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. Michael

    As if any silly stunt the McCain campaign can come up with at this late date will make a speck of difference.

    It's kind of funny to watch them try, though, in a pathetic sort of way.

    October 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. Californian4Obama

    Joe the "skinhead" – just look at him. No wonder he is backing McCain.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Ian, Minneapolis MN

    You can just see it....McCain has become so desperate it's become apparent. I'm not even sure if it's him or his campaign that has become so pathetic. He is an old man, I'm sure he could easily be fooled and persuaded by Rick Davis' to victory.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Jane MN

    “Joe the Plumber” is a joke. As long as we are on the subject of taxation, the nature of tax IS redistribution of wealth. So where’s the comment of “socialist” coming from? Besides, at the time when our country is 10 trillions in debt, having two wars still going on, whoever advocates a nationwide across-board tax-cut can ONLY belong to one or more of the following categories – 1) ignorant; 2) irresponsible; or 3) liar.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  5. mango123

    Does McCain really believe this guy will move anybody to the point of making any difference? Desperation rears its ugly head. For Joe, he is looking to extend his 15 minutes. Would somebody tell please him his time is up.

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

    the guy is not even a registered plumber so how can he suffer under obama's plan? As a matter of fact, because he is not registered, he is probably evading paying any taxes at all. Good heavens and McCain is using him on the trail? May be register him first.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. TyWebb

    Joe, the non-licensed plumber?

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. milo

    I'm not sure why you guys are even reporting about this guy. Why?

    At least if you're going to cover him, mention his extremist comments like when he said electing Obama would mean "the death of Israel".

    Great stuff.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. Steve

    Let's see, a guy who lied about who he was and what he could do is backing McCain? "Joe The Plumber" can't afford to buy a company. He's not a licensed plumber. He owes back taxes. In spite of all these little "problems", the McCain campaign is treating him like the second coming of Rush Limbaugh. Pretty hilarious!

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Obama is endorsed by Colin Powell; McCain is endorsed by Joe the Plumber. Speaks volumes about who is the most credible candidate for President.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. davinder

    Joe the (so what if i really am not a licensed plumber and wasn't really planning to buy a small business nor do i have the money on my $40K per year salary) Plumber.

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Does Obama Palin Comparison?

    Hey I'm a lazy bum...I'd rather live off of the hard work of others than have to actually work hard myself! Don't forget those free goernment programs! YOU CAN'T ELECT OBAMA QUICK ENOUGH FOR ME!!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. Jude

    I laugh at this "Joe the Plummber". What crudentials does he have? He's not licensed...he doesn't make over 250K...He owes back taxes...he gets more under Obama's Tax plan...need I say more?

    I think if the American people falls to this non-sense by "Joe the plummber" we deserve what we get and that's 4 more years of the same!!!

    But lets be honest with a reality check....This Joe Shmoe....isn't going to do jack to change this race...Not this time!!!

    This does show desperation in McCain's camp. I mean common...he can't afford anybody else so he's paying Joe to do this? I rather have the endorsement of Colin Powell over "Joe Shmoe" anyday!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. Joan , Ontario

    Bless Sam's heart but he is not a licenced plumber and is no where near buying a business, whatever the size. Why is McCain continuing this myth that everyone knows now has been exaggerated and misrepresented? Under Sam's real circumstances, he would actually benefit far more from Obama's policies. Also, real small business owners would also benefit more from Obama's plan. They should read the party platforms of both parties and then make an educated decision.

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Connie Hussein Miller

    This still won't work. Americans couldn't care less, we are focussed on voting for the next POTUS, Barack Hussein Obama.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Blue is Cool!

    A tax evader and a dishonest politician. Priceless.

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Isn't joe the plumber to much

    come on we have gone through this it 's joe the this, joe the that. It's like a surprise contest nowdays what is the campaign going to bring out next after "joe the plumber" in my opinion i would say it's going to be mccain the looser

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Why does this yahoo get so much coverage? Shame on all the media who are courting this joker!

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |

    Joe seems to be alot more intelligent than several of the CNN posters, Vince CA, since like myself he was able to figure out that Obamas plan to redistribute income is flat out wrong and should not take place in this country and he could hide behind the "95% rhetoric "all he wants but it just isn't true or realistic. These are the things that Joe was ablt to figure out that several of you cannot.


    Someone with a Masters degreee in Economics and and a Tax and Hedge Fund Accountant.

    McCain Palin 08

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. HouseDiva

    joe the plumber looks like a skinhead....

    this is the RNC's base....pathetic!

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Obama 08

    I really care what an unlicensed plumber who didn't even pay the taxes he owed for last year thinks.

    October 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Does Obama Palin Comparison?

    WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS JOE GUY???? Shouldn't we really be discussing how OBAMA's a Marxist?

    October 28, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. john for Obama

    Come fix my toilet and stop pretending you make 250K. You are one of us but just dont know it. YOU ARE NOT RICH JOE AND MCCAIN IS NOT FOR YOU!!!!!

    October 28, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. Cathy

    I am sick of this Joe the Plumber character. This man needs Obama's help. He is an average Joe that has no money and no license. And he is being used by McShame and Ms. Clueless.

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

    @ Ken in Dallas

    Indeed there is symmetry in politics: most of the time it's the same thing coming out of their mouths that comes out of the other end.

    October 28, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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