another reelection this year.
But Wurzelbacher, who gained fame after he challenged Barack Obama on his tax plan earlier this month, has attained a certain rock-star status in the Republican Party and his entrance into the race would likely be greeted with instant excitement and media coverage.
Ingraham herself said she would immediately volunteer for his campaign and help him with campaign advertising and PR. Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee said they would welcome Wurzelbacher's candidacy with "open arms.”
"We support Joe the Plumber and people like him everyday with our support for lower taxes and energy independence," NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said.
But a spokesman for Kaptur told CNN Wurzelbacher is already off on the wrong foot.
"We just had another big layoff at the jeep plant, another 800 workers," Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought said. "So embracing Bush-McCain economics is kind of a strange way to launch your campaign. I'd have to question that strategy"
(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign trail encounter with Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher continues to play a prominent role in Sen. John McCain’s economic message during the final weeks of the race for the White House.
McCain’s new television ad, “Sweat Equity,” begins with footage of Obama’s exchange with Wurzelbacher, now known simply as “Joe the plumber,” followed by images of would-be voters declaring “I’m Joe the plumber.”
“I'm supposed to work harder... Just to pay more taxes. Obama wants my sweat to pay for his trillion dollars in new spending?,” the ad’s script also says.
The McCain campaign says the 30-second spot will air in “key states.” The ad follows up on a Web video launched last week that also features the Wurzelbacher exchange with Obama .
(full script of “Sweat Equity” after the jump)
The Statement: Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, speaking at a rally in St. Charles, Missouri, on Monday, October 20, said "Joe the Plumber," an Ohioan who has become a central figure on the campaign trail, "didn't ask for the political attacks on him from the Obama campaign."
Get the facts!
(CNN) – He went from being an average plumber in small town Ohio to a talking point in a presidential debate. Now, a new group is asking “Joe the Plumber” to run for Congress.
With the slogan, “plunge the crap out of Washington,” Trevor Lair, chairman of the Massachusetts College Republicans, launched a website on Friday to try to get Joe Wurzelbacher to run for Congress. The Web site calls on visitors to sign a petition to show support for what Lair hopes will Wurzelbacher’s congressional bid.
"Washington, DC is broken and it needs to be fixed. Joe Wurzelbacher has a real-world perspective and the right attitude to clean up the mess on Capitol Hill,” Lair said.
Lair is aiming to get thousands of signatures to put Wurzelbacher on the ballot against Rep. Marcia Kaptur of Ohio, whom he called a “tax and spend liberal.” Lair praised Wurzelbacher for standing up to “big-government socialism” and said he would be the right candidate to fight for working class Americans.
Wurzelbacher received intense media attention after John McCain pointed to his encounter with Barack Obama in his home town of Holland, Ohio last weekend. His name was mentioned dozens of times during a presidential debate on Wednesday night.
From left to right: Will Croswell, of the Washington D.C. area; Andrew Butash, of Scranton, Pennsylvania; Byron Hodkinson, from Melbourne, Austrailia; and Charlie Smith, also from the Washington D.C. area, greeted Sen. Obama in Virginia Friday. (Photo Credit: Sasha Johnson/CNN)
ROANOKE, Virginia (CNN) - The new symbol of the McCain campaign: the plunger.
As Democratic nominee Barack Obama pulled into the Roanoke Civic Center on Friday, he was greeted by the usual McCain campaign supporters that show at Obama rallies. But this time, those waving McCain-Palin signs were joined by dozens of people waving standard-issue plungers. Some wore white t-shirts emblazoned with "I AM JOE THE PLUMBER" on the front. The protesters all said they were volunteers and not paid by the McCain campaign.
The plungers serve as a reference to the 2008 campaign's latest cult personality, Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher of Holland Ohio. (Joe is actually his middle name. First name: Samuel).
While the plungers emerged in Roanoke, McCain's vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin told a fundraiser in neighboring North Carolina Thursday night that she's already tired of "Joe the Plumber."
"Don't make me say Joe the Plumber, please, in any speeches," Palin said.
