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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?"

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 22, 2008; 3:53 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Battlegrounds  
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Next: Expensive Wardrobe Goes Against McCain-Palin Story Line


HOW ABOUT A BLOG ON-IS OBAMA THE 2ND COMING OF CARTER? (when you include Ebayers, Obama's 2% of small businesses make over 250k comment is valid - when you consider small businesses that EMPLOY PEOPLE it is far OFF! So, get your resume in order!)

Ralph Reilan- IBD Today-

Obama gets to his reassuring 98% figure by lumping firms with no employees, the majority of small businesses, with small businesses that have 50 or 100 employees. Census data show that 79% of all American companies, counting both large and small firms, have no employees.

Similarly, the SBA's Office of Advocacy reports that 52% of small businesses in the U.S. economy are home-based — that is, not exactly the heavy-hitters when it comes to job creation.

As the New York Times reported regarding the makeup of the nation's 27 million small businesses: "According to figures compiled by the Small Business Administration, there are fewer than six million small businesses that actually have employees. The rest are so-called non-employer firms that report income from hobbies or freelance work done by their registered owners, earning as little as $1,000 a year."

By treating a lemonade stand the same as a home builder with 100 employees, Obama can get away with saying that 98% of small businesses in America won't be hit by his proposed increases in income taxes.

He's telling the 59 million employees in the small-business sector there's almost no chance, specifically a 2% chance, that their jobs or incomes will be negatively affected by his proposed tax hikes and policies to "spread the wealth around." In fact, Obama's proposed tax hike on incomes over $250,000 is precisely aimed at the small businesses that are generating the highest revenues and hiring the most workers.

"Two-thirds of small business profits are earned in households making more than $250,000 per year," reports Americans for Tax Reform. "In 2006, $473 billion of the $706 billion of small business profits was earned in households Obama has said he would raise taxes on."

Obama's proposed increases in income taxes and Social Security taxes would shift the bulk of the profits in the small-business sector to the federal coffers, reports Americans for Tax Reform:

"The tax rate on the lion's share of small business income could reach 54.9% under a President Obama. The individual top rate will climb from 35% to 39.6% and the Social Security/Medicare tax rate could climb from 2.9% to 15.3%. Put those together and you get 54.9%."

By increasing costs, Obama's higher business taxes would have the direct effect of increasing layoffs and raising prices. His proposed 54.9% tax rate would be the highest since the Carter administration, when the nation's unemployment and inflation rates peaked, respectively, at 7.6% and 13.5%.

Posted by: thecannula | October 23, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

McCain likes to remind us that he has been tested.

Understood and noted.

I would like to remind McCain that he has failed those tests and, therefore, cannot be advanced to the next level of government. It addition, unless McCain promptly demonstrates considerable improvement in his judgment and actions, it strongly recommended that he remove himself from any position which affects the well being of the American public.

His most recent erratic behavior of "scorched earth policies" in his campaign suggests he may be operating under the delusion that if he can't have America, no one can. He is showing symptoms of the pattern of an abusive boyfriend who attempts to disfigure the object of his obsession when he find he can't have her. In that kind of sick scenario, the spiteful abuser claims he loved her too much.

He's already showing symptoms, so we may need security to see him to the door. If he persists with his delusional accusations against his perceived enemies, in addition to prompt removal from his place of employment, we will need to obtain a restraining order.

Don't fall into the the trap of feeling sorry for him, or sentimental for "the good old days". After all, he has shown no remorse over causing others to lose their jobs, and the sooner he realizes he has a problem, the sooner he may seek help.

Posted by: rooster54 | October 23, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Is'nt it odd that yesterday Biden said that he guarantees America will be attacked by terrorists within the first six months of an Obama presidency because they will want to test him? He was not saying that either candidate will bring about an attack, he specifically mentioned that Obama was a young untested candidate. Isn't it odd that so far the MSM has written or talked about Palin's wardrobe just as much as Biden's prediction that we will be facing a terrorist attack as soon as next summer? What is wrong with this picture?

