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Joe the Plumber: the Video

Updated 11:32 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio plumber, confronted Sen. Barack Obama over his tax plans at a campaign stop earlier this week and became the surprise star of tonight's final presidential debate.

Above, a clip of the interaction and a subsequent follow-up interview with Wurzlbacher by Fox News, in which the plumber called Obama's policies "socialist."

Wurzlbacher has also given an interview to Family Security Matters about his views since the confrontation, a site which counts a number of conservative public affairs firm leaders as members of its advisory board.

The Associated Press contacted Wurzelbacher after the debate and asked him what it felt like to be repeatedly mentioned by the two men who are vying to be president. He described it as "pretty surreal, man."

Meanwhile, some other plumbers with businesses based on the name "Joe the Plumber" are likely to see Web traffic -- and maybe even business -- spike in the wake of the debate:, and

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 15, 2008; 10:51 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , John McCain , The Debates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Live Fact Checking the Final Presidential Debate
Next: Snap Polls: Obama Wins and Two-Thirds Want No More Debates


The ignorance in these posts is amazing. You all talk about paying a "fair share". Here are the distributions from 2006:
Top 1% of wage earners paid 39.89% of income tax
Top 5% paid 60.14%
Top 10% paid 70.79%
Top 25% paid 86.27%
Top 50% paid 97.01%
Bottom 50% paid 2.99%
If Joe the Plumber is in the top 5% he is one of those paying 60% of the income tax burden in this country. How much more should he pay? How much more should he be penalized so that people who put in less effort than him can share his wealth? The American Dream is not to "keep it all". To me the American Dream is to work hard and be rewarded for your hard work. Oabama's plan is to penalize people that work hard and reward those that don't - it's not to give anyone a leg up it's to give them a handout. That's not the American Dream.

The bigger question we have to ask is will Obama keep his word and keep the tax increase to only those making $250K? If you believe that see:
Clinton used a similar class warfare tactic and promised to raise taxes on people making over $200K and wound up raising taxes on almost everyone. According to the NY Times: "Families earning as little as $20,000 a year -- members of the 'forgotten middle class' whose taxes he promised during his campaign to cut -- will also be asked to send more dollars to Washington under the President's plan."

Believe what you will...

Posted by: obama_scares_me | October 16, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber FLIP-FLOPS

Last night he said who he was voting for was "between me and the button"

THIS MORNING, on CBS, Joe the Plumber said he's voting for McCain.

FLIP FLOPS gotta stick together!

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 16, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

To heap scorn on Obama's economic plan he calls on Joe Wurzl- or Wurzelbacher, the plumber. The name should warn already, literally translated "stream filled with roots".

Why McCain thinks he and Wurzelbacher, the plumber, are connected, hard to see. McCain owns +8 residences, +13 cars & his wife, the heiress of the one of the US Anheuser-Busch beer delivery franchises, so not very poor. If plumbers & fat, rich cats like the McCains are an example of the 99% American family, I'll eat my socks.

And even with their above average wealth, both McCain & his fan Wurzelbacher want to keep more for themselves, if not all.

If "keeping it all for myself" is the American dream, as regurgitated by Joe, the wealthy plumber, then America should go back to school.

That super-wealth does not make anyone any happier, we simply have to look at the grinding meanness of McCain's jams in debates. What makes this old guy so miserable? That the US lost the Vietnam war? That he didn't marry into greater wealth still? That the media don't believe his underhanded accusations against Obama?

We'll never know, he'll never tell anyone, not even himself. Where does his über-explosive anger, meanness come from?

If McCain, indeed, is the embodiment of the so-called American "maverick" then no wonder the rest of the world sees only another ugly American in him & his egotistical, selfish Scrooge-like economics.

Homo homini lupus est... i.e. "man is the wolf to other men" - McCain's & Gov. Palin's motto?

Keep everything for myself, the heck with the 50 million uninsured. He & the avarice in his Republican friends did what exactly in the last 8 W years to fully insure 100% of Americans with universal health care?

