Barack Obama | John McCain | News

McCain's Joe the Plumber Claims are a Pipe Dream


I've resisted writing about 'Joe the Plumber' because I'm just plain sick of Joe Six-pack and Joe This and Joe That, but as Politico notes, "McCain hung his final presidential debate performance on an Ohio plumber who campaign aides never vetted" and this should be noted.

First, McCain's 'Joe the Plumber' attack ad and this morning's press conference:

Politico writes: "A day after making Joseph Wurzelbacher famous, referencing him in the debate almost two dozen times as someone who would pay higher taxes under Barack Obama, McCain learned the fine print Thursday on the plumber’s not-so-tidy personal story: He owes back taxes. He is not a licensed plumber. And it turns out that Wurzelbacher makes less than $250,000 a year, which means he would receive a tax cut if Obama were elected president."

Check out the new spot from "Plumbers Cracking the Case for Truth," AFTER THE JUMP...

McCain's plumber no ordinary Joe [politico]

(via slog)

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  1. Joe the plumber is clearly a tool (bad joke I know).

    I absolutely love this country and wouldn't be here if I didn't, but this 'we're the greatest country on Earth' bullshit he mentioned really grates. I'm guessing that Joe can assert this while very likely not even holding a passport.

    National pride is wonderful, but there's a point where it turns into ignorant jingoism.

    Posted by: Gregus | Oct 17, 2008 7:22:36 PM

  2. I wish we knew as much about Obama as we now know about "Joe the Plumber"

    Posted by: ellis | Oct 17, 2008 7:43:09 PM

  3. Hate on hard working american people. You guys are so cool. This blog has become an extremist leftist site with no room for anyone else gay or straight. You used to have a decent website with information for all gay and lesbians. You turned it into a left wing radical political blog. I'm out of here for good. I hope you enjoy your new communist leader that going to give you gay marriage while you wait in the bread line like the good communists of yore. Funny though, he doesn't even support it. Good luck in the Gulag.

    Posted by: Vi Agara | Oct 17, 2008 7:47:16 PM

  4. For those interested (and in the US), Obama's entire conversation with Joe the Plumber is over at and

    Posted by: damien | Oct 17, 2008 7:52:10 PM

  5. When I was watching the debate and heard McCain mention "Joe the Plumber" the first time I thought, oh please no, not ANOTHER ridiculous republican narrative - and then as the phrase was mentioned over and over and over and over again... I absolutely knew here we go again. It is simply amazing as the story points out the guy is an absolute fraud - yet that doesn't stop FOX NEWS from endlessly droning on about him. Funny how they are picking out all these "folksy" phrases but at the end of the day they don't really give a crap. Again, the cynicism and hypocrisy is just so over the top right now it has beyond words. My jaw just drops at their unmitigated gall. Unbelievable!

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 17, 2008 8:02:00 PM

  6. Ellis the only way that you could not know anything about Obama is if you are too stupid to research or go to his website or read his books. But you were smart enough to come to this blog and troll so that can't be it, can it?

    Good bye, dear Vi. Don't the doorknob hit cha where the pig (with lipstick) shoulda bit cha.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Oct 17, 2008 8:06:14 PM

  7. Ellis, if you want to know more about Obama, perhaps you should read his two books. You can't expect to be spoonfed everything.

    And Vi Agara, good riddance. The last thing anyone around here wants is someone who is going to cry "leftist", "radical", or "communist" every time someone rightfully questions the McCain campaigns choices in this election.

    Additionally, we don't need or want someone who uses such words without really knowing what they mean. If you think Obama is really a communist, perhaps you should go live in a North Korea for a bit, and then come back and tell us the same thing.

    Posted by: Eric | Oct 17, 2008 8:08:16 PM

  8. "This blog has become an extremist leftist site with no room for anyone else gay or straight."

    I guess Obama is so far ahead of McCain because our country is suddenly full of extreme leftists? Joe the Plumber was Joe the Fraud, and the criticism is aimed at McCain for trying to make him into something he's not. Obama is as much a Communist as Joe is a Plumber earning more than $250,000. That's a ridiculous argument. Even Communists aren't Communists anymore. The reality is that people like Joe are supporting a Republican party who has never been interested in their middle-class lives.