Posted by: cjones210 | October 23, 2008 6:07 AM | 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 2:44 AM | Report abuse

The Vice Presidential debate had more viewers than the Presidential debates? SNL had more viewers than they have had in 14 years? The interest in her is all negative? People are watching just to see her fail in some way. Google news puts Sarah Palin's wardrobe expenses as a top news story? ...The VP could actually preside/chair over the senate every day of the week constitutionally, but it has not been done in practice and would probably be pretty boring for the VP anyway. Thank you wise constitutional scholars. Biden's just plain stupid (repeatedly) comments (they make no politcal sense) are curious. Where is he coming from with that? I hope the crazy birth certificate lawsuit (Mr. Berg) doesn't pan out, because if Obama is elected and has to step down (not a citizen) then we end up with Biden and whoever he picks? Hope he has a great whitehouse press secretary and sec. of state to do his communicating.

Posted by: star_key2 | October 22, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Side Show Palin is a 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 22, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

"Our economy is structurally sound for the long term"
-George W Bush - Feb 11, 2008

"The American people can remain confident in the soundness and the resilience of our financial system"
-Henry Paulson - Sept 15, 2008

"The economy is fundamentally sound"
-Herbert Hoover - October, 1931

"The fundamentals of our economy are strong"
-John McCain - Sept 15, 2008

*McCain does not have the ability to fix this economic crisis. After declaring the fundamentals of the economy strong, McCain created a political circus in Washington by mucking up bailout negotiations; a deplorable campaign stunt, considering he and his political cronies helped cause the current meltdown.

It was McCain and his economic adviser Phil Gramm who pushed for the deregulation that helped lead to the banking crisis, and it was McCain's crony Rick Davis who had deep lobbyist ties to Freddie Mac. Don't be fooled by McCain's economic grandstanding because the reality is his policies and principles will only exacerbate our financial hardships.

McCain is being deceitful with his sudden populist message and support for regulation; his economic policies favor our nation's wealthy elite.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 22, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I see the third shift trolls are punching in.

Posted by: wes1155 | October 22, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I worry about Joe. Joe the Buffoon. Joe Biden.

Here, we have the gayest of gays spinning at 50,000 rpm over Palin's wardrobe, and Biden is uttering such classics as "J O B S, a three letter word.." and "Stand up, why don't you.....Oh, sorry, you're in a wheelchair.."

Yeah, Palin can handle a state, a business, an airplane, a family, and a disabled child, and Biden can't keep his foot out of his mouth.

Go Obama. We need a disaster like you, Mad Michelle, and Joe the Buffoon to repeat 1994.

Posted by: 7thDayNonConformist | October 22, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Note to Obama and Biden: Many plumbers own plumbing compamies that make more than $250K and hire plumbers and plumber's helpers. Some are millionaires and many file there taxes as a sub chapter s. If you tax these companies (the plumbers) more then they will hire fewer people and buy less equipment. It's a very simple cause and affect relationship that you are unable to understand.

Posted by: jbrittw | October 22, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

My home was destroyed by hurricane Ike. I lost my job the same day as the hospital where I work was inundated. We had flood insurance, homeowners insurance, windstorm insurance. I saved three months income for emergencies and I have been living with family. Let me tell you what the federal government gives a middle class citizen in his time of need - nothing. Not one damn thing. The FEMA staff was overworked and rude - think DMV workers. The SBA loan promised, never materialized. So if you believe in Barack Obama's promises, and you are an adult - you need to go get your head examined. Tax me less, and let me save for my future, because the government won't do a damn thing for you.

Posted by: daavina | October 22, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Pseudo Plumber:

I'm voting for Palin and the old guy.

She's experienced, ya know what I mean! (wink wink nudge nudge) ;-)

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 22, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Pseudo Plumber:

I'm gonna vote McCain because...because...because...

I like bright shiny objects like Palin.

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 22, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"Joe the Wannabe" and McCain

Perfect together.

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 22, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"Joe the Bloviator"

In the end, looks like you ARE the perfect symbol for the McCain crampaign.

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 22, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

MCCAIN IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICA'S ECONOMIC TROUBLES! McCain in April 08 declared that there had been "great progress economically" during the Bush years. On more than one occasion, he diagnosed Americans' concerns over the dismal U.S. economy as "psychological." (Phil Gramm, McCain's close friend and economic adviser supposedly excommunicated over his "whiners" remarks, is back with the McCain campaign full time again.) McCain, a man who owns eight homes nationwide, in March lectured Americans facing foreclosure that they ought to be "doing what is necessary -- working a second job, skipping a vacation, and managing their budgets -- to make their payments on time." And when all else fails, McCain told the people of the economically devastated regions in Martin County, Kentucky and Youngstown, Ohio, there's always eBay. McCain doesn't understand our tanking economy because it doesn't affect him.

