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)

    He as qualified to run for Congress as a unconcieved infant.

    March 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. JPX

    "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." Perhaps this means that he now understands that he is better off with a democrat in the White House given that the republican policies actually harm more than help him. This guy is so soul-suckingly stupid. Then again, I wouldn't expect anything less from someone who lives in Ohio.

    March 8, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Democrat

    If he gets mad when reporters ask uncomfortable questions, maybe running for office is not the best career move for him. He should be a public speaker instead.

    March 8, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. enuff

    If that is all it takes to run, I'll nominate my dog. He even can meet the age qualification. I bet McCain is proud of all the wanna-be's he set loose on the US. It would have been an interesting presidency with him telling everyone to sit down and shut-up constantly. Especially Palin.

    March 8, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. John

    Than the American People wonder why nothing can get done In Congress and the Senate. It because the American People are voting IDIOT like Joe the Plumber In to office. So you get what you deserve.

    March 8, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. SMH

    See, that's the problem with represents and officials. If we elected someone who stated that there only qualification is that he's an America citzen, then we should see a big increase in employment. Hey guys, all you have to be is an America citzen and watch the local news to be qualify representative.

    March 8, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
1 2 3