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. Frank

    Sorry Joe,
    no one cares
    exit stage left.

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. maureen melcher

    Why is the media even covering this guy? His name is NOT Joe and he is NOT even a a plumber!
    It makes me nuts to think so many americans think Sara Palin is the "real deal" and he is more frightened by Obama than Palin!
    I hope Palin tries to run – I can;t wait for the media to pull the tape of her cooking in her kitchen after the election while her 7 year old walks around her holding her infant special needs son, in high heels, while Palin is calling her "sister"! She is nothing more than a narrow minded, right wing nut job that talks tough and carries a big stick to whack at anyone that doesn;t share her veiws or asks her questions she doesn't want to answer. I can't wait until she is tossed out of her job in AK because she uses tax payer money is her efforts to join "church and state"! Whack Job for President - Didn;t we have this already with Bush!

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. POD, Atlantic City NJ

    My goal as a businessman has always been to pay at least one million dollars in income tax on my personal income...........Ask me why Joey...............Well let me tell you..........the rules of the game are so stacked in favor of businesses in this country that by paying a million in income tax I made 10 MILLION in earnings and got to keep 9 MILLION for myself. My next goal is to pay 10 million in income tax and keep 90 MILLION for myself. The more you make. The more you pay....AND THE MORE YOU KEEP MORON!

    December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Patrick

    Honestly, do people really still care what this guy has to say? He is not qualified to make some of the statements that he has. He is not an economics professor, he is not a lawyer or a politician. From what I understand...HE'S NOT EVEN A PLUMBER! He was an interesting last choice for McCain to get people to notice, but like most of the other attention getting devices McCain used, fleeting, is the word that comes to mind.

    December 10, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. dennis callaghan

    Glenn Beck and Joe the Plumber – man, do they ever deserve each other? Two guys whose heads are firmly fixed up their respective arses. As the commercial used to say, "beautiful together".

    December 10, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. doc

    Film Professor December 10th, 2008 10:50 am ET

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

    yes, his name is obama.

    December 10, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Agnes Fleming

    Would Joe Whatshisname go back to where he came from, in the woodwork as the fraud he is. Who cares about his opinions, much less his groping for fame and fortune because of the ridiculous US media that is so desperate for entertainment they are grasping at straws. Is it any wonder that real newspapers are going under, i.e., the Chicago Tribune, etc. and the American poplace is do dumbed down somebody like this non entity comes along and has a field day. Like Sarah Palin, whom he thinks is the real deal, they both should go back to where the came from and keep each other company.

    December 10, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Don Owens

    Please inform Joe that his 15 minutes are up!

    December 10, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. nick q

    Vinny, I'll take you up on the bet haha. I bet $100 she'll pick jindal to not appear racist and then suddenly be asked how Obama doesn't look like one of us and jindal somehow does. And then she'll flip flop because Jindal is republican and say he is more american.

    December 10, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. JH

    NO ONE CARES WHAT HE HAS TO SAY! The fact that he continues to get any air/news time at all is enough to make any of us real hard working Americans sick to our stomachs. Please stop posting stories. The only reason I clicked the story was to post a comment.

    December 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Lynne

    He was too comfortable, CNN! Sam Wurzelbacher is nothing more than an opportunist. He is not a celebrity nor does anyone care what he has to say. He rode the McCain bandwagon as long as he could. Now he isn't getting as much attention, so he is throwing McCain under the proverbial bus.


    December 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. al in memphis

    This is why I'm in favor of driving restrictions that read " stay away from sharp objects and children who need intelligent conversation".

    December 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Anonymous

    This guys is a PLUMBER! Not an expert on politics...

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Marian Clark

    Who cares what stupid Joe the dumb plumber has to say about crap. Why is this article even being written and published. Guys a total idiot he needs to go snake a few toilets and pays his taxes!!

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. chai

    Appalled? Seriously, who is this guy? Joe your old news, get over yourself. Move on CNN.

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Josh

    Who cares what this Lying Skinhead thinks. We now know who he really is. Now he wants to cash in on his .15 minutes? Hell NO!!
    Go BACK INTO YOUR LITTLE HOLE. You Set Up,,,,,,,,

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Mike

    I would loooove to know exactly what kind of "direct" questions Mr. Joe could possibly have asked McCain regarding the bailout. His grasp (or lack thereof) of economics was so evident during the campaign that I doubt anything of substance was discussed. He probably wanted to get off the bus because he couldn't comprehend what McCain was saying and not because he disagreed with what was being said.

    And Palin is "the real deal"??? Please....

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. Molly Weasley

    Well, we're appalled at him.

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Agnes Fleming

    As an aside, I do hope Joe Whatshisname's taxes go through the roof; it might help him to educate himself and otherwise keep a low profile.

    December 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Tab Cocovillea

    Joe, get clogged.

    December 10, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. Deborah

    Who CARES what he has to say??? We should care about the opinion of someone who misrepresented himself in his original questions to Obama??

    And Palin is the "real deal?" My sides hurt from laughing!!!

    December 10, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. amanda

    LOL this is actually entertaining news because it represents how dumb people who live in the midwest are... just kidding 🙂

    December 10, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. MJ

    This guy is a joke. Only another joke like Glenn Beck would be interviewing him.

    JOE, Palin is not going to leave Alaska and move to Wurzelbacher land so the two of you can live happly ever after and have 5-10 more kids. Well.... I don't know...... Maybe??

    December 10, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Brandon (Wilmington, NC)

    Why won't any of them go away?!! Palin, Joe, and the rest of the lot, just please go away. I'm sick and tired of seeing you on every news channel, with nothing to say, except for wanting MORE attention!! Let 'em rot in hell for all I care...Obama all the way!

    December 10, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. doc

    Lauryn December 10th, 2008 10:45 am ET

    "How is an Obama presidency scarier than a McCain presidency? Last time I checked, you would benefit more from Obama’s tax plan."

    and just how is it i benefit from having my taxes raised in a time of reccession? care to explain that to me? no? i didnt think so....

    December 10, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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