Answer: nil

Posted by: hchiba | October 16, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

In this instance, "Joe the Plumber" isn't some hard-working blue collar fella, he's an aspiring business owner. And if you are raking in a quarter million dollars a year, you are indeed rich. Period. End of discussion.

Posted by: bc54321 | October 16, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Re: Joe

Yes Joes is correct: Only plumbers can "fix" things.

Posted by: Premier | October 16, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Joe the plumber is related to Al the appliance repairman who charged my mom $40.00 for two minutes of work? I guess I should have become a plumber instead of a lawyer.

Posted by: corridorg4 | October 16, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

If Joe the plumber is truly going to 'make' $250,000 a year, he will have to gross somewhere around $350,000 a year. You pay taxes on your net, not your gross.

My husband and I are both professionals (lawyer and teacher) and will probably net $100,000 this year. I know we are doing a thousand times better than most American families. The average income where I live is $38k for a family of four. So Joe, get over it. The majority of us are safe from that tax bracket, and if you make that much, you should be feeling pretty good.

Posted by: corridorg4 | October 16, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Dear Joe,

its not rocket science to understand, all countries are built on wealth redistribution. according to Joe keeping all your money is "the American dream". What nonsense.

if no redistribution existed, there would be no public schools, no plumbing courses as technical colleges either, no police or EPA and so on... you would have to install your own main drain to the house & hook up your electricity yourself. our taxes affects all of the above & all the rest.

most of the plumbing items, if not all, I purchased this week were made in Europe (ball-bearing valves, squeeze joints, t-joints, plastic tubing). what does that say about the US plumbing industry? Outdated, like the US auto industry.

Posted by: hchiba | October 16, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Yep, Joe the plumber.

He charged me $200 to fix a broken pipe and didn't clean up after himself.

Materials: less than $5
Time: 10 minutes

I think he could afford a little more tax.(IF that were true).

I like the 'unbiased' FOX journalism too ;-)

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 16, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Joe the plumber needs to snake out the empty space between his ears, if this yahoo isn't a mccain plant, I'll eat my hat.

Posted by: pgiaquinto | October 16, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I have just completed watching Joe the plumber's video. He said at the moment his projected income from the business is $100,000 and he may reach $250,000 in a few years time. However, he was afraid that on getting to the office, Obama will lower the bar to $150,000, then $100,000, then $25,000 (ok, I made up the last figure) and he does not believe the guy. McCain, on the other hand is straightforward and thrustworthy. So now you know where the guy comes from.

My message to Joe is: Joe- in this country people pay tax for the good of the community. If at $250,000 you do not want to pay your tax, then the middle / lower income tax people, the people who pay for your service will have less money, and it may take you a lot longer to arrive at the $250,000 annual income. We have, as Cindy McCain so eloquently stated, her son and other soldiers in far away land laying their life. Are we going to cut their funding and also the funding of the veterans who come home minus limbs or needing psychiatric treatment. I think if you are earning $250,000 which would put you on the top 5% income earner, you should not begrudge paying your share amount of tax. I am sure Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet have contributed to charity more than what you will earn in your life time, but I have not heard them complaining about paying their share of tax.

Posted by: nagamas1 | October 16, 2008 6:50 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: scrivener50 | October 16, 2008 4:04 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: scrivener50 | October 16, 2008 4:02 AM | Report abuse

See McCains Best Moment during Debate, McCains One liner that was considered a zinger.

To see more debate Highlights and Outtakes

Posted by: pastor123 | October 16, 2008 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Anyone out there actually have a company? Employees? Business deductions?

I don't know about Joe, but he's got an idiot for a CPA if he's showing over $250K adjusted gross income - which is what Obama is going to increase taxes on. Adjusted gross is not the same as gross income, and not the same as profits.

If Joe had a good CPA he'd be netting about $500K a year, then writing off his car, his wife's car, his kids' cars, his bass boat, his pro sports season passes, his trip to the Super Bowl, his vacation in Hawaii, his vacation in Disneyworld, his own retirement program, his kids' 529 plan, his medical, and his vacation home. Oh yeah, he'd also be buying his business real estate (on which he'd have some nice deductions), and a few other things. By the end of all those deductions he'd be under $250K, living large, and still paying less under Obama.

