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. Brenda in Evansville, Indiana

    Quote "I’m not going to sit here and tell you which way to vote"

    Besides admitting that he's not a tax expert, apparently Joe Wurzelbacher doesn't understand that campaigning is exactly telling someone else to vote the same way that you are going to be.

    Wait a second, Joe Wurzelbacher wasn't already supporting John McCain?

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. GA4Obama

    Hmmm...."Joe" are you really that dumb?? You're names not Joe, you're not a plumber, and you're backing a man who you wouldn't benefit from whatsoever...If getting $1000 back at the end of the year (because of the amount of money you make) is socialism then I'm all for it!

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Joe - Chicago, IL

    I have to give Sen. McCain credit. He's managed to propell two people who have no actual qualifications into the center stage of the political arena. Sarah Palin and now Joe the Plumber.

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. Ryan

    How much $$ did McCain pay Wurzelbacher to back him up? Joe the Plumber doesn't know what he is talking about.

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. person who is sick to death of this dude

    The more this guy talks and does interviews the more obvious it is that he is a republican plant. What kind of average joe leaves his job to campaign run for congress and do an interview every other weekend? Seriously guys!!??

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. Cheryl

    Duh! He had already contributed money to the GOP before planting himself at Obama's walk-around Ohio. Why is this a story?

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  7. theogracias

    John McCain for President. Unless it's raining, then he leaves his supporters standing out there while he stays warm and dry. What a tough guy. He's a total fraud.

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. GP

    Yay! Another tax evader for McCain! I tell you what, Joe–if you don't want to pay your taxes, how about you don't drive on our roads, send your kids to our schools, benefit from our military strength, use our postal service, etc, etc.

    Palin, also a tax evader, also doesn't think it's "patriotic" to pay taxes. Where is this country headed if they win?

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. lily33

    yawn......not surprised......

    I am glad Joe the Plumber can consider to buy the plumbing business (which is honestly great) especially when there are numerous people facing foreclosures, facing bankruptcy over insane medical bills, forgotten veterans, countless children without proper health insurance, an education system that has been tampered with and well the list goes on....The American Dream includes everyone!!!



    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Tim in Syracuse


    I find it hard to believe this is News since we found out the guy is a registered Republican who had already made up his mind when he went to the Obama rally.

    If we need to keep hearing about this guy can we at least here about the investigation regarding his potentially working illegally as a plumber?

    October 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. RM

    Joe – What don't you become a licensed plumber instead of a wanna bee also pay your back taxes.

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. Gene

    Wow.. what a surprise.. Joe the Plant.. I mean Plumber.. backs McCain!

    The Irony is that Joe the Retard would actually be much better off under Obama's tax plan. But... like most republicans.. they would rather suffer than vote a democrat in who would make their lives easier.

    That's ok.. I think people who make under 200K a year and vote for McCain should be exempt from Obama's tax plan... I have no problem with not giving them a tax cut. After all.. they're not asking for one, so why give them one?

    At least people making over 250K a year have a legitimate reason to vote for McCain.

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. GOBAMA!!

    umm...he's not a licensed plumber. This guy and mccain remind me of joseph mccarthy. Nothing but a big socialist scare dreamed up by a struggling campaign.

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. JD

    only one more week of this nonsense.

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Bill

    Dems are so funny. I remember a senator from Illinois who "forgot" to pay her taxes for several years but the democrats were so forgiving she was tabbed to run in the presidential primary in 04. So where is the forgiveness today for "Joe if he really is a plumber".

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Joseph Adewole

    Birds of the same feather........

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. turning IN blue from Chicago

    LOL this guy.

    I'll be so glad when this thing is over and I hopefully never have to hear the terms "Maverick", "Joe the Plumber" and "Alaska" again


    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. Good lord....

    Dear McCain,

    Is Joe the Plumber the best you got?


    Yours truly,

    Amazed that you think Joe the Plumber was a good campaign idea

    October 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Anderson Dallas Texas Obama/Biden 08

    If Joe the Plumber backs McCain and he has no money , and owes back taxes , no licenses ..What is the real reason ?

    October 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. Nevada

    Joe the Plumber is a douche...

    October 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. NC Dem

    Great! McCain could have benefited from his vote if the idiot had bothered to register. Why do people care what this guys thinks, again?

    October 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. jay

    Grats Joe, looks like with this pay raise you're getting that you might just see that tax increase you have been dreaming about for so long.
    As a bonus you might even be able to find a few old sinks lying around to throw.

    October 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Lisa, MI

    As if we didn't know that. I knew Joe the Plumber backed McCain when he asked Barack that stupid question. Why was the question stupid? Because Joe the plumber had to fabricate the question to make it sound as if he would actually benefit from making over 250 thousand dollars. He lied because he's not a plumber, has not paid his back taxes which would be hard for him to buy a 270 thousand dollar business. And, the media found out the business Joe wants to buy isn't worth the money.

    But Joe had to say what he said to make it sound it sound as if making over 250 thousand dollars was relevant to him. It is not, he doesn't make that much money, but like most Rethugs the upper crust had managed to make them think they do make that much. They want to believe that they are at the top of the trickle down theory instead of the bottom. John McCain is a phony and so is Joe the Would-Be-Plumber.

    October 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. adg

    Its so funny !!! this guy lied to Obama!!! Hes not a real plumber. He's probly a racist skin head!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. John


    And who cares about his vote? He's not important, there are millions of other "average Joe's" out there, so what makes him so special? He isn't even a real plumber.

    October 28, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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