October 16th, 2008
04:09 PM ET
13 years ago

Biden questions 'notion of this guy Joe the plumber'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/16/joe.plumber/art.joe.wurzelbacher.gi.jpg caption="Joe Biden says he doesn't know any plumbers that make $250K."](CNN) - Joe Biden sounded skeptical of “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher’s working-class credentials Thursday.

Watch: 'Joe the plumber' presses Obama

“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.

Filed under: Joe Biden • Joe the plumber
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. NJ

    Biden should question Obama answers to Joe the plumber!

    October 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Greg, NY

    He must use gold pipes or something.

    October 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. V

    Go Obama/Biden. I noticed yesterday that McCain was trying to redefine 'Joe Six Pack' as someone making $250,000 a year. If Joe the plumber is making $250k in this economic market then he doesn't have my sympathy.

    October 16, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    I saw this dude on TV; he doesn't look like he makes $250K a year. If so, I don't know why anyone would live in a shotty house like that.

    October 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. CAL

    Well Obama's camp should wonder about this so call Joe the plummer. I put nothing past mccain this guy could just be a plant and he's playing a role mccain and that evil campaign camp of his has come up with. I would be willing to make a wager that Joe the plummer is a FAKE. Joe Biden on the other is sharp as they come, way to go the real Joe!!!


    October 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. linda n carolina

    McCain might not want to brag too much. It seems our "Joe the plumber" isn't even a plumber! Joe apparently forgot public records are easily found and stories verified.

    October 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Dave in Indy

    Joe the Plumber was a seed planted by the McCain camp. Give it some time and it will come out.

    October 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. CindyN--PA

    Exactly Sentator Biden. Who cares about Joe the Plumber. Is Joe the Plumber going to solve the Heathcare Crisis? Or the energy crisis.
    Think about this. Joe the Plumber probably cant buy that business he wants, not because of his complaint on tax policies, but BECAUSE HE CANT GET A LOAN FROM THE BANKS!!!!!!!!!– So why waste time on Joe the Plumber,
    unless.... Unless.....
    McCain plans on firing Palin from VP and asking Joe the Plumber to be on his ticket!~ Why not? It might be what the McCain campaign needs. I wouldnt put it past them......

    October 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Jinny Lee

    Joe the Plumber must fix John McCain's leaks.

    October 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Dan, TX

    Well, what is the amount of taxes Joe the plumber would pay NOW if he was making $260,000 a year, how much would he pay under OBAMA's plan and how much would he pay under McCain's plan.

    Until those estimates are published, any discussion of Joe the plumber is meaningless. He might NOT pay more taxes under Obama's Plan!

    October 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Carl

    It is very apparent from the "Joe the plumber" comments by Obama, and past statements he's made, he intends on leading us down the path to socialism.

    October 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. White Christian Mother for Obama

    I know of some that make more like $80,000 a year... a business could make more than that... but its still going to be closer to under $250,000 a year.

    I dont see where his concerns are unless Joe the Plummer hasnt done any research on it???? I am a bit confused with where Joe the Plummer is getting his figure of over $250,000??

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Proud to be American

    Joe the Plumber ... sure and he makes over 250K yeah right.... I was so over the Joe the Plumber thing it was just crazy... okay so we have had three debates and there should be no doubt from anyone what to do right? get your self out there and vote on the 4th if you have not all ready voted early.... we have to stay on point and ensure that we get the right team into the white house... do tell hun? as if ?????

    **************** Obama and Biden 2008 & 2012 ****************************

    Give them a chance to implement the needed change and then complete the task.... Yes we can!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Crazy Cat Lady

    Joe Biden has a good handle on reality for normal folks, having come from them and never forgetting it. McCain came from wealth and power and has lived all his life amid privilege - and it shows.

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. From Toledo, OH

    Is Joe the Plumber registered to vote!?

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. conny

    Joe the Plumber wants to keep ALL of his money like the rest of us but, that is simply not the American way. Although it is nice to hear that anything under a half mil are good to go. Joe is a replugnant and thinks like Mcsame. Get real!