    P.S. There are plenty of right wing blogs out there for you, Vi agara. Not too many of them like gay people much, but I assume that's irrelevant to you.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 17, 2008 8:18:14 PM

  9. Joe Wurzelbacher is related one of the most corrupt 'hard working Americans': Charles Keating. Sorry to report that Vi Agara. I'm sure you're fantasizing that Joe's a cool, average dude. Joe doesn't exemplify ANYTHING average. He didn't pay his taxes but his daddy has contributed more than $10,000 to the Republican party. Find me a plumber with a silver spoon and I'll bets ya his name is Joe Wurzelbacher.

    Posted by: pickles | Oct 17, 2008 8:20:58 PM

  10. Joe Wurzelbacher is related one of the most corrupt 'hard working Americans': Charles Keating. Sorry to report that Vi Agara. I'm sure you're fantasizing that Joe's a cool, average dude. Joe doesn't exemplify ANYTHING average. He didn't pay his taxes but his daddy has contributed more than $10,000 to the Republican party. Find me a plumber with a silver spoon and I'll bets ya his name is Joe Wurzelbacher.

    Posted by: pickles | Oct 17, 2008 8:22:00 PM

  11. Afraid YouTube snacks will NOT determine this election. Don't believe me? Read the summary of a survey released last month by MediaVest:

    "Study Finds Voters More Involved With Campaign Media, Dispels Myth That Online Will Swing Election
    Sep 29, 2008

    Americans appear to be much more involved with campaign-related media than in past presidential elections. But despite the increasing use of Web sites, blogs and social media platforms, they generally remain more skeptical about the Internet as a source of information about the candidates than they do from traditional media outlets. And their No. 1 source of media influence is the most traditional form of all: Word-of-mouth. These are the top line conclusions of a new consumer survey conducted by Publicis' MediaVest unit in the post-primaries period leading up to the general election.

    "What we are finding out, is that when it comes to news and information, trust is paramount, and when anyone can publish their opinion online, consumers don't trust it as much as when they can go to a newspaper or a television station and learn what those journalists and commentators are saying," John Spiropoulos, vice president-marketplace research and analytics at MediaVest USA, says of the relatively low credibility associated with online media during the 2008 presidential race.

    The finding contradicts a popular perception and media spin that online media has been shaping the outcome of the 2008 campaign, but the MediaVest research, an online survey of 1,000 adults conducted Sept. 11-17, finds that online options such as campaign Web sites, blogs, and social media pages rank lowest when it comes to attributes that American voters are seeking most from sources of presidential campaign information, especially "fair and impartial news and information."

    The online versions of traditional TV, newspaper and magazine Web sites, scored better than pure online sources of information, but still did not perform as well as their traditional media formats when it comes to voter perceptions about "trust," Spiropoulos says.

    The good news for the overall political process is that American voters appear to be more interested in political news and information than they were in the last presidential campaign leading up to the 2004 vote, but the most credible and influential source of such information comes not from professional media outlets, but from friends, family and colleagues via word-of-mouth. That is a factor that is consistent with other communications planning research, Spiropoulos says, which have shown personal recommendations and advice to be the greatest source of influence in consumer product and purchase decisions.

    Ironically, the most important segment of the 2008 voting population - undecided voters who may swing the election - are the ones least likely to be reached via traditional media outlets. According to MediaVest's study, they are among the lightest users of media of any kind."

    Is that last line scary or what?

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 17, 2008 8:24:51 PM

  12. Leland, do you really think there are any real "undecided voters" this late in the game? Every voter in this country knows whom they are voting for.

    Joe, the alleged plumber, just another right wing pawn who listens to Rush Limbaugh and the other right wing nut's who actually hate democracy and equality, and has no real clue, that the GOP is not the working man's friend.

    Posted by: Justin | Oct 17, 2008 8:36:26 PM

  13. I know Pickles mentioned it briefly, but I just can't get over how funny it is that this guy complaining about taxes being raised has failed to pay his own taxes (resulting in a lien currently against him). A relatively paltry amount too ($1,182.98) for someone allegedly attempting to buy a business that makes $250K a year. Especially when you figure that with a 4 to 1 investment ratio, he would need a cool million to purchase.

    I don't know of many unlicensed plumbers with a million dollars laying around; although, I can think of one unlicensed plumber who should never have opened his big mouth!

