In 2000, when we were discussing vice-presidential choices with Al Gore, my partner Tad Devine conceded that Joe Lieberman would be an immediate hit; but he believed Lieberman would prove a long-term bust. He told Gore: “What you need is Mr. October, not Mr. August.”
Barack Obama got both when he picked Sen. Joe Biden. The Delaware Democrat immediately demonstrated that he was a happy warrior who could take the fight to McCain, stand up for Obama and connect with blue-collar voters and Catholics. Yet by late October, the conventional wisdom strangely had turned, devaluing Biden’s role and his appeal, and reporting that the supposedly gaffe-prone candidate had been hidden away after stating that Obama would be “tested” by a foreign crisis in his first few months in office.
Reporters have focused far more attention on Joe the Plumber than on Joe the Veep, Joe the Validator, Joe the Defender, Joe the Political Partner. McCain, who probably shouldn’t mention V.P. picks outside a confessional, scoffed at Biden last weekend as “the gift that keeps on giving”—despite the fact that Biden has helped deliver constituents and states and, hours from now, will help deliver the Presidency itself to Barack Obama. Standing behind McCain on the stage as he spoke, a sour-looking Cindy McCain didn’t even crack a smile. I suspect she knows the reality—of the race and of the value of the respective running mates.
Dana Bash | BIO
CNN Political Correspondent
During my regular morning call to McCain headquarters to see what’s up for the day, an aide told me we would finally see Joe Wurzelbacher – Joe the Plumber – appear with John McCain.
McCain’s entire closing theme is based on Wurzelbacher’s curbside encounter with Barack Obama over taxes. But Joe’s never been to a McCain rally.
About halfway through McCain’s first speech in Defiance, Ohio, however, I realized Joe wasn’t there. I called the aide I had spoken with in the morning, who told me that in fact Joe wasn’t going to be there after all.
Unfortunately, no one told the candidate.
As I was hanging up the phone, McCain started to yell for Joe, who he thinks is in the crowd.
“Joe’s with us today. Joe, where are you?” McCain called the into the crowd, “Where’s Joe? Is Joe here with us today? Joe, I thought you were here today (pause) All right, well, you’re all Joe the plumber, so all of you stand up and say – I thank you.”
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/21/nan.the.plumber.jpg width=292 height=320]Byron York
Tito Munoz was ready to rock when John McCain showed here up at the Connaughton Community Plaza in Woodbridge, Virginia Saturday afternoon. Dressed in a yellow hard hat covered with McCain-Palin stickers, wearing an orange high-visibility vest, Munoz carried a hand-lettered sign that said CONSTRUCTION WORKER FOR McCAIN. He got a coveted spot in the bleachers directly behind McCain, where he could be seen in the camera shot along with the guy holding the sign that said PHIL THE BRICK LAYER and the woman with the ROSE THE TEACHER banner. He cheered a lot.
Everybody was playing on the Joe-the-Plumber theme. McCain spent a lot of time on it in his stump speech, using the now-famous Joe Wurzelbacher of Toledo, Ohio, as a stand-in for “small businessmen and women all over America [who] want to keep their earnings and not give it to the government.” McCain added that Obama’s response to Wurzelbacher — the assertion that it would be best to “spread the wealth around” — made Joe the Plumber “the only person to get a real answer out of Sen. Obama.”
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