The $100 Million Man
Courtesy of his wife Cindy's beer distribution fortune (one her late father apparently chose not to share with her half-sister Kathleen), the McCains are worth well over $100 million. (In the two-page tax summary she eventually released to the public, Cindy McCain reported another $6 million in 2006.) As Salon reported back in 2000, the second Mrs. McCain's millions were essential in launching her husband's political career. Unsurprisingly, the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti, who four years ago called Theresa Heinz-Kerry a "sugar mommy," has been silent on the topic of Cindy McCain.

The Joys of (Eight) Home Ownership
While fellow adulterer John Edwards was pilloried for his mansion, John McCain's eight homes around the country have received little notice or criticism. His properties include a 10 acre lake-side Sedona estate, euphemistically called a "cabin" by the McCain campaign, and a home featured in Architectural Digest. The one featuring "remote control window coverings" was recently put up for sale. Still, their formidable resources did not prevent the McCains from failing to pay taxes on a tony La Jolla, California condo used by Cindy's aged aunt.

The Anheuser-Busch Windfall
While John McCain played a critical role in facilitating DHL's takeover of Airborne (and with it, the looming loss of 8,000 jobs in Wilmington, Ohio), Cindy McCain is set to earn a staggering multi-million dollar pay-day from the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by the Belgian beverage giant, In Bev. As the Wall Street Journal reported in July, Mrs. McCain runs the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributorship in the nation, and owns between $2.5 and $5 million in the company's stock.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 22, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

McCain operative, Tucker Bounds, needs to understand that there is a distinction between contributions to a candidate and what a candidate proposes. Obama does not control who contributes to his campaing...he only controls what he will do once in office. The same goes for McCain. To illustrate, "Joe the Plumber" (Wulzelbacher) contributes to McCain but McCain wants to extend Bush's tax cuts and offers Joe zilch. Obama does not get the contribution from Joe the Plumber, but he proposes reducing Joe's taxes. This is analogus to Bounds example of the oil companies contributing more to Obama even though Obama wants to tax them more and McCain wants to tax them less.

Posted by: fcadmus | October 22, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who missed the memo:

Obama may be tested by an international crisis, but Joe Biden is confident that Obama's has a "spine of steel" and is capable of handling it.

McSame already failed the test. It was called Iraq, and instead of questioning Bush's decision to plunge our country into war, he got out his cheerleader's pom-poms and started leading the hysterical herd into the national disaster we've paid so dearly for.

Posted by: bclark3 | October 22, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Down in the polls, McCain's Divide & Flail™ strategy is to call Barack Obama's tax cut for 95% of Americans "socialism."

Well, McCain must have once been a socialist, because it turns out that for years he supported higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for lower taxes on the middle-class.

The YouTube don't lie:

Posted by: DrainYou | October 22, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Video of Rep. Randy Kuhl saying that Democrats want the American people to suffer and to hurt:

Posted by: Snakeheader | October 22, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

So, A vote for Obama is a vote for danger, Joe: Is that what you're telling us- Thanks for the Warning! I'll stick with Foreign Policy Credentials at the Top of my Ticket.

Posted by: thecannula | October 22, 2008 4:14 PM

Before you used reason and issues and although I thought you were dissembling and distorting, Now you are using fear mongering. Some how I do not think your judgment of leadership and foreign affairs out strips Colin Powell's.

For reasons of honest disclosure I think you should disclose that you earn more than 250K and that you support McCain to improve you business prospects. Doing that gives you some integrity.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 22, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: janawalter87 | October 22, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

thecannula, they are trying to cover that gaffe (aka politician accidentally telling the truth) with "Biden is prone to 'Rhetorical Flourishes'" . . . More B.S.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 22, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

So, I guess that was not Obama or Biden who initially made fun of any plumber "making $250,000"? And, are we also to believe that NO Obama supporters were digging up dirt on Joe (his REAL middle name too)?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 22, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse


"At a Seattle, Wash., fundraiser Sunday, Biden said, "Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America ... Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.""

So, A vote for Obama is a vote for danger, Joe: Is that what you're telling us- Thanks for the Warning! I'll stick with Foreign Policy Credentials at the Top of my Ticket.

Posted by: thecannula | October 22, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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