    Posted by: RP | Oct 17, 2008 8:54:17 PM

  14. Wow!!! Lets as a non ignorant based society focus on the person asking the question instead of the question itself... shall we? I mean after all it's not about the questions being raised, it is all about the person asking the questions, right? No, no... now I know that there are those of few that are so interested in the great vast majority of the "working people" of America like the plumbers and janitors and school bus drivers and warehouse workers and police men and teachers and ... oops I guess I have named a vast majority of American People that might have been offended by what Mr Obama might have said in front of a group of "Apple Pickers" ... my bad. Okay, I'm a truck driver that might just make enough money to get by with enough to pay my bills, lets say. But I'm a working guy that makes things happen that you need. I could also be the guy in your front yard cutting your grass and planting new trees. I could also be that guy building the wind generators that supply the power to your home. I am the working guy, The Joe Plumber that you call on and yes , I have a few questions. So, don't smother me with who I am... BE NON-IGNORANT AND FOCUS ON THE QUESTION!

    Posted by: JPeteUSA | Oct 17, 2008 9:06:59 PM


    When McCain mentioned "Joe the Plumber" 21 times during the debate, Joe became part of the discussion of this election.

    Yes, we have to look at the question (duh). We should also look at who is asking that question though.

    Furthermore, I don't see how Obama raising taxes on people earning more than $250K would offend the list of Americans you gave. That three percent tax increase would not affect them. Actually under Obama's tax plan they would receive tax breaks, so your point is kinda moot.

    By-the-way, please use words like "mindful" or whatnot instead of "non-ignorant". I don't mean to sound standoffish, but it’s a pet-peeve of mine. "Non-ignorant" is not a word.

    Posted by: RP | Oct 17, 2008 9:31:17 PM

  16. Joe's comment was:

    “Do you believe in the American dream? My dream is running my own business. But I am worried about high taxes if I earn more than 250,000 dollars.”

    He didn't say he was currently making $250,000, but rather speculated that as a small business owner that he might make that in the future.

    Anyone who interpreted that statement differently is borderline illiterate,

    Mike and Ernie call Joe the Plumber a fraud? Really. Because he owes back taxes?

    And according to Wikipedia, he was in his yard playing football with his kid when Obama came to his neighborhood on a campaign stop. So how in the world could the guy be a Republican plant? Are the Republicans secretly planning Obama's campaign stops?

    You know, I don't spend a lot of time doing in-depth research into current events, but I tend to have a pretty good idea of what's going on because I pay attention--and I also think it's more important to know the facts than to get caught up in the hype.
    Ask yourself how the hell you'd feel if John McCain came to your front yard and after asking him a tough question, you found the media tearing through every detail of your life and dragging you through the mud? And then a bunch of irresponsible bloggers and their half-informed readers decided to feast on whatever was left over? Think of the chilling effect on free speech if you couldn't express your opinion--right or wrong without being harassed and destroyed. Then how is America different than China or Iran where you also can't speak your mind for fear of the negative consequences?

    This example might be a bit more relatable: What if you published an article critical of George Bush and soon after coincidentally found yourself on the government's no-fly list of suspected terrorists? Sounds familiar, right? Because we heard those kinds of stories over and over during Bush's reign. Isn't that the sort of crap we've been fighting against for the last eight years? And now we're the ones doing it? I ask again, is it OK only when we do stuff like this? Is your answer: "Of course we must destroy the plumber. He questioned the One"?

    Posted by: Tom K. | Oct 17, 2008 10:28:12 PM

  17. Joe the Plumber should not be purchasing a small business if he lacks the understanding that business income and personal income are not the same thing, and they are certainly not taxed at the same rate.

    However, even if his personal income went over $250K -- am I supposed to feel sorry that his taxes would also go up? That would be more than 3x what I make right now, and I am extremely comfortable with a nice little savings. Boo hoo, Joe the (unlicensed, fraudulent) Plumber.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Oct 17, 2008 11:00:51 PM

  18. Do a google search on "great depression timeline" - very enlightening. Herbert Hoover raised taxes in 1932 before the election, but it was too late. The first George Bush raised taxes to get us out of the Reagan spending and tax cutting frenzy which put us into a recession... it helped jump start the recovery which continued during the Clinton years. Bush gets in, cuts taxes, debt goes through the roof and now we are in the midst of a global recession. Deju vu... duh... bottom line, yes it is income redistribution. So what! If you can afford to pay more, you should pay more! Makes sense to me. Just as Obama said in the last debate, no one likes to pay taxes, but it is necessary. Trickle down doesn't trickle down folks. All the evidence is there and we just making the same stupid mistakes. People need to fricken' wake up! Sheeeezzzz