(CNN) – Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin told supporters at a North Carolina fundraiser that her aides discouraged her from watching campaign news because they thought she would get “depressed.”
“At those times on the campaign trail when sometimes it’s easy to get a little bit discouraged, when you know, when you happen to turn on the news when your campaign staffers will let you turn on the news,” she said Thursday night, to laughter from the crowd. “Usually they’re like ‘Oh my gosh, don’t watch, you’re going to, you know, you’re going to get depressed.’
“But yeah, sometimes you do get depressed watching what it is that they’re reporting and the spin and some of the distortion of what our message is and what we stand for, sometimes that, that gets draining,” she added. “But it’s at events like these and our rallies that we are so energized and inspired and we know that we are not alone. We feel your strength and we feel the power of prayer, so many of you tell us that you are praying for us and praying for our country, and that’s why we so appreciate you being here.”
The view isn’t all glum from the trail. “We even saw today, thank the Lord, we saw some movement,” looking upwards and making a fist. Another bright note for her, she said later, was visiting “pro-America” areas of the country.
"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe, we believe that the best of America is in the small towns that we get to visit, and in the wonderful little pockets of what I call the 'real America,' being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation," she said.
"This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories, and teaching our kids, and growing our food, and fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."
(CNN) - Joe Biden sounded skeptical of “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher’s working-class credentials Thursday.
“You notice John [McCain] continues to cling to the notion of this guy Joe the plumber,” Biden said on NBC’s Today show. “I don't have any Joe the plumbers in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year that are worried.”
Watch: 'Joe the plumber' on debate
“The Joe the plumbers in my neighborhood, the Joe the cops in my neighborhood, the Joe the grocery store owners in my neighborhood - they make, like 98 percent of the small businesses, less than $250,000 a year,” said the Democratic VP nominee. “And they’re going to do very well under us, and they’re going to be in real tough shape under John McCain.”
Watch: Moos: Plumbing the debate
McCain cited Wurzelbacher, who questioned Obama about his tax plan during a recent Ohio campaign swing, as someone would face higher taxes under the Democrat’s economic proposals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters in the United States in 2007 was $47,350.
LONDONDERRY, New Hampshire (CNN) – At a Pennsylvania campaign event Thursday, John McCain repeated his advisors’ favorite line from Wednesday night’s debate: that Barack Obama wasn’t running against George Bush. And on the trail in New Hampshire, Barack Obama repeated his comeback.
“He said, ‘I don’t know why you’re running against George Bush,’” Obama told a rain-soaked crowd south of Manchester. “I said ‘I’m not running against George Bush, I’m running against all those policies of George Bush that you support, Sen. McCain.’
“In three debates and over twenty months, John McCain hasn’t explained a single thing that he would do differently from George Bush when it comes to the most important economic issues we face today. Not one,” he said to loud cheers outside of Mack’s Apple Farm, a location he campaigned at a year ago.
Obama said last night’s debated highlighted McCain’s “attack strategy,” and said the remaining 19 days of the general election campaign should focus on the “genuine differences” between the two candidates.
McCain has entrepreneurs spooked about widespread tax hikes, but fewer than 2% of small-business owners would pay more under Obama's plan.
(CNNMoney.com) - In speech after speech, presidential candidate John McCain hammers on the claim that his rival Barack Obama will raise taxes on many small businesses.
At the debate on Wednesday night, McCain said, "The small businesses that we're talking about would receive an increase in their taxes right now."
More typically he has said: "What [Obama] hasn't told you is that he would tax half of the income of small businesses in America," a line used in La Crosse, Wisc., last week.
Should small business owners fear for their wallets if Obama is elected? Not the vast majority, business and tax experts say.
To make its claim, according to a McCain spokesman, the campaign counts as a small-business owner any taxpayer who files a Schedule C, E or F – the forms used to report gains and losses from business ventures and farms.
Using that definition and citing IRS data, the campaign notes that "56.8% of total small business income is earned by businesses in the top two rates, which Barack Obama has pledged to raise."
It's true that Obama has proposed raising taxes on the top two income rates.
But there are three main problems with McCain's charge.