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. dave

    You know your campaign is sinking when Joe the plumber is on a bus tour through ohio this guy lied about buying the business he cannot afford to buy it owes about $1200. property tax does not have a plumbers license the guy can only work in the presence of a license plumber what can he tell?

    October 28, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. rowzeer

    Fred....If you like unfettered, unregulated, run-wild capitalism maybe you should consider moving to China.

    October 28, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. deb in Colo

    Joe's got as much credibility as Sarah Palin - none at all. If he had been upfront with his question I might have more respect for him. But he's just as "ethical" as Sarah.

    October 28, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. James

    unbelievable the things this camp is doing to make it, they got a whole band wagon of knuckleheads to go with their failed message which is......not quite sure concidering McCain/Palin are all over the place as far as policy is concerned, key reason i think they are losing is simple, they acted like the economy was ok and it wasnt, they just didnt get it like everything else, but finally they were caught on live tv not getting it, that to me seems to have made the difference here. If i put on Fox news for even a minute i understand how alot of small towns are a little behind on the news and facts. Go figure. All i know is its going to be real hard to forget all the idiotic things that were said by the McCain camp even while he says how he'll reach across the isle, this is a joke, not after creating a mob of your supporters, i cant see it happening buddy. So lets see what other Ditz's can we find to be a model for a "real" American? GOP circus show 08, was funny while it lasted.

    October 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Joe

    Once again another hard working American for John McCain. It seems that the only people for Obama are the ones who want a hand out from the government.

    October 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Skeeve

    Ok.. that's it. I am quitting my job and becoming a plumber. I want that "small" business that makes more then $250,000 a year in pure profit.
    The worst part about idiots is that they never admit that they are idiots, because they have no idea that they are idiots.

    October 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. John Toledo, OH

    As a small business owner and McCain supporter, I'm offended that a guy who doesn't currently own a business, is nowhere close to owning a business that would profit over $250K, and is deliquent on his taxes, would have the audacity to speak on behalf of American small business owners.

    The McCain camp should find a more credible representative.

    I've had enough of Sam the tax evading, wannabe business owner!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Bill

    A deadbeat tax dodger with a fictional income bracket and no license to actually do his job is for McCain. No surprise.

    Joe just can't get enough of the limelight. The media have created the Plumber Monster, just in time for Halloween!

    Why is McCain doing this to himself? Every survey shows that about 100% of voters are tired of hearing about this whack job. They were done with him at the end of the last debate. Again, McCain's judgement is seriously impaired. Will he go bonkers and appoint Joe the Plumber as Secretary of the Treasury?

    October 28, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Fritz

    fred said "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!!!!!!"

    Sure sounds like you are hating on Democrats who happen to be Americans. Sounds like pretty low behavior from you. Which country are you planning on moving to as apparently you won't allow yourself to stay here?

    October 28, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. Dameun

    What?!?! McCain's plant supports him...I thought CNN was a 'news' network...why are they driving an 'Olds'?

    October 28, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. sully

    say it ain't so joe
    you and ms palin will make a beautiful couple

    October 28, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. don

    In the words of Bugs Bunny (which is also a cartoon like Joe the "Duh, I don't need no license" Plumber). What a maroon!

    October 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Tyrone Brown

    Say it ain't so Joe, say it ain't so.

    October 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Raffi The Admissions Representative

    Breaking News! John McCain has won the endorsement of an unlicensed plumber with unpaid back taxes who likely would fare better under Obama's tax plan because it calls for no tax increase for working couples earning less than $250,000 a year — Joe the Plumber makes FAR less.

    So basically, Joe The Plumber is a complete idiot who doesn't know what's good for him! Way to go for winning this endorsement Sen. McCain! Yet another idiot!

    October 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Wilson, Seattle

    Weren't Joe's 15 minutes of fame up like a year ago? The McCain camp seems to think this guy gets traction in pro-America regions. Either McCain knows something I don't (like that voters are dumber than I thought, for example) or they are really desparate.

    October 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Hilary B

    October surprise?? Ha. Ha.

    October 28, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. joel

    And Paris Hilton is backing Obama so I guess that more than cancels that one out.

    October 28, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Oregon Calling

    Of course he's backing McCain, the dude doesn't believe in paying his fair share.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 28, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. John in WV

    If sharing the wealth is socialist ? What is trickle down ?

    October 28, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. tulsa

    Nope, we aren't going to buy into the "Be very afraid" strategy again.
    We know what Socialism is and Obama's plan isn't.
    We know JohnMcCain is telling lies.
    We know he's despatate for power.
    Go home John. Go away Sarah.
    Vote Obama

    October 28, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Terry

    Who cares? I would rather stick to challenges that face our nation. I think that his 15 minutes should have been up A LONG TIME AGO.

    October 28, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. Floridian for Obama

    I don't think we should underestimate the power of the common man. No matter what we think of this guy, he can make significant waves in short order. I don't think we can do much about it, but if he wants to live under McCain's form of socialism, that's his choice. That's right. I said McCain's form of socialism. By definition, socialism is a collective control of everything, including the means of production and land. By that measure, Obama's plan is no more socialist than Ronald Reagan's track record. Remember. Ronald Reagan raised taxes. On the other hand, Senator McCain's is not without its tax implications. What about those nice pretax health insurance benefits we enjoy right now? And do you believe McCain can really keep his promise not to raise taxes? The economists don't. In truth, they say that we already have some aspects of socialism with the recent bailout of the banking industry. Personally, I believe in spreading wealth. I like that concept, because I think everyone should be wealthier. I also believe that taxes are a good thing. Thank God for taxes! We can't have civilization without them.

    October 28, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Maxine

    Now I am really surprised.....this man now can pay his taxes with all the publicity he is getting from this. Well this man does not represent me. I make under 30k a year, and pay one third of it in taxes. So tell me Joe, John and Sarah how are you going to help me, I have been waiting to hear and haven't heard a thing yet.

    October 28, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. Crazy

    It is crazy to see that some guy who once upon a time standing on the sidelines is now this huge deal in the McCain campaign. In my opinion, people of the U.S are too smart to just listen to some random guy McCain picked up off the street. The McCain campaign picked this guy out of a crowd who disagreed with obama and made him a huge prop. It's really getting annoying because I dont give a crap about this Joe the plummer character. I want to hear about the issues, not about some "Dude" getting famous over a cheap publicity stunt.

    October 28, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. UCLAdy04

    lol...are people taking their cues from an unlicensed plumber who owes back taxes and admitted that Obama's plan would benefit him more than McCain's yet is too stupid to vote in his own best interests? Give me a break...this is getting really stupid.

    October 28, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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