Obama Talks to Joe the Plumber -- and About Him
By Robert Barnes
RICHMOND -- Is Barack Obama trying to steal Joe the Plumber?
For the second straight day, Obama brought up the Ohio plumber, a.k.a. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who was made famous by Republican John McCain during the last presidential debate.
After Obama and Wurzelbacher good-naturedly sparred over Obama's tax proposals, McCain decried Obama's remarks that his plan would "spread the wealth" as "socialistic.''
But Obama likes to talk more about how Wurzelbacher would receive a tax break under his proposals.
Yesterday, Obama called McCain's assertion that the Democrat and his campaign have "attacked" Wurzelbacher a "fabrication.'' And today, he brought up Joe again.
"I had a nice conversation the other day with Joe the Plumber," Obama told a packed and ear-splitting Richmond Coliseum. "Joe's cool. I got no problem with Joe. All I want to do is give Joe a tax cut!"
He told them not to be fooled by McCain, who wants to continue President Bush's tax cuts which also reward the wealthy. "Let's be clear who Senator McCain is fighting for. He's not fighting for Joe the Plumber. He's fighting for Joe the Hedge-fund Manager. John McCain likes to talk about Joe the Plumber, but he's in cahoots with Joe the CEO."
The McCain campaign shot back with an e-mail noting Obama had been cavorting with CEOs at yesterday's job summit in Florida. "It's Barack Obama who has taken more campaign cash from 'Joe Hedge Fund' than any other candidate," wrote McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "Obama has taken more money from Big Oil, more money from Big Pharma, and more money from Wall Street than John McCain, and if he wins this election, Obama is going to take more money from you."
In a more sober setting, meeting earlier in the day with reporters, Obama said the attack from McCain shows he is out of ideas.
"The irony is, is that when George Bush proposed the original tax cuts that lowered tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, who objected? John McCain, who said these were irresponsible and said that they would prevent middle-class tax relief -- that they weren't properly targeted," Obama said.
"Now was John McCain a socialist back in 2000 when he opposed the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?"
Posted at 3:53 PM ET on Oct 22, 2008
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