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 the Banker

    Joe please move to Alaska

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. clay

    Joe your not all the things written here in comments but the people that took the time to make a derogatory comments are however lacking in any moral code at all. I would love to see any of these people sit across from him look him in the eyes and lets see who comes out on top. Its now easy for pencil neck little creeps with internet access to knock stand up people when all you know how to do is hit and run. Go up stairs and get your mother to make you a sandwich.

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Brian

    Well look who wants to jump off the McCain bandwagon(or should I say bus) a whole MONTH later...

    Seriously no one cares Joe. And judging by your Palin comments you're also still an idiot.

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. Farnk, Las Vegas

    Like Palin, the more Joe talked the more we learned how much he didn't know about business and taxes and also found out that he was neither a plumber nor a business owner and earned nowhere near $250K, in fact earned less than than $50K. Remember this gem from him, "You mean the more you earn, the higher your taxes?" This man in is 40's has never seen the tax tables? The whole story of Joe seems like a setup as shown by his recent book deal cashing in on his longer than normal 15 minutes in the spotlight. Joe writing a book, Really? What could he possibly have to write about? At any rate, he will now earn over $250K so I suggest Joe find an accountant, he certainly has shown that he is not capable of handling his own taxes.

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Tired of W, OH

    Joe, if Obama will hire you to fix the toilets in the White House, will you please just GO AWAY???

    Oh, I forgot. You're not really a licensed plumber, are you? Maybe you can call yourself a plumber because you can see the sewer from your house?

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Andrew

    Apparently 'dumb' is the 'real deal.' Good for you Joe!!

    December 10, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Seattle Sue

    I could see right away that Joe was as phony as Sarah Palin. Poor OLD McCain, one of the last times I saw him on t.v. he was still telling us how great Joe and Sarah were. Delusional!

    December 10, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. David - MO

    Give me a break Joe, you no more wanted to get off that bus with John McCain then you would turn down winning the lottery. And somehow now, Joe is a source for how millions of Americans feel? CNN shame on you for drumming up news like FOX.

    December 10, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Femi, Denver CO

    Hey! Anonymous, JOE PLUMBER

    December 10, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |

    I guess 15 minutes wasn't enough.

    December 10, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Joe the plumber is dumb. The bailout is necessary – not wanted – but necessary. If the banks go under the US goverment has to cover the money that the owe. The government insures the banks.

    The government does not have that the money on hand, and they most likely can't raise it through taxing" so they would need to print it. This would cause rampant inflation – essentially your saved money would be worthless.

    So get it out of your small heads that this is a Wall Street bailout – this is about saving the dollar and even our government from the collapse of one of fundamental institutions.

    Read – No one wants to pay money – but the consequences of our financial institutions collapsing would really be one of the worst if not the single worst thing that happened to our country since its founding.

    December 10, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Steve Schemitsch

    Does anyone really care what this idiot thinks? Go away Joe.

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Amber (Dem in FL)

    This guy is pathetic. He's a nobody..why are we still talking about him. It's obvious he just wants to be famous!

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Rave

    Joe the wannabe plumber, business owner, super hero, politician... YOU ARE FAKE

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Sachin Shetty

    "Joe the plumber appalled with McCain" . I think this would have been the best ENDORSEMENT for McCain if only this had come before the election.

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Say it ain't so, Joe (the bummer)
    Look, Palin, as I've told many people, is a physically attractive lady. No doubt.
    But, go to the week of the Katie Couri interview.
    Then, the next week with the Charlie Gibson interview.
    Sprinkle in the "goofy" answer for what a VP does, and she simply does not have the goods. Not yet anyway.

    By the way, did you ever get that tax situation corrected?

    And to obnoxious, the failures you pointed out were committed by a Republican administration, particularly Katrina which also had a Republican Congress.

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. steve

    And the genius Glenn Beck STILL has him on his show! Just goes to show how desperate and irrelevant Beck is!

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Mike Dallas

    I was "appalled" by McCrypt as well, at least I was honest about it.

    This clown seques his dishonesty and deceit into a book and music deal.

    Now that is someone that repugs should continue to hold up as an example!

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    There is dumb and dumber. Mr. Wurzelbacher was used like Highway 40 going west. Joe The Plumber had his few week of fame now pay our back taxes, finish school and if ever achieved his goal of owning a plumbing business be careful you mite get sued by your old Boss because he trained you and you know his business to.

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Waiting for Jan 20

    Call him Joe the Liar. He's not even a real plumber.

    December 10, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. Big Bob

    CNN is doing this. Try and be gracious winners. This guy is old news.

    December 10, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. Reality check

    My god, back off of this guy. He didn't ask to be used for political reasons ... he only asked a question. Glen Beck invited him on the show ... he didn't ask for more than his 15 mins!

    He does have more insight than the rest of us on his view of McCain ... he spent time with him, did you? If you don't care what he says why are you reading (& responding to) this article?

    You would all do the same thing as he's doing if given the opportunity.

    December 10, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. AEK

    Joe the I'm Not Really a Plumber, I just play one on TV. Joe the I Really Don't Have a Plumber's License and I'm Not Really Planning to Buy a Plumbing Business. Joe the Lier. Tick, tock, tick tock. Who restarted the clock on this clown?

    December 10, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Jake

    Who cares??? Go away, "Joe"

    December 10, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. Kathy

    Hmmmmmm. Like we really care about 'Joe the Plumber's take on anything.

    He's outlived his 15 minutes of fame.

    December 10, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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