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    The republican campaign is negative – they try to scare us. I'm scared ONLY of McCain/Palin.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. ktodman

    Biden is an idiot. Obama and Biden is clearly now against the American Dream, I guess I ought to raise my children to aim low, that way they don't get labled as being the bad rich person for merely making over $250,000 per year. This is a Socialist idea. That somehow the rich is responsible for spreading the wealth to the poor. I worked hard for every penny that I've earned. I've worked three jobs and now I'm responsible for the entire country? is this what we teach our children?

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Geniuses All

    "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."

    Yep, but if Joe the plumber has 5 guys working for him, he's already PAYING 250,000 in salaries, let alone what the business brings in. So, if Joe wants to add a 6th guy, BO will hammer him.

    Or, if Joe wants more employees, he can start a burger stand, that way he can have minimum wage guys working for him and create more jobs.

    That way, he might qualify for the "job creation" tax credit promised by BO.

    The only way politicians hold sway over the populace is through manipulation of the tax code. Get rid of it, implement a fair tax or flat tax and watch this economy take off. One need look no further than Ireland to see that this works.

    Why have France and Canada recently elected conservatives, yet we move more toward where they were at 15 years ago?

    They should be selling "Been There, Done That" T-shirts.

    October 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Dems 4 McCain

    The plumber himself doesn't EARN 250k, his business does. And that business pays the wages and expenses and all sorts of other things. Take more taxes out of the business and it has less money for all the other things.

    Come on Joe the Senator, don't fool people

    October 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. joyce

    as a business owner it is possible for him to make more than that. that is if he is a big enough company that he can take on big jobs – say new buildings.

    but for mid to small size business, that is true, i doubt very much if he could make over 250k a year to worry himself about getting heavily taxed.

    that truly is the essense of the whole thing isn't it. i don't mind paying taxes even the same as i am paying today (i'm one of those definitely below 250). i realize the government now more than ever needs funds to function. not having it raised is a real bonus that'll help out definitely.

    i think mccain should really stop insulting our brains by continuously twisting the facts of obama's tax plan. we all understand it, why can't he? instead of twisting it and hope that it'll stick, why not offer a better plan? maybe we'll listen.

    October 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Eyes Open

    Wake up people! Change, shmange! Nancy Pelosi and 170 of her close friends have been ruling the roost of Congress! Democrats in Congress outnumber Rebublicans nearly 2 to 1! Change?! Democrats hold the power now and could have had change at any point. But I supose it's much easier to point a finger. The only bonus to Barack Obama winning is that I won't have to hear the whining of leftist liberal any more. But could that really happen......uh, no. But hopefully the Lefts should happy with the Marxist society that will be imposed by Obama. Say goodbye to Democracy as we know it, the "unintitled" have lost.

    October 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. DebM, Allentown, PA

    So apparently Joe the plumber isn't even registered to vote. So why do we care what he thinks?

    Oh, and he's also apparently related to Charles Keating. Interesting coincidence, isn't it?

    October 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Debby

    Biden you don't say how small that grocery store is or if its a Mom/Pop ogranization so all income would go to the owners. Small business owners also don't have to pay workmans comp insurance either for themselves. So of course a mom/pop grocery store would do fantastic under these cicumstances. There aren't alot of small business's that make under 250. when you have inventory, payroll, payroll taxes (which Biden your man wants to raise) worksman comp. insurance which is sky high, vehicles if you make deliveriers. So Joe where are these under 250. business's that are making it I would like to know.

    October 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Chris

    Joe wants to get a business but, he don’t have it or the money right now so, check it out, you want the tax cut B/O is proposing so you can get that business(you have more money in your pocket). Also once you get it(the business ) yeah you pay more but, check it out Joe, your employees and other Americans are getting tax cuts(more money in pocket) well Joe lets think about it Americans have more money that means they will be spending more, guess what Joe your business increases a little more so, you pay a little more but, you have a lot more money now and business to work coming from other people who are getting the tax cut!!!

    October 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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