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. Tammy

    That was a given. Who really cares???

    October 28, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. kn

    Joe if you are really worried about this country....Pay your taxes, get a plumbers license, pay your past driving tickets..That would help get our country going. Looks like everyone has been paying your way......Now maybe it is your turn,,,,,, I call that playing by the rules...

    October 28, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. JohnLee

    Where will these people stop in spreading the bull s? I'm so tired of the negativity and no plan for the future McCain!

    October 28, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Patrick

    Screw Joe the "I don't pay taxes and am not licensed to plumb" Plumber.

    October 28, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Dee

    KEX radio from Portland, OR held a fundraiser to help "Joe the UNLICENSED plumber" pay his back taxes. Which he eagerly accepted.

    Guess good ole Joe doesn't mind "spreading the wealth" when HE'S the one with his hand out for charity.

    I wish the major news organizations would run with that story.

    October 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Thats it

    Congratulations President McCain!

    October 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |



    October 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. Jeff - Austin, TX

    Joe must be pretty well-off if he has the time to go on the campaign trail rather than working. Now if he could only pay the IRS (and, by extension, all Americans) what he owes in back taxes...

    October 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. wakeupamerica

    Will the press please stop perpetuating this lie. It's bad enough McCain keeps touting it. The man's name is not Joe the Plumber. His name is Sam Wurtzerburger. He is not a plumber. This is the illusion of deception McCain wants to give. This guy gives me the heebie geebies. I've heard other people say it, and I too believe he's a skinhead.

    Let's unite this country. We need to let go of division and racial hatred.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. liza

    This is SOOO Idiotic..... Is this supposed to be some kind of endorsement??? An endorsement from a guy who dosent pay taxes??? Who name isnt even Joe and HE'S NOT A PLUMBER!!!!!
    If Obama did anything like this in his campaign, the GOP would flip!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Arkansas Undertaker

    And this is a big surprise WHY?

    October 28, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. DPerry

    "... a million to a trillion dollars.." I think those numbers are different by about 999,999,000,000 dollars. This guy is pure genious. Fine Ohio high school education you have there Joe. Stick to plumbing, theres hopefully no math invovled there, idiot.

    October 28, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. Cheryl, VA

    Great, and the GOP should pay him for keeping that nonsense going for the last 10 days. Anything to keep them from talking about the real issues.

    Cheryl The American

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 28, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Lost in Texas

    I thought you were only supposed to get FIFTEEN minutes of fame not 3 weeks of it. The McCain campaign has milked this dead cow as much as they could and this is one "Joe" that needs to take a hike. Most plumbers I know make VERY good money at least 25 to 30 bucks an hour or more. Not to say that they are not suffering but this guy has really drawn out what was an interview that ANY American could have given to a presidential candidate. I would be more impressed if it was Mary the unwed mother, since the GOP now supports unwed mothers, that works at a fast food resturant or Bob the custodian that works at a public school..heck Lucy the school teacher if you want to go there. I recall even Gov. Palin being quoted as saying "Please don't ask me to talk about Joe the Plumber"! I'll be glad when this one plumber takes the plundge himself.

    October 28, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Scott A.

    What a shocker. The guy who was sending money to McCain before he confronted Obama is now backing McCain. Gee, who would've guessed that? This guy is an admitted facist by the interviews on his front lawn that he's done. Did you really think he'd vote for the open-minded guy? No, its obviously McCain that he loves.

    October 28, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. someone in the east

    Great coming from someone who doesn't pay taxes and isn't licensed. What a joke!!

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

    The guy is a JOKE!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Joycelyn

    On a side issue, why does Cindy the McCain always stand behind her husband? Can't she go out and campaign on her own for a change? we are tired of see her standing and nodding all the time. The same goes for Tood the snowmobile Pain. They could help you know. But then again, what are they going to say? The barbie doll and the snowmobile racer. Yikes.

    October 28, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Socialist

    I wonder what he is getting paid? Maybe McCain will offer him a spot as the official white house plumber.

    October 28, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. NinaORLANDO

    Ugh, could you please stop posting about Sam the Non-plumber?? I am so sick of this.

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Kyle Indianapolis, Indiana


    He is a nobody and by no means represents any piece of America except himself! He is not a political expert and does not deserve to have the attention!

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |

    One fake endorses another fake.

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Just Sayin...

    This guys a joke, and a disgrace to real plumbers...

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. DM

    Wonder how much wealth McCain is spreading to Joe.

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Cindy in Atlanta

    Thanks Joe...he needed some endorsements since a lot of republicans are now endorsing Obama. But Joe, are they going to make you part of the "base"?

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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