October 16th, 2008
08:45 PM ET

Evening Buzz: "Joe the Plumber"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/16/joe.plumber/art.joe.wurzelbacher.gi.jpg caption= "Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with 'Joe the Plumber' Wurzelbacher at a Sunday campaign event."] 
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

There's been a lot of discussion here in our newsroom about "Joe the plumber."  

For starters, we're asking who is Joe?  Well, his real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. The 34 year old single father lives near Toledo, Ohio. He got thrust into the spotlight during last night's presidential debate when McCain brought him up. By the end of the debate both candidates mentioned "Joe the Plumber" more than 10 times.

"I was just really surprised that my name was mentioned," he told reporters after the debate. "I think it helped them get their points across, so I was happy about that," he added.

"Joe the Plumber" met Senator Obama at a campaign event on Sunday and told him he was a plumber trying to buy a business and feared his taxes would increase under Obama's economic proposals.

We discovered today he's not a licensed plumber. He admits he's not likely to make close to $250,000, so he'd likely get a tax break under Obama's plan. He also owes back taxes, according to court documents.

On the campaign trail today, "Joe the plumber" was mentioned several times by both camps.

"The real winner last night was Joe the plumber. Joe's the man. He won and small businesses won across America because the American people are not going to let Sen. Obama raise their taxes in a tough economy," said Sen. McCain in Downingtown, Pa.

His opponent shot back at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

"He's trying to suggest a plumber is a guy he's fighting for. How many plumbers do you know making a quarter million dollars a year?," asked Sen. Obama.

Do you think this "battle" over "Joe the plumber" is valid? Does it even matter? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tonight on 360, we'll have all the raw politics.

Plus, we're unveiling another culprit of the collapse. And, we'll have the day's other headlines.

Join us at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    When I heard Senator McCain mention Joe the Plumber I knew that there was something to it. Now, we learn that he owes back taxes, doesn't have a plumber's license and only made $40,000 a year last year. Oh well, what will Senator McCain come up with next.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  2. timothy stephens

    I think "Joe the Plumber" might take John McCain up on his offer to run his campaign. Once again John McCain staff dropped the ball. The local news here in ohio found out that Joe is not a Plumber. He dosen't have a license and neither does the company he works for. I bet "Joe the Plumber" is voting for Obama now.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  3. cmworrilow

    The "Joe the Plumber" game last night was just another "Mistake" on McCains lists of things he should have not done. Joe, not his real name, not a real plumber, owes taxes, and today even slurred Obama racially when he compared him with Sammy Davis Jr. Shame on this man, and shame on McCain for going off point once again. Many here do not care what one man says the other did, what we want to know is how the one who is to be chosen will fix this Mess we are in. The hole that the Wall Street Thiefs and Washington Bandits has put us in is getting deeper and deeper everyday. Joe the plumber will have is 15 minutes of fame during which thousands will loose their jobs, many will lose their homes and their savings. McCain and Obama need to get on point and stop fighting like two children over a playtoy, because we are not!!

    October 16, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  4. Henry of NC

    Joe "the plummer" sounds like one of the "good ole boys"

    October 16, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  5. Shirley Jean Davis

    Maybe Senator McCain should of vetted "joe the plummer" before he made him a "poster child" for his change is comming campaign. Joe the plummer is not a licensed plummer, and he owes the state of Ohio in back taxes. additionally, he doesn't own or intended to buy a plumbing business. "Whoa"

    October 16, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  6. Henry

    Joe, the man McCain wants to support with his tax plan, doesn't exist. If you believe the conspiracy theorists, he's a Republican plant who's possibly even a member of the Keating clan. At the very least he isn't even officially a plumber, not really named Joe, and not anywhere near able to purchase a business like he claims. But the basic point is, the common man McCain claims his plan will help doesn't exist.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  7. JJ

    Jo from CT you need a life just like John McCain is George Bush that is a laugh in half people are CRAZY in AMERICA, frustrating is more like it. Does anyone on this blog actually look at voting records try looking at Obama it will scare you enough you WILL CHANGE YOUR MIND AND NOT WANT HIM AS PRESIDENT!!! TRY IT

