March 8th, 2012
08:28 AM ET
11 years ago

'Joe the Plumber' explains qualification for run

(CNN) – Samuel Wurzelbacher, the Ohio Congressional candidate best known as "Joe the Plumber," said Thursday his status as an American citizen was qualification enough to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In an interview on CNN's "Early Start," Wurzelbacher said he had developed a new political awareness in the four years since his rise to fame as a backer of then-presidential candidate John McCain.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"For the last four years I've gone around building houses, taking trees down, plumbing, and speaking at different events around the country encouraging Americans to really get informed on who they're going to vote for and stop voting on 30-second soundbites and make sure their vote counts and then really exercise their civic responsibility as an American," Wurzelbacher said.

Wurzelbacher rose to GOP fame in 2008 when he challenged then-presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama over his small business tax plan.

The confrontation quickly became a popular anecdote in the presidential election and was frequently used as a campaign message by Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Asked Thursday what qualified him to run for office, Wurzelbacher noted his active political involvement.

"What qualifies me, one, I'm an American citizen," Wurzelbacher said. "Two, I'm very much involved in the process of what's going on. I guess my question would be, what qualifies the current politicians who are killing our country – Republicans and Democrats alike."

He added he thought the qualification question seemed "silly."

When confronted with past statements proclaiming "queer" not to be a derogatory term and suggesting he wouldn't allow gay people around his children, Wurzelbacher accused CNN of asking a "gotcha question."

"So this is TMZ, this isn't CNN, is what you're saying," Wurzelbacher shot at host Zoraida Sambolin.

Pressed further to explain whether or not he still held the same views toward homosexuals, Wurzelbacher explained his focus was on improving the jobs picture for all Americans.

"I'm going to work towards all Americans – homosexual, straight. They want jobs. That's what it comes down to," Wurzelbacher said. "I'm allowed to have my opinions as an American but it seems the left has become very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state."

On Tuesday Wurzelbacher won a Republican primary in Ohio's 9th Congressional District. He will face Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in the House of Representatives, in the fall.

Filed under: Congress • Ohio
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Pressed further to explain whether or not he still held the same views toward homosexuals, Wurzelbacher explained, "I'm allowed to have my opinions as an American but it seems the left has become very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state."
    This guy is walking, talking example of the narrow world view held by so many conservative voters. He was simply asked if he still held the same opinions today that he had expressed a few years ago. His reply is borderline psychotic paranoia.

    March 8, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. jon heban

    bad reporting all around. while joe the plumber may not be the most refined gentleman, and i don't agree with his politics at all, the question about what his qualifications for running for president was outlandish. try and remember the last time you heard that question asked on such a news show. there was clearly something personal there and it seems to have begun before the interview since they were frosty from the git go. cnn really needs to start reporting news instead of trying to make it.

    March 8, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Greg

    The man lied about his qualifications as a plumber, owed the government back taxes, doesn't know a damn thing about Americans. Yep, definitely qualified to run.

    March 8, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. maf

    Keep vetting Sam – Joe!! The more you challenge him on his ideology, the more un-electable he will become. Intolerant – maybe, neanderthal – most definitely!! Don't allow another Republican the opportunity to take us backward in our social process. You need to have more than just being an American citizen!!!

    March 8, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. steve

    Another MORON running, better check to see if he is a relative of Palins

    March 8, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. David Reston, VA

    Obama wasn't qualified to run for president and look at the mess we're in. Deep debt and corrupt cronyism.

    March 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. diridi

    this the beauty of Democracy not the color, tell your Rush Limbaugh, Glenn beck, Ann Coulter, Maureen Dawd, Karl Rowe, the nation's idiots, thugs, cheats, loots.....o.k, Mr. Universities, you do not need education for running for public Office, as long as needed minimum required age and citizenship qualifications....

    March 8, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Donkey Party

    Just when you thought the GOP and their voters couldn't make bigger jokes of themselves...

