Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Joe the Plumber

A random guy Barack Obama met during a campaign stop in Ohio ended up becoming a key figure in John McCain's campaign — and spurred many a discussion about Obama's supposedly Socialist tendencies — to the point where the GOP nominee frequently cited him during the final presidential debate. McCain even went so far as to speak directly to him through the camera. In Toledo, Joe, a.k.a. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, 34, told Obama he was concerned about buying the company he works for because the candidate's proposed tax plan would raise his taxes. Obama's response mentioned the need to "spread the wealth, "a phrase his rival rallied against for the rest of the campaign. Though news agencies quickly reported that Joe the Plumber not only owed $1,200 in back taxes but also wasn't really a licensed plumber, McCain drafted Wurzelbacher to stump for him, only to be outshone by Joe's own ambitions: He stood up McCain at a rally, became a de facto G.O.P. pundit, chatting up talk show hosts and news anchors, and just came out with a new book, Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream. Yep, country first!