October 28th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Joe the Plumber backs McCain

(CNN) - The McCain campaign is getting some help from Joe the Plumber in the key battleground state of Ohio.

Campaigning with a McCain surrogate, former Congressman Rob Portman, Joe Wurzelbacher took aim at Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama, saying he wanted to redistribute the wealth. He told reporters, “We’re not a socialist country. That bothers me. It scares me. That’s the reason why I came out here. I’m really scared for our country,” he said.

“John McCain is spreading an important message for all of us. For small businesses. That’s really important,” said Wurzelbacher.

He told reporters “I’m not going to sit here and tell you which way to vote” - but he may be working to influence voters. A campaign aide says it’s possible Wurzelbacher will campaign in states outside Ohio, including Pennsylvania. Wurzelbacher himself has not confirmed the possibility.

While McCain has never met Joe the Plumber, the two have spoken. McCain has scheduled a two-day bus tour in Ohio starting Thursday. Asked whether the two will hit the trail together, campaign spokesman Paul Lindsay said Wurzelbacher approached the campaign earlier this week offering to help, and that they are is “open to whatever Joe is comfortable doing.”

Wurzelbacher shot to instant fame when John McCain brought him up during the last presidential debate. At an Obama campaign appearance, he Ohio native had challenged the Illinois senator on his tax plan, saying he wanted to buy a small business for $250,000 and was worried about taxes he might face.

Wurzelbacher later revealed he was talking about a possibility - that he makes far less than $250,000, and would not currently be taxed under Obama’s plan. He also came under intense scrutiny that included questions about whether he was even registered to be a plumber.

“There is a lot of, a lot of different taxes. Capital gains. Different things. It’s hard to follow all of that to be honest with you,” Wurzelbacher said Tuesday. “But if you look at the basic facts, [Obama] wants to spend a million or a trillion dollars in new spending. Where is he going to get it?”

Ohio’s inspector general is looking into reports that Wurzelbacher’s information was accessed on state databases. Cuyahoga Support Enforcement Agency Director Jim Viviani tells CNN he is trying to determine whether one of his employees accessed Wurzelbacher’s information on October 17, the day after the last presidential debate. Wurzelbacher doesn’t live in the county and Viviani says there would be no reason to access his records.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (398 Responses)
  1. Mike, Ohio

    Yeah all the plumbers I know make around 40k a year. Maybe when they make over 250k a year they will vote for McCain too.

    October 28, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Borat


    October 28, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. d n dc

    do we care.... his vote is as important as mine

    Obama 08!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. Joe the Bartender in Arizona

    John McCain SPREADS AMERICA’S WEALTH TO FLDS polygamists in Colorado City, Arizona who practice tyranny over women and children and receive 25-30 million a year in taxpayer dollars.
    Watch the video:

    While governor Palin robs businesses of their profits in Alaska and devides it up between her un-employed meth addicted constituents, how nice.

    McCain/Palin = The Socialist Express


    October 28, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Wendy Piersall

    Speak for your own small business Joe. My small business supports Obama.

    October 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Tyree,LV-Independent For Obama

    What A Surprise, I Guess He Doesn't Want That Tax Cut.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    October 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. McCain on the Attack

    McCain is now attacking his own running mate Sarah Palin. Fight for Palin by voting for Bob Barr!

    October 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. RGB

    Joe the Plumber is such a fraud! He lied to Obama and said the he was going to buy a business for $250,000 – $280,000 and wanted to know if Obama would raise his taxes. Then we find out that not only is he NOT a licensed Plumber, he does not pay his taxes and only makes about $40,000 a year. How in the world did he plan to buy the business? This is just another one of the gimmicks that the McCain campaign brought out to try to bring life to his failing campaign. So sad!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  9. Vic in TX

    Enough of this guy already.

    October 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Maddie, Hartford, Ct.

    Every once in a while I actually feel a little sorry for John McCain (not Sara Palin)...but than a story like this emerges and one can not help but wonder how did this group of clowns get as far as they did! What an insult to the intelligences of the people of this great country!

    October 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |

    this guy is a big joke just like the republican party. mcsame,pitbull and the whole bunch are just big clowns. well i hope they know the circus pulls out of town next week. enough of these losers. he has stretched his 15 mins of fame into a hour.


    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Mike

    Too bad he doesn't own a small business. He's just a delusional, should belong to a psychiatric ward. People like him are a shame for the honest guys, real business owners that strive to cope with the economy downturn.

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Bojo

    Stop the press...who cares what this guy thinks?

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. JD

    why do they view these tax adjustments as socialism? they weren't socialism back in the '90s when they were first put in place.

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Chris in MN

    Joe likes McCain because the GOP opposes regulation. He can be a plumber without a license with a Republican. Poor Joe to dumb to know when the Republicans will rob him again. Hey Joe where's the wealth now?

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th


    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. rightsaid

    Who gives a rats rear end what this guy thinks? He's an ignorant Republican hack who has already cast one vote for McCain. His endorsement is news? Give us a break.

    Obama-Biden '08!

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA


    You're kidding right, a senile man and a crazy woman?
    You would vote for that couple?

    No wonder this country is in such a mess, but as long as gay's can't marry and abortion becomes illegal...


    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I am trying to be careful how I say this, however, no disrespect meant to Joe the Plumber, but you are not a licensed plumber, you really don't have the education or experience to understand how the John McCain campaign are just using you, and I think you are just another free-loader who is out to get what ever free ride you can take advantage of. Best of luck if McCain loses. I am sure you never heard of the word "socialism" before John McCain. That's to bad for you.

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. McCain?

    this guy should worry more about paying his taxes then backing McCain....this guy like most of McCain's miss guided campaign is a tragic hoax. the question not asked on CNN or any other news station is if John McCain can not lead his own campaign, how in the world will he lead our Nation? McCain had a 3 month head start and did NOTHING, McCain has 159 lobbyist running his campaign, including a Lobbyist for Saddam as the head of his transition team, McCain will give tax cuts (in the tune of hundreds of Billions) to corporations and big oil....but NOTHING to 100Million of us....not this time John

    October 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. fred

    Only Obama supporters would be low enough to hate on an American and call him an idiot. Welcome to America democrats. If you don't like our capitalism, go back to Russia!!!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. the snarly old hawk squawks in fellowship square

    It truly amazes me that with all the pressing problems the country is going to have to deal with after eight years of the most ruinous administration in history,that a insignificant comment can be so blown out of context and make a household name,not to mention a campaign fixture out of a schmoe like this.

    October 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Pat

    WOW! What a president to be! Using LIES and FEAR to recruit people to help him campaign. Would he use LIES and FEAR to recruit soldiers to fight an unneccessary war just to re-live his Vietnam days? Hmmmm. This wreaks of propanganda. Hitler did that.

    October 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Manny

    Wow! That's a surprise!

    October 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Random Dude

    Well, I thought Karl Rove could do better than this stupid stunt..his stunts aren't working nowadays

    October 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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