Obama: McCain Making Up Attacks on Joe the Plumber
By Robert Barnes
MIAMI -- Joe the Plumber's time is not yet up.
Barack Obama brought him up at a rollicking rally here tonight and essentially told John McCain to stop lying about him "attacking" Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio plumber whom McCain made famous in the last debate.
In Pennsylvania today, McCain said that Obama and his campaign have been going after Wurzelbacher, who challenged the Democrat over his tax policies when he was campaigning in his neighborhood.
"Joe didn't ask for Senator Obama to come to his house, and he didn't ask to be famous," McCain said. "And he certainly didn't ask for the political attacks on him from the Obama campaign."
(Actually, Wurzelbacher sought out Obama, and pretty willingly went on all the network morning shows the day after McCain mentioned him nearly two dozen times during the debate.)
Anyway, Obama went after McCain's characterization of him.
"I had the opportunity to catch a little of Senator McCain's speech in Pennsylvania on TV." Obama said. "He has decided to completely make up, just fabricate, this notion that I've been attacking Joe the Plumber."
Obama added, "I've got nothin' but love for Joe the Plumber. That's why I want to give him a tax cut!"
Obama contends that, because Wurzelbacher makes less than $200,000 a year, he will get a tax cut under his proposal. Wurzelbacher had told Obama that he wants to buy the plumbing company he now works for, and his rise in income would mean a tax increase.
Wurzelbacher has complained about the media portrayal of him after it was reported he owes back taxes and is not a licensed plumber. But as Obama said, "Joe the Plumber himself said" he didn't believe Obama was attacking him.
"I think the media pretty much did that all by themselves," Wurzelbacher told Fox television. "You know, I don't think -- I held no animosity towards either one (of the candidates), by no means."
While Obama held himself out as blameless, his running mate, Joe Biden, took what might be considered a shot at the campaign's other Joe.
On the "Tonight Show," Biden said he did not "know many plumbers who are making $250,000 a year and worried about it."
"We're kind of worried about Joe the fireman, Joe the policeman, Joe the real plumber with a license," Biden added.
Obama tried to turn the argument to his advantage.
"John McCain is still out there, just saying this stuff, just making it up," Obama said. "He knows full well that I will cut taxes for all the workin' Joes, all the small business people across the country to help them pursue their dreams, because I want to help rebuild the middle class that has taken such a hit these past eight years under George Bush with a big assist from John McCain."
Posted at 9:30 PM ET on Oct 21, 2008
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