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. Gina in Racine Wi

    Look at Joe the fake Plumber trying to milk his 15 minutes of fame (again).

    He knows McCain won't seek the VP he trashes him and throws him under the bus......and he thinks Palin has a shot at the Presidency in 2012 so he is sucking up to her.

    This guy must be a Republican.

    December 10, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. R Liberty

    Joe WHO ?

    December 10, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Annette

    This guy is one of the original opportunist, seems to say anything for media attention. What's really hiliarious is that the bailout had since, been done pre his self-inflected so called "celebrity attention". Why speak out now! He is fake!

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Rob

    Why is Joe given a platform? It is people like Joe that requires us to invest in education. Im tired of the uninformed and ignorant in this country.
    Send Joe to school!

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Domenic

    Hey, I hear that they are trying to make a sequel to Dumb & Dumber, this time they are looking for a woman & a man (Joe & Sarah). LOL...

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Vena

    Really? This was news worthy? Joe needs to go back to his job and CNN needs to find something new to report on.

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    What a bunch of whack jobs. Palin and Joe 2012! The democrats can't lose.

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. tio pepe

    does anyone really care to legitimize this goober?

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Angie

    joe get a REAL job. you are acting like some of the polictians. you have milked your 15 mins of fame into a hour or two. you are the one that chose mcsame/palin(aka pitbull in lipstick) so stop complaining. you picked a LOSER.

    December 10, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Todd M

    Isn't this the same guy who wasn't really buying a business? Who wasn't really making that much money? And who got Obama's tax plan all wrong? The guy would actually have benfitted under Obama's tax plan, but he felt the need to stretch the truth [being charitable not calling it a lie]. He isn't an authority on anything and please don't waste anymore of your or our time.

    You got one thing right: He is a tool.

    December 10, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Lauren the Designer

    I'm sure his praise for Winky has a lot less to do with what comes out of her mouth than how she looks.

    December 10, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. mary, colorado springs, co

    Can we PLEASE turn the page on Joe and Sarah, and get on a new page of the future?

    December 10, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Dave G

    Somehow people have come to think of Joe The Plumber as the "average Joe".

    Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher makes more than $250,000 a year. That's why he was concerned about Obama raising his taxes. That's NOT an average Joe in my book.

    He also appears to be way to the right of most people on the political spectrum, so it's not surprising that McCain was too liberal for him.

    December 10, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Sam

    Who cares? Stop reporting this kind of crap or giving it front page prominence, or are you trying to help sell his book?

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Rebekah A.

    Please...stop the madness...I can't take anymore! First John McLame, Failin Palin and now Joe the Dumber Plumber...please, stop the madness!

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. peter, ct

    I like this guy... I don't agree with him on much of anything except his resentment towards McCain, but this is a real american citizen... it all his non-sensical, apparently two-faced, ambiguous glory. I imagine if I were suddenly thrown into the limelight through some political shmuckery, I would have a similar non-linear argument against the opposition and a noticeable annoyance with those who I thought I supported. As for Palin, I believe she is just like "Joe", in that she's a non-linear political figure who stands for her own ground, not for the ground of those she's elected to represent. She's a hockey mom, and anyone who's ever worked with hockey mom's should know how bull-headed they can be.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Vic

    Joe didn't get off that bus, though, did he?

    Since that bus isn't in service anymore, looks like he's trying to hitch a ride on the next one.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. ETTA

    It is time to move on for we have a new President-Elect that will need Jo the Plumbers to roto router the mess of the last 8 years.

    Joe go back to Ohio and become a productive citizen.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Abyssinian Lion

    Please tell Joe the "wannabe plumber/politicain/author/country music singer" that his plumber's crack is showing.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Lori In DFW, Texas

    I can just imagine this guy in his old age, boring others within earshot about his glory days of fame with the McCain/Palin ticket.

    Oh wait, that's RIGHT NOW.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Really Now!

    Joe the plumber used the word "appalled" and knew what it meant ?not a believable story.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. hawkeye

    Get over yourself. A meaningless working stiff who really thought John cared. Head in the sand???

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Jim Williams Palin as "absolutely the real deal"? Yeah, about as real as his non-existent plumbing company and 250K paycheck. What a dope.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. ch

    Will he please just go away – and take McCain and the "Real Deal" Palin with him.

    Palin the Real Deal? yes – really right wing, really uninformed, really unprepared.

    December 10, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. Mike

    And the point of this is what? It is time for Joe 'not so much the Plumber' and Sarah Palin (the only person who could make Dan Quayle look smart) to go back to their respective home and live out their lives far away from the spotlight.
    You both were GOP Pawns and got used.

    December 10, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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