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. independent in Texas

    Well, "IF" joe the plumber actually does make over $250,000.00 then he "should be taxed more..the poor hard working maids I saw working at a motel earning only minium wage deserve a tax break ! and an increase in hourly wages ! its just absurd to not tax obscenely wealthy people, who got that way taxing US, more.turn about is fair play..I seriously doubtr taxing the wealthy is really going to affect them much one way or another..McCain probably doesnt even know how to budget, since he never had to learn.,.He IS NOT one of us who wasnt born with a silver spoon in our mouths ! Sorry, I have no sympathy left for obscenly wealthy people, all my sympathy goes to my own family members making under $50,000.00 a year, and some working 2 jobs just to try to get a college education as WE on social security cant pay for it for them, and I bet are many of you in same boat..
    old white independent seniors for OBAMA

    October 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. chris24

    McCain/Palin will grasp at any straw to get elected.

    Joe-the-plumber, Joe six-pack.

    What's next Joe-I-didn't-get-elected?

    You betcha!!!!

    October 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Independent for USA only

    Senator McCain is out of touch sometimes. He did not know how many houses and how many cars he had as personal belongings. Well, he did not know a guy with $250,000 annual income could hardly probably represent the majority of plumbers. I guess, in McCain's campaign, including himself and his VP pick, every Republican believes that 90% of people in our country make more than $250,000 annually. This out-of-touch mentality of McCain's campaign really scares me. On the other hand, Bush administration already gave huge money to rescue banks. Who is gonna find this money? Leave it as big deficit for our next generation to pay?

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Nicole in Ga

    This whole thing is crazy. All over the net Joe the plumber is being said to be related to Charles Keating from the McCain Keating 5 scandal. Not surprising. Plant.

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Chris from STL

    I watched "Joe the plumber" on almost every channel today! It looks like he had an agenda when he went to talk to Obama .... I would not be surprised if it turned out that he was planted there by some one to "fish for dirt" ....

    In the interviews, "Joe the plumber" did not come out as authentic "ordinary Joe the American" ....

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. roger

    After listening to Joe the so called plumber this morning on a local TV station in OH he sounds very much like slick GOP politican instead of a hard working plumber. If you get a chance check it out & see what you think, he seemed pretty savy in front of the camera & did a good job with his speech, it sounded rehearsed.....

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Independent moving toward OBAMA

    Joe is one of MCCain supporter to begin with. I agree, there is no plumber that makes $250K per year. This is one of the republican scam.


    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Josh

    Joe the Plumber isn't even registered to vote!!! Real working people make less than $250,000. It's those people that Obama stands up for.

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Patrick

    Wait, wait, wait.

    So they're implying that McCain was using "Joe The Plumber" as a gimmick???

    Astonishing, I do not believe it, preposterous...


    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. John Smith

    You feel it necessary in the liberal elite media to provide data on things that nobody is interested in. The better question would be would someone who wants to buy a plumbing busines that is profitable, which is what Joe the plumber wants to do, should be taxed at a higher rate, because Obama feels that we should spread the wealth around. That is just plain wrong. Joe is probably making $47,000 and wants to earn more and you disincentivize him by asking him to make people who do not pay taxes, get tax cuts and he gets a tax increase.

    Do your homework CNN and stop being so much in the tank for Obama. Your reporting is so blatantly biased and you think you can fool the American people. Well, we can see through it which is why you guys are so disrespected and your viewership is sinking.

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. glenn

    Most voters see the Joe the plumber thing for what it is; A pathetic attempt by John McCain to connect with everyday Americans. The fact is, when you own 8 houses and 13 cars and never had a job outside government that is difficult to do.

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Erik

    This guy seems more like "Joe the Successful Businessman." Nobody likes taxes, but until we set a flat percentage rate, Joe may have to pony up.

    - Erik the Stagehand

    October 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. sara

    I hope they post this comment. I was terrified last night watching Mccain, the expressions he was making and his body language freaked me out. He is no way a stable rational man. Just imagine him in the Oval office !!!!!!!!!!!!! wow. How did he get to be in the senate in the first place???????
    Is this the best that the republicans can present as a Nominee????
    Mccain should really check into a nut house.

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Chris

    It seems like before Obama raises taxes on "Joe the Plumber", he would have to make MORE THAN 5 TIMES AS MUCH AS THE AVERAGE AMERICAN PLUMBER ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

    And here was McCain again claiming that over 50% of small businesses make more than $250,000 a year. This is just ridiculous because small businesses would be thrilled to make that much money in one year. And if they did make that much money, they should not be considered such a small business. Obama/Biden prove themselves one more time, and McCain/ Palin prove to be worthless and factually wrong on just about every issue.

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. MEliot

    Mr. Biden gets it wrong again. Joe the Plumber wants to own a plumbing business (many plumbers), so the rate of one plumber's wages are not relevant.

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. mitch

    joe the plumber is a relative of charles keating. he is not even registered to vote. google it.

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Brian Hubbell II

    What right does the government have to tell Person A that they are making too much money and need to give their money to those making less than them because it's 'not fair' that they are making more?
    Better yet, what right does someone who is not a US Citizen (Barack Obama gave up his US Citizenship when he applied for Indonesian citizenship) have to run for president?

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. tulsa

    The REAL Joe.
    Thanks Senator Biden. You're a great guy, fine Senator and will make an outstanding Vice President.

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Ron

    News is coming out that "Joe" is a registered republican who has been very vocal against Obama at several McCain rallies and that he might have been a McCain plant.

    I would like to see CNN look in to this issue.

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Rose

    P LEASE!'Joe the plumber has already made up his mind who he is voting for, who is he fooling??? .The guy already admitted he makes less then 250.000 dollars. As for his new business venture, it isn't even off the ground yet.. "Joe Plumber" is a mute point!! Get over it! sheep!!

    October 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. steve

    Joe was buying the business he worked for and wanted to add employees. When you lean too far to the left its hard to hear what people say. Once again, liberals are ignoring half the story.

    October 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. maurice

    so basically this would leave joe biden in the same tax bracket as joe the plumber and put obama in a higher tax bracket. and what about the sheetrock guy here who has done a million last year and not even a margine of that this year where does that put him. and if they want to tax people who earn more they need to get a bit more realistic. because when rich peoples tax`s go up they quit spending money. and that leaves us in a bad situation. i say a fair tax where you pay a percentage on everything you buy. now that is fair taxs. if you pay a 25% tax on all consumer goods there is no tax loop-hole. and thanks joe the plumber im maurice the carpenter. and im not close to rich.

    October 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Dal CA

    Joe the plumber wil be better off under the Obama tax es. As a small business and having employees he would be getting $3000 per employee benefit plus there will be the benefit of the medical benefit if he gives that to the employees. Overall he would make more money and be able to expand his business.

    October 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Doug D

    Once again people and especially the Democrats are confused about Joe the Plumber.

    The Company that Joe wants to buy – not Joe himself – makes about $250k/year. Then there are the costs like payroll, supplies, bill, rent, vehicles, etc. Add on to that the taxes and forced medical coverage costs Obama wants and that is a large chunk before Joe the plumber ever sees a dime.

    And despite what Obama said during the debate – a $250k company falls within the range of "big" companies Obama wants to hit up to "spread the wealth."

    October 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Joe in Vermont

    Fairness dictates that I state that Joe is apparently a plumbing contractor who owns his own business. Several sources state Joe is a registered Republican which should't matter. Samll businesses are up against it and McCain's health plan would kill a lot of their participation.

    Your "diss" headline I feel is inaccurate. "Questions" would have been better.

    October 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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