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 17, 2008 11:41:57 PM

  19. Wow, I see the Republican trolls are out in full force today.

    Regardless of "Joe the Plumber", McCain has lead a slimy, mud-slinging campaign. McCain is a hot head who owns 8 homes, cheated on his first wife and then married that (wealthy) mistress, was so inept he crashed 4 jets and was caught in Vietnam, went to 5 colleges before getting a degree, has lied about his involvement about the Keating 5 savings and loans scandal, has voted 90% of the time with George Bush AND admitted two helping his campaign TWICE, voted AGAINST funds for war veterans, typically votes on party lines, and is an all around UN-American individual. Fuck "Joe the Plumber", let's focus on the facts. Right now, McCain is attempting to disqualify valid REGISTERED voters based on lost mortgages, not having a drivers license yet being an American citizen, and on and on. Does this sound familiar? Say, the last TWO elections?

    If you're a Republican, you're UN-American. Throwing big words like "communist" or "terrorist" without knowing their full meaning makes you about as ignorant as "Joe the Plumber". Maybe you should move to Alaska and assist Sarah Palin in charging rape victims for rape kits, leading her husband's Alaskan Independence Party secede from America, and top off the day having tea with Putin. In a word, PATHETIC.

    Posted by: CJ | Oct 17, 2008 11:42:54 PM

  20. Give me a break.

    Obama claims his uncle was one of the US troops who freed Auschwitz, and no one cared.

    Now people are parsing words over whether this guy is a licensed plumber.

    Posted by: rrgg | Oct 17, 2008 11:51:17 PM

  21. Yawn... The reason they didn't care was that he just got the name of the concentration camp mixed up. The name of the camp was Buchenwald and it was the first camp to be liberated in Germany.

    There's also a big difference between talking about heroic actions and trying to make political points from intentional lies. This guy knew he wasn't a plumber, he also knows he didn't pay his taxes (or one would hope) - his name isn't even fricken' Joe for pete's sake. LOL...

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 18, 2008 12:04:09 AM

  22. Jim the Democratic plumber

    Posted by: Jim | Oct 18, 2008 12:41:56 AM

  23. No matter how you slice it, BO told him it is a good idea to redistribute the wealth. Those are BO's exact words. I have paid my way through college (seven of them, and had great grades, but not lots of money, for you elitists out there) and worked hard for what little I have, and if someone else wants something, they need to do that also. It may require leaving the iPhone in the store, not drinking the latte every day, and studying once in a while, but it can be done.

    Joe the Plumber is just a symbol for the middle class. Do they not teach analogy anymore? Willy Loman was not real or exactly like a many people, but lots of people could identify with him in "Death of a Salesman."

    Regardless, I think there will be lots of buyer remorse around next summer if BO gets in, just like there was in summer 2001 with Bush. Just like Bush was elected by hatred for Clinton, BO is riding the wave of anti-Bush hysteria. McCain is not much, but at least his problems are known. We don't know BO's, because all of his files are locked away and he won't let us see them. Putting him in with his lack of knowledge is like re-forming Led Zeppeliin with a three-year-old drummer whose experience was beating on pots and pans while watching Barney.

    Posted by: Jeff | Oct 18, 2008 1:37:06 AM

  24. I was on the fence until I saw what Obama's attack team did to this guy, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who had the nerve to articulate his dream of buying a plumbing business to their messiah. It was a simple question, and Obama answered it. But I guess the people on the left were concerned about Obama's answer so they decided to buy some insurance and go after this poor guy who had the nerve and the bad luck to live on the street Obama was canvassing that day. I'll be voting for McCain now. And by the way, my first name is William and my middle name is James. My friends call me Jim.

    Posted by: Jim | Oct 18, 2008 2:26:57 AM

  25. Yep. His first name is William. His middle name is James. His friends call him Jim. his email address is

    And he's unhappy with the size of his penis:


    Posted by: 24play | Oct 18, 2008 2:59:32 AM

  26. 1 2 3 »

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