Joe the Plumber

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I feel more important to just encourage people to get involved, one way or another. If I can inspire some leaders, that would be great. I don't know if I want to be a leader.

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (December 3, 1973August 27, 2023), better known as "Joe the Plumber," was a political commentator, Internet correspondent, and former employee of a plumbing contractor. He was given the moniker "Joe the Plumber" during the 2008 U.S. presidential election after he was videotaped questioning Democratic candidate Barack Obama about his small business tax policy during a campaign stop in Ohio. The Republican McCain-Palin campaign later applied "Joe the Plumber" as a metaphor for middle-class Americans.


  • I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan's going to tax me more, isn't it?
    • A question presented to US Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama as he campaigned in Wurzelbacher's neighborhood. (12 October 2008) Obama responded in part:
My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off [...] if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody. - (Full, unedited video of the conversation between Wurzelbacher and Obama)
This response became a major focus of the presidential campaign of John McCain during the third and final presidential debates between him and Obama, on 15 October 2008, and in later campaign ads which compared Obama's comments on his tax plan to an embrace of socialism.
  • Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal. You know, I only got to spend a short amount of time with her but, you know, it was been asked if I felt any presence when I was with John McCain or Barack Obama. You know, with Sarah Palin, I don't want to say I felt a presence but she definitely had energy and she definitely went to work for American people, and it disgusts me on how often they try to bash her just for her sincerity. It's just, you know, she really wants to work for America and I mean, I wish people would listen to her and let them, and let her work for us. You know, she wants to serve us. She's not looking for power.
  • The Israeli people are actually incredible. Even with world opinion beating down upon them. They’re not broken. You know, for the most part, they don’t care. You know, they need to be protected and again I’m amazed by the courage that I see in the people.
    To be honest with you. I don’t think that journalists should be anywhere allowed war. I mean you guys report where our troops are at. You report what’s happening day today. You make a big deal out of it. I think its asinine. I like back in World War I and World War II when you’d go to the theatre and you’d see your troops, on a, on the screen, and everyone would be real excited and happy for them. Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to down our, down soldiers, you know, American soldiers, Israeli soldiers; And I think media should be abolished, from ah, you know, reporting. War is hell. And if you’re going to sit there and say look at this atrocity. Well, you don’t know the full story behind it half the time. So I think the media should have no business in it.
  • At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary— it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do — what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing.
  • I feel more important to just encourage people to get involved, one way or another. If I can inspire some leaders, that would be great. I don't know if I want to be a leader.
    • "Q & A: 'Joe the Plumber'" interview by Sarah Pulliam, in Christianity Today (May 2009) Web-only article


We're going to fight for Joe, my friends, we are going to fight for him. ~ John McCain
  • A vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel.
    • Though Wurzelbacher agreed with a statement first made to him by an elderly audience member during a press appearance: "A vote for Obama is a vote for the death to Israel, I'll guarantee you that." He did not actually say it himself, but did reply, "You know what? I'll actually go ahead and agree with you on that one." - YouTube video including the statement in Columbus, Ohio (28 October 2008)

Quotes about Wurzelbacher

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