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. Sevin

    NIce Joe. Bite the hand that feeds you to extend your 15 minutes. You Sir, are an idiot.

    December 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Jason

    It almost seems like this guy was a republican plant, put into the crowd, full of untruths to try and make Obama look bad. If there is a real journalist out there, find out why this guy was there, why he lied about buying this business, could he even afford to buy the business, does this business even exist, or was this a grand plan of the republicans to get him on Camera and then immediatley promote his stupidity.

    December 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Chris W

    Glen, are you that hard up for guest?

    December 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Barbara

    Poor Joe the plumber... Did he ever really think McCain would want a relationship with a real "Average Joe?"
    Sweet revenge would be if he could ever admit Obama is the one
    person who can help him and that McCain and the Republicans are
    one bag of S–t when it comes to honesty.
    As far as Sarah... Joe, poor Joe... don't you see they used her too?

    December 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. LK from Michigan

    Why does anyone care what this twit has to say?

    December 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |

    Why is he still around???? Him and Palin are on the same boat, all they wanted to do was USE Mcain to get some fame, and they didnt even care if he won!!! HE needs to get lost, and NO ONE CARES!!!!!

    He should of thought about that before he became a pitbull for MR. MCCAIN!!!! LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO back to work and pay off your debt!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Eric

    What??!! Um, who is this clown? I am a devout progressive and the McCain/Palin ticket was laughable. But guess what "Joe"? McCain is a great, patriot. He nearly lost his life as a soldier, and has worked hard in the government for years. He can't help it he's stuck in a reactionary, go nowhere party. So shut up. And what does this say about Beck's radio show to bring on nobodies like this guy? Or, what does it say about the conservative movement, that this is one of their "spokesman"?

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Tim C

    After the 2008 presidential campaign, I've lost all respect for hillbillies and dimwits.

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Sachin Shetty


    If not for the bailiout , how do you then keep the economy moving ? Money doesn't flow from the TAP. You are just plain idiot ... Well add your mentor (Palin) to that list.


    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. JimS.

    What is this, a contest to see who's now the most irrelevant? So hard to choose.

    Joe the "Plumber" ? (ha!)

    Or could it be Glen Beck, the "Journalist"? Reaching pretty deep to find something to talk about, aren't you Glen? You and Nancy Grace are why I disconnected my cable.

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Bubba

    Sorry, he's not news anymore, if he ever was. He's noise.

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. T the B

    Appalled at McCain and not Palin? Keep your day job Joe.

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. sickajoe

    Ugh, enough with JTP. He just wants attention, and is milking it for all it is worth.

    You've been at 14:59 for a while now, Joe, and you can't fight time.

    Let's all help Joe realize his 15 minutes are up, and it is time to move on.

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. katie

    What a douche. Why is he still in the news? Please, someone, stop taping anything he says. Ugh.

    December 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Kina, NYC

    hahaha...i always believed this, ppl...all the folks on the McCain/Palin bandwagon during the presidential campaign were because of Gov. Palin...and it had nothing to do with her ability to lead the nation...they were just wishing to see her naked...ain't that sad? Gov. Palin is the "real deal"!!!..really?...r u kidding me?...haha...anyway, so what's Joe-the-Dumber gonna do now that his worst fear has been realized?...haha...i just don't get it...why wld anyone bother to talk to this man...God Bless America.


    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Micky

    What a piece of work! What makes things really funny: He supposedly abhors the bailout (and McCain for championing it), but he gratefully accepted a bailout to pay his back taxes.

    The perfect Republican ticket for 08: Palin/ Wurzelbacher

    I've even got their slogan: No ticket could be dumber than Palin and The Plumber!

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. JW

    Your 15 minutes are up, just go away

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Film Professor

    Has there ever been a dumber person paraded on the national political scene than this guy?

    First, he had no clue that he would have to "net" $250K from a plumbing business for his taxes to go up - that would probably mean total sales of 1.25-1.5 million a year for him to net that kind of profit.

    And he also seems to not understand that the plumbing business (like all businesses) will suffer as unemployment rates soar, so that everyone in this country has an interest in supporting well-thought out efforts to keep and create more jobs in this country, as long as there is some serious oversight and accountability.

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. cquan

    WHO CARES ??!! CNN should concentrate on WORTHY news, not this garbage !

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. Brian

    Palin and The Plumber 2012

    Their campaign slogan – "We couldn't find two bigger morons"

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. RZ

    I'm speechless. Unfortunately Joe is not.

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Sarah the Real deal.......true but what deal???

    December 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Joshua College Station Texas

    Wurzelbacher praised Palin as "absolutely the real deal."

    I think Joe, McCain, and Palin all live in some alternate universe. They definitely are not in the same reality as the rest of us.

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Danman

    Dear Joe,
    Go Away.


    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. Anne

    I'd just like to say "ditto". I haven't read one comment here that I don't agree with. Joe the Plumber gives REAL plumbers a bad name.

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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