Small business owners with up to 50 employees, and as I said, I have been one, although now I'm happily a sole proprietor, have lots of complaints, and lots of pressures, but the tax breaks are so sweet they'd never go back to being a wage slave. Never.

Posted by: boscobobb | October 16, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I had the great pleasure, of watching the Libertarian Party's Presidential candidate Bob Barr participate in the 3rd Presidential Debate, thru internet television! It was so refreshing to hear concise answers that were actual solutions to America's problems!

Posted by: KingRat22 | October 16, 2008 1:54 AM | Report abuse

I had the great pleasure, of watching the Libertarian Party's Presidential candidate Bob Barr participate in the 3rd Presidential Debate, thru internet television! It was so refreshing to hear concise answers that were actual solutions to America's problems!!!

Posted by: KingRat22 | October 16, 2008 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else see that Kevin Costner movie where a single vote decides the Presidency?

John King said this was McCain's best debate.

Posted by: JakeD | October 16, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

If Joe is making 250,000 as a plumber and his house only cost between 90,000 and 140,000 then he is doing quite well. How come a Republican like Joe, for it's obvious Joe is one, doesn't want to share his success. They are Patriotic until asked to reach for their wallets. Then, it's everyone for themselves.

Posted by: YUTZ | October 16, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Joe understood what Obama was saying.

Kinda like most of the contractors don't understand that they need to finish their contracts within a reasonable amount of time and not charge a frickin arm-and-a-leg for just coming to my house.

Sorry, contractors have been gettin rich off of me and seeing this idiot opened a wound.

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 16, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Yep, Joe the plumber.

He charged me $200 to fix a broken pipe and didn't clean up after himself.

Materials: less than $5
Time: 10 minutes

I think he could afford a little more tax.(IF that were true).

I like the 'unbiased' FOX journalism too ;-)

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 16, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Joe the plumber know good and damn well he was voting for John insane mccain right off the bat. Even if obama gave him a tax cut.

Posted by: r4147824 | October 16, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

What "Joe the Plumber" asked was basically just a rant. Remember how during tonight's debate when BHO got challenged over Ayers and was briefly unable to get his words out?

Well, if someone asked BHO a real question - not the puffballs that he's asked by the WaPo - and get video of his response and then uploaded that to Youtube, it could turn the election around overnight.

BHO has almost never been challenged. If someone challenged him on something - such as calling him on his lies - who knows how BHO would respond?

The MSM is never going to ask BHO a real question, so ** you have to do it yourself **.

Get your video camera, go to an Obama apperance, and ask him a real question. Then, upload his response to Youtube and let the blogs - and Drudge - know about it.

If you can't do that, then at the very least contact those listed here and urge them to push that plan:

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | October 15, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse



Let ME clue everyone in to Surreal:

The Difference for Joe the Plumber, between O'Bomba-Nation, and McAmnesty;


In a "Barry" World;

Joe not only keeps employing LEGAL Workers, and paying his Taxes and Payrolling Expenses on said Employees;


Gets CREAMED as a Small Contractor/Businessman being Taxed as a Big Businessman-Without the Tax-Dodges the big businessmen have!

While in a McAmnesty World, he only has to face the Spanish Speaking, or Criminal Employing Competitors who pay Imaginary Help under the Table, work done for their non-Existent Plumbing SMALLER(?) Companies,m who have somehow managed to rank in the MILLIONS!;


Oops, 20,000 more just arrived-But HEY!

The Invasora is SLOWING Down! :-(


WHY TF, was Illegal Employment NOT ADDRESSED?

Posted by: SAINT---The | October 15, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

See a McCain rally go bad, Booing and People leaving. A song Hank Williams sang was vulgar and offended some. Heres the clip

Who won the Best Palin Impersonator Contest? Not Tina Fey. See Clip.

Posted by: pastor123 | October 15, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

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