    October 16, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Just Vonnie Boo

    I want America to know that the Republicans are trying everything they can to have John McCain elected as President. Let's take the Acorn situation as an example. The Acorn company ONLY REGISTERS PEOPLE, NOT VOTE FOR THEM – THERE'S NO FRAUD IN REGISTERING. The company cannot tell people what to write on the registration form. This is just a ploy from the Republicans to try to throw any and everything in the way for Americans to see who is truly qualified to be President of the United States. People need to get out of the old mentality that this country does not need change because we do. If we stay stuck, then we will be worse than we really are at this moment.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  9. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    When McCain kept mentioning "Joe Plumber" my husband and I both looked at each other and said "Bogus!"

    Sure enough, the so-called-"Joe Plumber" was ANOTHER Republican ..........LIE!


    October 16, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  10. Just 1 American Citizen

    bottom line here is that Obama wants to take Americans hard earned dollars and give it to someone else..... Anderson, how would you feel if you had to give me some of your money because the government feels you make too much to be able to keep it all?

    We already have a welfare system in this country..... In my opinion, Obama will only be expanding that welfare system.

    I already have to pay for people on welfare..... I dont want to pay for more!

    October 16, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  11. Greenville Gals

    I am so tired of all the negative comment throwing. Everytime you turn on the TV, listen the radio, and even surf the internet, you see some negative comment that one of the political parties has made. Both of these guys are applying for a job, and we are the employers. They should stick to discussing their qualifications. It is campaigns like these that make me wonder why 3rd party candidates don't do better in elections. Both parties are guilty of mudslinging, but some of the comments made at Palin rallies scare me. There are many lessons that I have learned from this campaign. But the one lesson I hope I do not learn, is that some Americans still devalue others based on physical characteristics. We need to vote based on who is ready to do the job, and who will do the job right.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  12. Robert

    Just a note, I'm Demcorat and I have a small business with 30 employees. I make more than 250 thousand a year and I can't afford
    any more taxes to my business. Probably will have to cut employees
    if more taxes come my way. I will be voting McCain.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  13. Alex Duthie

    Sharing the Wealth
    John McCain is ridiculing Obama for wanting Americans to Share the Wealth. The Republicans are totally against sharing the wealth. They want the wealthy to keep all their wealth, and add to it. They certainly do not want the American economy to be shared with the ordinary American people. They apparently do, however, do want to share the wealth with the Iraqis, to the tune of #10Billion per month.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  14. Lee Ann, Ohio

    Joe is a joke, when he speaks he is so far off from my beliefs and how I see this country. He comes off as arrogant, uneducated, uninformed, and living in a box with him, his friends and FOX news. To find out that he is a farce and not a plumber and that his name is not even Joe is disgraceful and very telling.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  15. EBJ in Texas

    so it also appears that "Joe the plumber" is not even a plumber after all and a further investigation showed he owed back income tax. Welcome to your 15 mins of fame guy, you may regret it for quite sometime now!

    October 16, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  16. Rob in Illinois

    Senator Obama has answered steady not unstable or fear mongering about his policies and Sen McCain just served to demonize him self not Sen Obama. He basically tried his old stay until all the roperters stop asking questions. Angry little man. Large Patriot and hero but becoming a zero.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  17. gisela

    It was funny to learn that the so call "Joe the plumber" is not even a plumber. McCain should had google this guy before he used him. To be related to Charles Keating is another story. This guy sounds like a selfish ediot whose 15 minutes of fame is over.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  18. Rob in Illinois

    I agree how many plumbers making 250,000./ year.

    At least Joe said his vote is private.

    We are the greatest country in the world with some really bad leaders.

    Not sorry for being in Iraq. Apparently he has not been there and the men and women who serve want to see their efforts not in vain.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  19. Karen

    I think this Joe the Plumber issue has gone too far. I'm an Obama supporter but I also think that we should preserve his privacy and not get carried away by whether he's a licensed plumber or what his tax status. Who really cares? This is getting old. On another point, he's done more interviews than Sarah Palin – what does that say?

