'Joe the Plumber' launches bid for Congress
October 25th, 2011
09:51 PM ET
11 years ago

'Joe the Plumber' launches bid for Congress

(CNN) - Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," kicked off his congressional campaign Tuesday night, hoping to win over an Ohio House seat for the GOP.

"Our current system is all about control. It needs to be fixed," Wurzelbacher said. "They keep on putting duct tape on it. I'm not the kind of plumber that uses duct tape."

Wurzelbacher gained GOP rock-star status in 2008 after challenging then-presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama on his small-business tax plan.

His confrontation quickly became a popular anecdote in the presidential election, frequently used as a campaign message by the Republican Sen. John McCain and running-mate Sarah Palin.

The plumber-turned-celebrity has since capitalized on his fame by writing a book and making multiple media and campaign appearances.

While he turned down a chance to run for office in 2010, he's now challenging Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving Democratic woman in the House, to represent Ohio's 9th congressional district.

Making his announcement at Tony Packo's, a Hungarian restaurant in Toledo, the candidate said he's confident of a win, as said he knows how to "keep it simple."

"I don't have to remember what I said five years ago because I believe it. That's what it comes down to," he said. "They're not going to catch me in a lie. I'm not concerned about that at all. You've got to keep it simple and that's what it comes down to running for Congress."

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • House of Representatives • Joe the plumber • Ohio
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. David

    So he claims he's not part of the wealthy elite, he's a "simple man". What he won't cop to is that his campaign will be funded by the right-wing wealthy elite. You can't win anything without a lot of money behind you.

    October 26, 2011 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  2. tommytd

    Lord help us all.

    October 26, 2011 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  3. Patriot

    I'm sure that, being a simpleton, he'll keep it simple.

    October 26, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  4. matt houston

    "I'm not the kind of plumber that uses duct tape.."

    Well Joe, America doesn't need a plumber in Congress. We don't want pipe dreams.

    October 26, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  5. Tony

    This is good news for Democrats. Joe the fake plumber would help Democrats in 2012, just like Christine O'Donnell the former witch helped Democrats in 2010.

    October 26, 2011 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  6. Boba Phett

    Sam, your 15 minutes of fame were over long ago. Now you're just annoying. Also, America needs EFFECTIVE and SMART leadership, not plumbers that have demonstrated their ignorance repeatedly.

    October 26, 2011 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  7. Fred

    "I'm not the kind of plumber that uses duct tape." You are not a plumber at all ya schmuck...

    October 26, 2011 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  8. nishant

    oh well, let him try out his luck and see how far he makes it......i guess once you get all the camera pointed towards you its hard when they are gone....reminds me of balloon boy saga.

    October 26, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  9. Michael Siever

    "I'm not the kind of plumber that uses duct tape." Yeah, you've got that right, in that you're not a plumber at all.

    October 26, 2011 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  10. Donkey Party

    "They're not going to catch me in a lie", he proclaims. Really Samuel (not really Joe) the non-plumber (not a licensed plumber)? His whole meager existence is based upon a lie. I guess that's why he's in the "not intended to be factual" party.

    October 26, 2011 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  11. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    He was never a real plumber just an opportunist. More of John McCain's roadkill that all of us have to suffer.

    October 26, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  12. Dave

    The Sarah Palin effect: You receive a glancing blow from the spotlight and suddenly you actually start believing you are destined for greatness. NEXT!

    October 26, 2011 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  13. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Samuel would fix in very well as a politician, considering he lied about owning a business where he was only a worker. Yes, the GOP is waiting for you.

    October 26, 2011 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  14. rude

    The guy became famous because he LIED! He is NOT a licensec plumber, he never had the $ to buy his boss's biz and he NEVER paid the taxes he complained about. Only the GOP would make a hero out of such a Loser Liar!! Just like Palin he is capitalizing on his his false persona to get those dollars from idiiotic GOPers who fall for anything.

    October 26, 2011 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  15. Jeff

    So does Joe believe he is a plumber? Because back in 2007-08, he stated he was, but alas, there was no license. Of course, he backpedeled and stated he was no longer employed at his plumbing firm. But again, no plumbing license.

    And what of his tax lien for back Ohio state taxes. Did Joe take care of that?

    October 26, 2011 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  16. xfile-clerk

    you've got to be kidding me.

    October 26, 2011 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  17. JJ

    Hey, look, the a55wipe whose name isn't Joe and who isn't a plumber wants to be a congresscritter.

    October 26, 2011 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  18. Mike

    He is the perfect GOP candidate: He misrepresented his professional qualifications 3 years ago when he wasn't fully licensed to do his own job. The GOP is largely devoid of ideas–they have fallen to a propoganda based party that seeks to win elections but would need someone to write their bills for them due to ignorance–much like they do in Michigan's legislature.

    October 26, 2011 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  19. NoTags

    The GOP/TP don't set the bar too high for members of Congress, so I have no doubt Wurzelbacher could probably be elected. In the last election the GOP/TP elected a reported "dead beat dad" from Illinois (Joe Walsh).

    I'm all for "average" working people running for Congress, however I do believe they should at least have an IQ greater than room temperature to qualify, and be current in their child support payments.

    I feel sure Wurzelbacher will receive "quality" political advice from the ex-Governor of Alaska. It's very likely Palin's first advice to Wurzelbacher would be to decline an interview with Katie Couric since she might ask some intelligent questions.

    October 26, 2011 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  20. Anansi the Wise

    Someone is looking for an extension of his 15 minutes. If this joker gets elected, along with the rest of the crazy crop of teapartiers, I gues we can look forward to another ineffective congress.

    October 26, 2011 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  21. America is losin it

    Republicans only care bout the fame and money how can you vote for them

    October 26, 2011 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  22. Bob Jobs

    Say it ain't so, Joe!

    October 26, 2011 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  23. Big Jilm

    That's the problem "Sam" – our country's problems (and the world's for that matter) are not simple; there are no simple, catch-phrase ways of fixing things. What ideas could you possibly have to bring to the table?

    October 26, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  24. timz

    Didn't they already catch Joe the Plumber in any number of lies back in 2008, or am I just remembering?

    October 26, 2011 06:03 am at 6:03 am |

    This slug really helped McCain/Palin,didn't he? Wingnuts never learn.

    October 26, 2011 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
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