    March 8, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. Jared

    Dear Nut Bag, Your 15 minutes was up a long time ago...please just go away and try to get your plumbing license which you never had in the first place

    March 8, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. Harry Baxter

    I hope that he's a better Legislator than a Plumber; if you can't find work as a Plumber, you must be pretty lame!

    March 8, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. harvey 60

    Joe the Dumber. He's got as many qualifications to be in Congress as a garbage bag.

    March 8, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Todd M

    US Rep Bobby Schilling from western IL won election to the house and he was a pizza shop owner. Why don't you ask him what his qualifications were? I thought that was a loaded question by CNN. Not everyone who runs for office need be a professional politician or a lawyer or a doctor or a CEO.

    March 8, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. alleygator

    What does Weaselbacher know about jobs? He doesn't work and doesn't pay his taxes.

    March 8, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. V in Chicago

    Why is it everytime a Republican is asked a question they are either not prepared to answer or they don't want to answer they call it a "gotcha question"? The phrase, coined by Sarah Palin, is becoming the pat answer for all Republican/Tea Partiers. If you put yourself in the arena of politics, there are no "gotcha questions". That's how the game is played and they need to quit trying to change the rules. As a voter, I want to know why Mr. Joe Plumber thinks he is qualified. Again, just like Sarah, he got a few minutes in the spotlight and is going to milk it for all he can. I saw this interview and this man is not someone I would want making decision on my behalf.

    March 8, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. REG in AZ

    What qualifies "Joe the plumber", like Palin, McDonnell, Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Cantor, Ryan, Boehner, Santorum, Gingrich and so many others, is their willingness to be "puppets" for "the money" which they will serve and which strongly supports them. "The few" will "pull their strings" and they then just dance accordingly and together they put out an abundance of propaganda to con the people and manipulate public opinion, taking the people for granted. Bush-Cheney perfected it and many have now followed – no where in there is there any real consideration, let alone benefit, for the majority.

    March 8, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. V in Chicago

    CNN – I watched this interview and to me, he did not explain his qualifications. The headline is a little misleading. He, like so many Republicans, tried using offense against the interviewer rather than answer the question with any real substance. Being part-time employed, as his so-called answer would seem to indicate, is not a qualification for being in Congress. Didn't this man have some issues with truth telling about himself and his employement when he was first plucked from the crowd by McCain and Palin? Kudos to Zoraida for standing her ground and being a professional. We do have the right to know if he stands behind what he has said in the past as it does affect how he will vote is elected (which is probably not going to happen).

    And, thanks John McCain. Yet another unqualified person you unleased on the Americn public in trying desperately to beat President Obama. Hope you sleep well at night.

    March 8, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    Sorry Mr Tax cheat but it is not a "gotcha" question. Answer it and then deal with the consequences, either from the uptight tightie rigthies or the democrats. Not that it matters because you are going to lose anyway.

    March 8, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. another one jumps on the clown car

    Deny, deflect, disparage. Sounds like is he is a perfect Republican candidate.

    March 8, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. GrogInOhio

    Is there any more evidence of the demise of the GOP needed than this completely unqualified person being touted as a US congressman? What does he know about fiscal policy, the legal process, the constitution for Pete's sake?

    March 8, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |

    Anybody who is stupid enough to vote for 'Joe The Plumber' needs to go 'Sammy The Psychologist'. You have to be a grade A moron to vote for this Republican shill

    March 8, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Republican who supports President Obama

    He might be correct but it does not address quality, capability, or competency.

    March 8, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Nellie Bly

    Joe the plumber running is beyond absurd.

    March 8, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. John

    He could not have learned all that much about politics if he still supports the GOP!

    March 8, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Jess C

    And the dumbing down of America continues....thanks to the GOP!

    March 8, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. DIANA

    Great Job Ohio – this guys fifteen minutes should have been up a long time ago. If he thinks just being an American is qualification enough – I should go to Ohio and run too. Please defeat him so he could go away for good.

    March 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
1 2 3