    October 16, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  20. jo from ct

    I think Joe the plumber was a Mccain plant to make Obama look bad. We expect nothing else from John Mccain.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  21. Kim, Michigan

    Is Joe related to the "Keating 5" McCain just could help bringing up his past!

    October 16, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  22. Cam, Connecticut

    It sure seems like an appeal to intellectually lazy people. Run!!! The tax man cometh. A deeper assessment of this portraying how small business owners will be on the short end of Obama's plan would show it just doesn't hold water (bad plumbing?). Someone whose small business produces income for the owner in excess of $250,000 is rare or their business might not really be considered small by most standards.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  23. Mary

    Real people with real questions and problems are dissed by the Democrats. Very sad. If he was trying to buy a company that was registering questionable voters, there would not be no back-lash.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  24. Annie Kate

    Joe the plumber is just something else to fight about and throw negative statements at each other. I've tuned most of it out now. Both candidates have been negative and I really don't care who is more negative – I just remember they both promised to lead a positive honorable campaign – one that focused on the issues and didn't do the mudslinging. That was part of Obama's claim that he was a new type of politician (a claim I haven't heard lately). McCain said the same thing and having done it in the primary I thought he would keep his word on the general election. Neither did though – both went negative. Neither of them have even been elected and yet they both have already broken a campaign promise. Guess its just old politics after all. Whether it is Joe the plumber, Bill Ayers, or the Keating 5 I'm over it. I'm looking forward to your OTHER news tonight.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  25. Charisse V Riverview, Florida

    Joe the Plumber owes back taxes and isn't licensed- is this the best representation of the American small business owner that McCain could find? Poor John McCain, not only is he out of touch with middle class Americans, he doesn't even have a clue how much the middle class earns.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  26. Cyn Parkman

    Local evening news presented Joe's anecdote tonight but no mention of data shown above. Kept it quiet.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  27. wes in Texas

    This is beyond sad,he's not a real plumber,and he,like you said,owes taxes.This is the end,for John McCain.People like Joe,which is his middle name,he's just to far gone,it;s his mind,i blame am radio.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  28. Rob Lyles

    For me, the "Joe the Plumber" tactic backfired on John McCain. Obama has a more realistic view of how to overcome the economic issues we are currently faced with as a nation. Michigan is dieing a slow death and Ohio and Missouri are not far behind. Without jobs "Joe the Plumber" will not have anyone paying for his services. Which means "Joe the Plumber" will not make more than $250k per year. Obama mentioned the American Auto industry and the help he would get to them, which will help far more Americans than "Joe the Plumber" types. By the way I am a registered Republican and a NRA member, but the economy trumps my ability to purchase and own an AR-15.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  29. SM

    Joe the Plumber stands for many small businesses across the country. As a small business owner I am not rich. And it is not that Joe is rich if he has 250,000 in the business bank account. The problem is, at the end of the fiscal year for the business you are taxed on the so called profits for the year. Then when you use the money you have been taxed on to pay yourself and your employees, you are taxed again with payroll taxes. This is double taxation. The money should not be taxed until it is used. The money in the bank needs to be used to pay for bills, payroll etc. in the coming year. You are punished if you try to run your business responsibly. More taxes would eliminate jobs, businesses should be encouraged to grow and hire people. Obamas proposal will keep people from expanding and working hard only to give it all back in taxes.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  30. Larry

    Think the economy is bad now? Wait til next year! Tho it won't matter to folks like Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, etc.
    You don't really think that Obama will be runnning the country do you? Obama will be the figurehead of our country.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  31. Josh Basford

    Joe the plumber? This was a timely, on-camera ambush of Senator Obama. Rumor has it that Joe is a not-so-distant relative if Charles Keating. hummm. . .zero degrees of separation.

    October 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  32. Clarence Albuquerque

    Joe was the victim of political convenience or (unfortunate inconvenience).. Now he is the victim of the media microscope.

    October 16, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  33. john galt, CA

    sounds like "joe the mole".

    October 16, 2008 at 8:56 pm |