October 15th, 2008
09:46 PM ET
14 years ago

Who is Joe the Plumber?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/art.obama.ohio.copy.jpg caption="Obama campaigns in Holland Ohio"]

(CNN) – Joe the Plumber was the star of the final presidential debate on Wednesday night. But who is he?

Watch: Obama meets 'Joe the plumber'

Last weekend, while Barack Obama was canvassing for support in the small town of Holland, Ohio, the Democratic nominee ran into a tall, bald man, since dubbed Joe the plumber. He asked Obama if he believed in the American Dream — he said he was about to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year and was concerned that the Democratic nominee would tax him more because of it.

Obama explained his tax plan in depth, saying it’s better to lower taxes for Americans who make less money, so that they could afford to buy from his business. John McCain attacked Obama for this exchange, saying the Illinois senator is trying to “spread the wealth around.”

“We're going to take Joe's money, give it to Senator Obama, and let him spread the wealth around. I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around,” McCain said. He added, “Why would you want to increase anybody's taxes right now? Why would you want to do that to anyone, anyone in America, when we have such a tough time?”

Joe the plumber was mentioned 11 times at the beginning of the debate, nine times by McCain and twice by Obama.

Watch: Voters sour on 'Joe the plumber' story


Filed under: Presidential Debate
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Jay

    If it was a drinking game, we would be drunk now the amount of time Mccain brought it up. Guess what..I wish I had $250,000 to start a business.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. bnavoter

    i saw the conversation that obama had with joe the plumber, who is from ohio. obama never ever said "i want to spread the wealth around". it's just simply not true. i don't know why mccain said that obama said that. just not true.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. wayne

    Joe six pack and Joe the plumber, is in the republican party eveybody named Joe...

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  4. dustin

    well when the top 1% makes more than the bottom 90%, yea maybe its time to start spreadin that wealth because trickle down economics has worked, period.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. Disappointed Republican

    What is with the snorting and sounds coming from MCCain. He still looks like an angry old man who is about to blow a fuse.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. Kris K in RM CA

    Obama wants the best for all of us by changing how things are done. That is good for America. THe plumber is a symbol for all of us..he is America and so are we.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Rich H

    if there is a chance for john mccain, this is it. you can't "spread the wealth". If you tax additional tax dollars from me, I have to cut my spending which cuts income to small business which cuts jobs. Robin Hood should not be in play here.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Mike

    Wow nine times?
    Yes, Nine times.

    Where is Joe the broke guy that can't afford to buy a business or
    Mike the broke guy that can't afford to buy a steak?

    Not a mention yet......

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. mama sue

    haha! Maybe Sarah should resign and Joe can be the VP!

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. Joe sixpack

    McCain seems so angry and scary.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  11. David

    So instead of keeping more of my hard earned money with an Obama tax cut, I have to hope that Joe the Plumber is going to "trickle" it down to me instead of buying himself a new car??? Thanks McCain!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  12. Mick

    McCain wants to give more of the wealth to the already wealthy, Joe the Plumber not withstanding.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. Smarter than the GOP

    GOOD POINT JOAN!

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. Lynne

    I would like to know what Joe the plumber thinks about being talked about like this....I wonder who HE agrees with....

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. Jason in Juneau

    My friends and I are starting a new business and I'm liking Obama's plan better. We want the help to start. We'd rather contribute when we are up and running. Go Obama.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. MISSISSIPPI FOR OBAMA

    WHY THE HELL IS MCCAIN SPENDING THE WHOLE DEBATE ATTACKING OBAMA? SOMEONE TELL HIM TO STICK TO THE ISSUES!!!

    VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    We've got Joe six-pack, Joe the plumber.......now all we need is Joe SCHMOE!!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. Tim in Syracuse

    And yet, neither pointed out the McCain wants to give more money to those who can get by quite comfortably while Obama wants to give more money to those who are already having problems paying mortgages, putting money away for college and retirement, paying for healthcare and in some cases, simply putting food on the table for their families.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. SHELLI1313

    Joe the plumber is McCains wealthy cousin that has just 5 homes and 7 cars. He does not want the wealth to leave his wealthy family and friends, Bush/McCain, Chaney/Palin, Republicans/Racists. McCain is a whinner, a weeeeeener, a moron. He has cried throughout this debate and has complained about Senator Obama so much that if he said anything on the Economy everyone missed it. This man can't run Mickey D's

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. LTC

    I think Joe would take the tax for the business as well as a cut to small business owners in order to keep people coming back to his business.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  21. francee

    Joe needs to loan me some money. In a time when people are trying to figure out how to put food on the table, Joe wants to buy a business that makes more than 250,000? Good for him, but he has to pay more taxes. What the Joe's don't get is that for him to be in a position to buy that business, some where he got a tax break

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  22. ALISON

    Joe the plumber,,,hangs out with Joe six pack....

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. kwame

    Who do you think is winning this debate? McCain came out swinging. Obama is more relaxed than i thought he would.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. CT Voter

    That's an easy one - Joe the Plumber is Joe Six Pac's brother!

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. NA Nevada

    11 times??? WOW. Just like how they keep mentioning the number of times "Economy" has been said. BUT NO REAL ANSWER. I'm going broke. If I had $5 for every "Joe Sixpack", "Economy", "Bipartisanship", and "Joe Plumbers" out there....

    I WILL BE RICH

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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