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. John S

    Why is the news media still talking about this fraud and liar. I just don't get it anymore. Has civilization gone to the dogs. Since when is it okay for a person to lie, cheat and break the law and she people will accept them.Sarah Palin has been found guilty of Abusing her Power. Joe the Plumber is not who he stated he was, has no Plunbing license and has not paid hes taxes. I just don't understand Americans. No wonder the rest of us in the world all think the USA is nothing but a bunch of Rednecks and Bigots.When you get idiots who accept people like Pailn and Joe(real name Samuel) to represent them, then you have voters who are ignorant, uneducated morons with no knowledge of what is right or wrong. People like those should have their voting rights taken away from them. These people are the true idiots who are putting your country in danger.

    October 28, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Daryl from Seattle

    It never surprises me how disillusioned the Republicans and their supporters have become in this day and age. McCain's campaign has to be top 3 worst campaigns in the history of the practice. He basically has a tax evading, non-licensed guy who does plumbing illegally as a symbol on his campaign trail. What is wrong with his advisers??

    October 28, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |

    BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |

    Hey Joe, isn't there a toilet that needs unclogging? Stop wasting America's time and attention, and get back to work being a handyman. America's toilets are depending on you.

    October 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Kerry, CA

    I can't believe all the people buying McCain/Palin lies about socialism. Guess what taxes do? They take a portion of your income and use it for national programs...and they always have. And, they have always been progressive, with different income levels being charged different amounts. Has our nation always been socialist then? No, of course not! And it won't under Obama either. The bailout by the current administration is much more socialistic than anything Obama is proposing as they just took our 700 billion dollars to "spread" our wealth to the financial institutions. How fair is that? And how about the checks Palin just sent everyone in Alaska? Taking the oil companies' money and 'redistributing" it back to the residents there? Taxes are taxes. Obama just wants to make sure the wealthy don't always get the breaks which is one of the reasons he's gotten my vote.

    October 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. Susan

    My husband and I are small business owners in Ca. We have had are own construction Co. for 20 years . Some years we made 250,000
    some 170,000 some 100,000. I would like to talk to Joe The Plumber and let him know what he is in for – if infact he ever does by a business and makes 250,000. My husband and I are voting for OBAMA and if you are in business for yourself and care about anybody but yourself you should to.
    Just one more thing- Mcain has no idea what a small business owner goes through nor will he care once he gets your vote.

    October 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. Barack & Roll

    Who is this guy again? Why the heck does it matter if he's backing McCain. He's not relevant at all.

    October 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. Kim

    I keep waiting for someone to speak up and mention to Joe...and remind John McCain that there are already different tax brackets in this country and the "wealthy" already pay higher rates! Are we socialists already?

    October 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Roger from CA

    "Joe the Plumber" is opining as to what "socialism" is? Really? Where did he get his degree in political science or in economics? I'm really curious.

    Are we that devolved in this country that an incompentent idiot (who happens to be a woman) governor of a tiny state can run for VP and some guy who can't even keep a plumber's license in good standing is lecturing us on political and economic theory?

    Where do I get off this train?

    October 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Tiffany

    This is so sicking

    October 28, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. vahe

    this is not a news... joe who are you??

    October 28, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. nelda

    So is McCain using "Joe the Plumber" as his economic advisor now?
    Ha,.. He can't even pay his taxes, and he also lies! He's not even a plumber!

    October 28, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. Lyndon,CA

    Joe the Plumber-Another Republican who does not like paying taxes.
    Of course, "only little people pay taxes."

    October 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I would let joe the fool hook up a garden hose

    October 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. Not

    Wonder if McCain can pay off Joe the Plumber's back taxes...

    October 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I wouldn't let joe the fool hook up a garden hose

    October 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Zagazaw

    Fact check: Would Obama hike taxes on small businesses that employ 16 million?
    The Verdict: False. McCain uses an overly broad interpretation of the NFIB survey's figures — applying Obama's tax plan to those figures in a way that is highly unlikely to match reality.

    Fact check: McCain tax cuts give $200 billion to corporations, $4 billion to oil companies?
    The Verdict: True. Obama's statement accurately reflects two studies of McCain's tax proposals.

    How do you say, liar, hyporite, flip-flop

    October 28, 2008
    Palin calls for Stevens to resign
    Posted: 03:00 PM ET

    (CNN) – Sarah Palin said Tuesday Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens should resign his Senate seat, in a statement released hours after John McCain made a similar declaration.

    RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) — Sarah Palin said Monday Sen. Ted Stevens' guilty verdict "is a sad day for Alaska."

    As Governor of the State of Alaska, I will carefully now monitor the situation and I'll take any appropriate action as needed. In the meantime, I ask the people of Alaska to join me in respecting the workings of our judicial system and I'm confident that Senator Stevens from this point on will do the right thing for the people of Alaska," she said.

    October 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. heidi

    Joe Who? I'm sorry but surely we are not talking about that loser citizen who doesn't want to pay his TAXES.

    Give me a break, bt in all things in THANKS. Thank you Joe Wurzelbacher for helping me see what a joke the McCain/Palin ticket is.

    plus i wonder if Bristol's boyfriend left those clothes that Palin claims they are not keeping. Word in Alaska is he is showing them off.

    October 28, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. jesse jackson

    personally i feel that the so called Joe the Plumber was a mccain plant in the Obama rallys. Why would someone come to a rally then ask that specific question then senator Mccain jumps on it. now the so called Joe the Plumber endorses senator John Mccain. for one why ask a question about a profession that you dont have. then rise a big fuss about it. your only and main complaint is about something you dont have? that is why i say he was a Mccain plant to try to steal some votes from obama.

    October 28, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. audrey 4 Obama

    How much is the GOP going to spend on "Joe the plumber's make over?

    October 28, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Barbara Hyde

    Terrific. A lying, tax-avoiding, unlicensed plumber should make a really effective spokesperson for the McCain campaign. Or hasn't heard that McCain and Caribou Barbie have already gone down the toilet? "Joe" to the rescue! They need you!

    October 28, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. KLEE

    I keep hearing "socialist" word being thrown around – what do you think social security is!! we are "social" beings – if you want to go live on a rock all by yourself and don't help anyone and help no one in return – be my guest…but meanwhile welcome to planet earth – there are billions of us living here and its all we got and we better help each other and this planet – or what the hell is the point! This Joe the Plumber Guy is being Used by the GOP as a PLOY to get an INVALID POINT ACROSS – I noticed in the background people holding up signs saying OBAMA!!!! AGAIN lets get real OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    October 28, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. heidi


    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    October 28, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. chad

    First Joe talks about how he would save more money under the Obama plan now he is scared that socialism is going to run out country. This guy is a flip flopper and jumped on McCains bandwagon after he was scrutinized by the Obama campaign for not being licensed and not paying taxes. Joe the Plumber is a joke!

    October 28, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Jay

    That's a SHOCKER: Didn't this Joe guy vote for McCain during the primaries????

    October 28, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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