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McCain Takes a 'Joe' Sprint Across Florida

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, back to camera, touches Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain on the arm as they have breakfast with McCain's wife Cindy, right, and a group of small business owners during a stop at the Starlite Dinner in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Oct. 23, 2008. (Stephan Savoia/Associated Press)

By Michael Abramowitz
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. -- John McCain is taking "Joe the Plumber" on tour in Florida.

The ubiquitous Ohio tradesman is not actually present in body, but McCain is invoking his spirit on a bus tour across Florida, from the Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Coast to Sarasota on the Gulf Coast, as he renews his appeal to blue-collar and middle-class voters.

"There's Joes all over here," McCain said, as he surveyed thousands of supporters spread out around a giant lumber yard at All Star Building Materials here. "We shouldn't be taxing our small businesses more as Senator Obama wants to do. We need to be helping them expand their businesses and create jobs."

McCain accused Obama of "saying anything to get elected." That was a reference to comments this week by an Obama economics adviser that Obama had revised one of his tax proposals to add a work requirement; McCain has been charging that Obama's tax plan amounts to "welfare," a charge most independent experts contest.

A fiesty McCain also got in a little dig at his Senate colleague Joe Biden, making light of his recent comment that Obama would be tested early on in his administration. Obama said his loquacious running mate sometimes makes a few "rhetorical flourishes."

"Really? Really?" McCain said, feigning surprise. "That's another way of saying he accidentally delivered some straight talk to America."

Obama has been pushing back hard against McCain's new tax onslaught in recent days, noting that 95 percent of Americans would get a tax cut under his plan. "So what they're trying to do is to fabricate an argument and try to suggest that somehow what I'm proposing would hit the middle class or small businesses," he said in Richmond Wednesday. "Senator McCain's running a campaign against somebody else, not me, because he's not speaking to my plan."

At a rally in Leesburg later, Obama mocked McCain's use of Joe the Plumber. "Let's be clear about who John McCain's fighting for. He's not fighting for Joe the plumber. He's fighting for Joe the Hedge Fund Manager. He's fighting for Joe the CEO," Obama said.

After several days of hopscotching battleground states by plane, McCain boarded his signature bus, the Straight Talk Express, this morning for a series of events in vote-rich Florida, a state he almost certainly must win to have any hope of winning the presidency. Obama is making a strong challenge for the state's 27 electoral votes, which went to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

After the kick-off this morning, McCain will be stopping at a dentist's office and other small businesses he argues will be harmed by Obama's economic policies, just like he claims -- against considerable evidence -- that Joe the Plumber (Samuel J. Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio) will be harmed.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 23, 2008; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Economy , John McCain  
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Why not replace "Joe the Plumber" with personas that are more appropriate for McCain & Palin? How about "Larry the Lobbyist," "Harry the Hedge Funder," "Marvin the Mortgage Broker," "Oliver the Oil Baron" "Pharmy the Pharmacy Industry Rep," "Millie the Military Contractor," "Harry from Halliburton," and last, but not least, "Wingie the Right Wing Nut."

Posted by: oldwoman | October 23, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber?

You mean the guy who isn't named Joe who is not a plumber who told Obama he was going to buy a business but he isn't that he said made over $250,000 per year but doesn't, whose taxes Obama would raise except that he wouldn't, and said taxes wouldn't be paid anyway because he doesn't pay his taxes anyway?

That Joe the Plumber?

Posted by: DrainYou | October 23, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Palin is a Socialist Freeloader!!

$150,000 shopping sprees (at all the best "elitist" shops, no less), on the Republican National Committee tab.

$21,012 worth of free flights for her daughters, charged to the state.

All this, when she already makes $125,000 a year as governor and pockets an extra $22,883 in energy extraction royalties.

Sarah Palin is a chisler supreme.

All of which makes the fact that she charged $16,951 in expenses charged to the state, including 312 per diem allowances for staying in her own home just that much more amazing.

A dual income family, with Sarah earning $125K. Free travel (even for the family), and now free clothes, hair and makeup. They can actually go out in her backyard and shoot a moose, keeping her family in free mooseburger for a year. And still she feels the need to cheat. Shoot that moose for free and still charge the state $60 per burger. And she claims she deserves every bit of it.

Now that's what I call a perverse sense of entitlement.

"Sounds like socialism to me," to borrow a phrase.

Just another fake "bootstrapper" Republican. What a shocker.

Meanwhile, we all have to endure the indignity of Palin turning the campaign for the Vice Presidency into some kind of FOX reality TV makeover show, where they take some ridiculously not-ready-for-prime-time pol and dress her up, push her out on the stage, and see if they can turn her into a VP in 10 weeks.

What the heck, right? It's just being second in line to the nuclear launch codes. No big thing. We could even do a whole copromotional deal with moose sandwiches at Subway.

Thanks, Republicans. You sure do love your country n' stuff.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 23, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 23, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I can't hear that woman voice anymore(palin)


Posted by: fu_buki | October 23, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what about me???

I am Joe the dotcom visionary. I am working hard for about one year to create some much hyped-up but probably worthless new business, in the hope to sell a good deal of shares to some idiots or hedgefunds or just some greedy stupid billionaire for a couple of millions (in the three digit range, if possible!) ...

... and Mr Obama audiciously wants me to pay a tax rate for that as high (or - gawdforbid - maybe even higher) than my janitor or secretary or the guy which delivers me pizza every night??? That is SO UNFAIR!!!


Posted by: om4n | October 23, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA BIDEN 08...!!!


Posted by: fu_buki | October 23, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Field Dressed: Inside Sarah Palin's Excellent Shopping Adventure:

Posted by: janawalter87 | October 23, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber

Used and abused.

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 23, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pastor123 | October 23, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Thank you John McCain and RNC. I am Joe the Fashion Designer. I'm so happy that your running mate bought all my clothes. Although, i'm still under the $250,000 level, so I am entitled to an Obama tax break. I'm too sexy for Milan!

Posted by: AB68 | October 23, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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