December 10th, 2008
11:55 AM ET
14 years ago

Joe 'The Plumber' 'appalled' with McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Joe 'The Plumber' Wurzelbacher said he was 'appalled' with some of what McCain said."](CNN) - With the dust still settling from the 2008 presidential race, one of its biggest celebrities lashed out Tuesday at the man who made him famous.

Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, the Ohio voter who challenged President-elect Barack Obama on his tax plan and later became a hero of John McCain's presidential bid, said Tuesday he felt "appalled" at some of his interactions with the Arizona senator, and soon felt the need to ditch his campaign.

Speaking with conservative talk-radio host Glenn Beck, Wurzelbacher said he was specifically at odds with McCain's support over the massive $700 billion bailout, a measure many conservatives opposed despite McCain's attempts to shepherd the bill on Capitol Hill.

“When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen,” Wurzelbacher told Beck. “I asked him some pretty direct questions,” he continued. “Some of the answers…they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry.

"In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him."

Wurzelbacher rocketed to stardom during the third and final presidential debate, when McCain referenced the Ohio plumber's direct challenge of Obama's tax proposals. On an Obama campaign swing shortly before that debate, Wurzelbacher approached the Democratic presidential nominee while cameras rolled and challenged the candidate over his plan to raise taxes on those making over $250,000. Wurzelbacher said that could mean his taxes would go up if he ever achieved his goal of owning a plumbing business.

McCain jumped at the opportunity to use Wurzelbacher as a symbol of all small business owners who could potentially be penalized under Obama's plan, and his name was repeatedly invoked by both the Republican presidential nominee and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

But Wurzelbacher never appeared completely comfortable being used as a tool of the McCain campaign, and notably failed to show up at one campaign rally - prompting the Arizona senator to embarrassingly call out to him to no avail.

Despite his disappointment with McCain though, Wurzelbacher praised Palin as "absolutely the real deal."

Filed under: Joe the plumber
soundoff (584 Responses)
  1. Calis

    Summary of what Joe stands for-

    "I'm for the anti-intelligence movement! Anyone who uses their brains is automatically against America!"

    And intelligence doesn't mean college degree required, but someone says "no, 1+2 does not equal 'cat'..."

    December 10, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Wade

    McCain "The Pain" vs. Obama "Messiah".......thank God in 4 years
    we can hopefully vote someone better into office. Then again, with the losers we had to choose from this year, we might be screwed again.

    December 10, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. pam Eugene OR

    Joe is out for Joe! What a back stabber and an idiot.
    McCain at least has done things for his country, but Palin "the real deal".
    I don't think she is any more real than Joes' claim to be a real plumber.
    They both need to go away.

    December 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Alex in San Diego

    Oh Crap, I can see it now Palin\Wurzelbacher 2012!
    I can only hope!

    December 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Nate Meta

    So Sad theGOP continues to glorify and promote such gross ignorance!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. mkr

    Is there anyone in the world who care what this man thinks. He is an absolute nothing.

    December 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Path

    The man is intelligent and he represents the opinion of a vast swath of his fellow constituents. He can be safely used as a tool for understanding exactly whats wrong with the Republican party and why they will be unable to either recognize the problem or repair it.

    December 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    Glenn Beck and Joe the Plumber – two delusional, hateful men who fawn all over Palin and don't have a clue themselves. Joe ain't a licensed plumber and Beck ain't a political scientist or economist or even a journalist. Beck is a comedian who happened to spew enough angry white man rhetoric that he got his own show. Thank god he's at Fox soon and no longer at CNN. Although watching his show did make me feel intellectually superior!

    December 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. sammy

    For all of you that think he's an idiot, or worse. He's very representative of Americans today. Look in the mirror and then your wallet. Either or both are lacking.

    December 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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