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October 16, 2008

Say It Aint So Joe: Joe The Plumber Isn’t Even a Plumber!

 “Joe the Plumber” isn’t really a plumber.

He’s an unlicensed and unregistered employee of a small plumbing and heating company in suburban Toledo, Ohio, who was mentioned 26 times during the 90-minute presidential debate — the war in Iraq received only six mentions. Go figure!

 Before the debate was even finished, three local television stations had parked live satellite trucks outside Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher’s home on Shrewsbury Street in Holland, Ohio, and the networks were rushing to interview him.

Overnight, Joe the Plumber became a national celebrity.

Mr. Wurzelbacher is a 34-year-old plumber’s assistant and a registered Republican who thinks Barack Obama “can tap dance – almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.”

  On Sunday, he was playing football with his 13-year-old son outside his home, when Mr. Obama suddenly showed up to campaign in his neighborhood.

As Mr. Wurzelbacher watched his neighbours fawn over the candidate, he fumed.

“I didn’t think they were asking him tough enough questions,” he said on Thursday.

“So, I thought, you know, I’ll go over there. I’ve always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them.”

He shook hands with Mr. Obama and told him he wants to buy the business he works for, adding its income — $250,000 to $280,000 a year — would qualify for a tax hike under the Democratic candidate’s election proposals.

“Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” he asked. Mr. Obama told him, “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success, too.”

“Because you’re successful, you have to pay more than everybody else?” Mr. Wurzelbacher said on Thursday. “That’s a socialist view and it’s incredibly wrong.”

But Joe the plumber also acknowledged he earns substantially less than $250,000 ($40,000) which would make Joe eligible under Obama’s plan for a tax cut! 

“It’s pretty surreal, man, my name being mentioned in a presidential campaign,” Mr. Wurzelbacher said on Thursday.

 But that was just the beginning.

When he went to a gym on Thursday morning he returned home to find 21 reporters camped out in his driveway, and newspaper columnists and Internet bloggers across the country earnestly debating the impact Joe the Plumber will have on the November 4 election.

Obama’s campaign took advantage of Mr. Wurzelbacher’s sudden popularity to buy a Google search ad linking Internet users to a Joe The Plumber’s Tax Cut Web site, which has a calculator they can use to work out their tax cuts under an Obama administration.

After the Washington Post reported it was unable to find a listing for Mr. Wurzelbacher in the database of the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board, the local newspaper, the Toledo Blade, reported Joe the Plumber is an unlicensed employee of Newell Plumbing & Heating.

He is not registered to work as a plumber in Ohio.

The newspaper also reported Mr. Wurzelbacher had a lien against him by the Ohio Department of Taxation in January, 2007, for failing to pay $1,183 in property taxes.

 When the president of the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors National Association in Washington issued a press release applauding Joe the Plumber for helping small business owners play a role in the debate on the nation’s economic future, the business manager of the Toledo local of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters & Service Mechanics issued a statement complaining Joe the Plumber hadn’t even undergone apprenticeship training. “When you have guys going out there with no training whatsoever, it’s a little disreputable to start with,” union boss Tom Joseph told the Toledo Blade.

We’re the real Joe the Plumber,” he added, noting his union backs Mr. Obama.

“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache,” Mr. Wurzelbacher said on Thursday.

“Everybody wants to know about it.”




  1. Thanks for the in depth coverage of this very important story. It appears clear the candidates are more concerned with Joe than the economy or the Iraq war. And I’m sure John Mc Cain will follow up on his pledge to help Joe….but now with his tax problem.

    Comment by 4wrdthnkndad — October 16, 2008 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  2. I really do not see what the big deal is on joe the plumber, and how did the media single out this guy since there are dozens of actual sites with company names of “Joe the plumber”?

    Try doing a search in google and there are loads of them, but I bet the servers for these joe the plumber sites are getting strained by the unrealistic media buzz on a political joke by McSame.

    Comment by sgtphoenix — October 16, 2008 @ 11:21 pm | Reply

  3. This joe fellow reminds me of a movie that came out recently about this one guy who gets to cast the ballot that will decide the election. I don’t remember the name right now.

    In my country many people say they are mason and can’t even read, tiler with no “official” training. There are plumbers, mechanics among many other manual labor and they are darn good. If he says he is a plumber well.

    I hope the media doesn’t try to destroy his life regardless of his politics by going through all his records and garbage. I like Joe, he should give up the plumbing/contracting business if its too hard for him and go to Hollywood, no tap dancing though. They can cast him as an evil looking son of gun.

    Comment by duttybwoy — October 17, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Reply

  4. I agree, there is no reason to invade “Joe’s” life. He’s still a private citizen. He’s had his 15 minutes – maybe he’ll fade to black.

    Comment by Paulette — October 17, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  5. So he has the MONEY to buy a Quarter of a MILLION dollar company but he is NOT going to buy it because he will pay 3% more in taxes?? He actually will lose out on $250,000 because he will pay maybe $7k more in taxes? AND when did middle America average JOE make $250,000 in a year!!! He owes back taxes now, his home is ‘modest’ but he can afford a loan to buy this company? AND does the company PROFIT $250,000 or GROSS $250,000??? If the company grosses $250,000 then with all the legal tax deductions his PROFIT is much less and he will receive the OBAMA tax break!! IF the company PROFITS $250,000 then he SHOULD pay more taxes as the company probably grossed over $6 million.

    This is starting to smell funny. This guy wals up from nowhere with a specfic question for the contender and then he is referenced exhaustively by the GOP and disreputabls media outlets as example and photo op. If it were a thinly veiled ploy (and its starting to look that way, the level of sophistacation of Ohio GOP operatives leaves much to be desired, as well as the notion that the constituancy would be unable to access or consume this bit of theatre of the obsurd and recognize it as such. John needed a Joe Sixpack so Joe the Plummer was created, manufactured, packaged, bought and sold.

    Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.

    Comment by TS — October 18, 2008 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  6. TS – I agree. It’s simply crazy. What is wrong with some people’s thinking? Joe the dummy makes $40,000 and would save $500 in taxes with an Obama presidency.

    Some people are plain confused. If an American makes over $250,000 they should pay a little more in taxes. Without taxes how will we pay for the war in Iraq, Veterans’ benefits and where will we get money to repair our bridges and roads, etc.

    If these confused Americans are so pro American why don’t they believe in rebuilding America? Where do they think the money will come from?

    Like you stated so clearly, if someone makes $250,000 why would they object to paying an additional $7,000 in taxes?

    Thanks for stopping by and please EARLY VOTE!

    Comment by Paulette — October 18, 2008 @ 9:59 am | Reply

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