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. Jeff Fyke

    If Joe the Plumber thinks you're appalling, you must be doing something right.

    December 10, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Bhonest

    I love the way crooked people look to sale Americans bad products only to reveal the truth after it didn't work out. Thank you JOE, we knew the campaign and all the characters were all full of baloney...and so were you. Please stop pimping America, let's work together to give the people all our best.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Mike NC

    If Joe the plumber thinks that the Governor of Alaska is the real deal, then perhaps the two of them could reunite the GOP. And call what it has become: The "Grand-Old-Palin" party.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. rich

    And I am appalled that I have to read this mess!

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. karen-phoenix

    Joe, go live in Alaska with Palin and both of DO NOT step foot in the lower 48 again!!!! I want highly educated people to get us OUT of this mess we are in and take the US into the 21st global technological century!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Lee

    Go away, Joe. This is supposed to be news? I am no fan of the McCain/Palin campaign but you now say that you are sickened by McCain's politics? You allowed yourself to be used–which tells me a lot about you. For one, you are not very smart. Your 15 minutes of fame expired a long time ago.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. SE NM

    Joe the Plumber calling Sarah Palin the real deal is like calling Joe a real plumber. Both descriptions are self-promoting, but neither is true. Maybe a better description for both would be a cold sore that just wont go away.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Jeff

    The Mcain-Palin Show is a joke. Can you imagine them in office!!!!!!

    Picking a moron like Joe to be a front man ..and air head VP.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Truth Hurts

    Who cares about Mcsain, Palin or Joe the Dumber!! He must be gearing up to run for a political seat!! This is not news!!

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Akhter

    Absolutely ridiculous... i can't believe the media is still showing him. Nobody wants to see Joe the plumber any more and nobody cares about what he thinks? he's just an "average joe", please leave him alone and give us a BREAK!

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Mikey from San Antonio

    I think Joe the Plummer and Sarah the Hockey Mom should move to Russia.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Anita

    The personna of this guy was a con from the beginning. It was stated in the media that he really wasn't a plumber since he had no license. As far as his financial status was revealed, he would have a hard time making $250,000 a year. It was also alledged that he was seeking a singing career, writing a book. I guess this is the American dream, reach stardom whichever way you can. McCain and Palin fell for this charade. Evidently the majority of the voters did not.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Jay

    Seeking to extend on those fifteen minutes huh joey boy??????

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Durv

    Seriously?? you're just NOW "appauled"?? You're roughly 6 months behind the entire country Joe. And if you think "Palin is the real deal"...explain the real deal of what?- SHOPPING for new clothes by the RNC for her entire family?- The "real deal" of being an absolute egomaniac?
    i'm was waiting for her to just come out and look into the camera and repeat with conviction "....and the Iraq"....
    what a horrible example of American values and fairness.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. Alain

    Joe is ditching McCain because he thinks McCain's political career is over. What he seems to know understand is that Palin's national career is also over. So, kissing up or not to Palin will not lead you anywhere.

    Like everybody else said, your 15 min is over Joe. Get off the stage.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Wait...What?

    This guy is the epitomy of fraud.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. John

    Sadly this man pretends to represent the average American. Joe, your days of being an average American ended when you stepped in front of the camera. And now you keep stepping in front of the camera, you are definitely not the average American. You are a fake.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. Victory Gin

    That plumber has cracked...
    The fact that anyone gives this nimrod any airtime at all, is appalling.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Peggy the Unemployed

    The fact is Barack Obama is the one who originally brought this Joe the pseudo-Plumber to our attention during a debate. So, really old Joe has our president-elect to thank for his 15 minutes of fame, which was over a long time ago.

    December 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Jim

    First, I am appalled that a tax evading self promoting loser like "Joe" is still being given air time. When will the lunacy ever stop? Joe "The Plumber" is exactly why this country is in the mess that it is in. He is to ignorant to vote and should not be allowed to vote until his back taxes are paid. Any one who believes Sarah Palin is the real deal is either blindly ignorant or hoping to see her in the next "Girl's Gone Wild Video".

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. cyndi

    Dear Joe the plumber, Stay out of politics and stick to toilets, they fit your personality better!!McCain supporter

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. liz

    Whatever the topic, liberals seem to be filled with mean spirit, hatred, and bashing of anyone who dares to speak an opposing view. Where are the American traits that made this country great? Where is your Christmas spirit?

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Ron

    Joe, every one who knew MCcain was appalled with him, It just took you longer to see the truth, I dropped him like a hot rock when he wanted to give the eligal aliens amnesty and free services. His own people think he is a stick of dynamite looking at a place to explode. Sara is a doll, real pretty, but not qualified to lead the most powerful country in the free world.

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. dave

    Joe was appalled and angered by McCain but continued to campaign with him. The politics of personal promotion and pandering can be tricky...

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. David in Dallas

    Wurzelbacher praised Palin as "absolutely the real deal."

    I can't believe Repubs are thinking about putting her on the ticket on 2012. How easy do they want Obama's re-election to be?

    December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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