November 11, 2013
Joe the Plummer
Remember that guy? I did, and also wondered what has happened. Well, he’s alive and well but here are some facts you may not have known.
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (/ˈwɜrzəlbɑːkər/; born December 3, 1973), better known by the nickname “Joe the Plumber”, is an American conservative activist and commentator. He gained national attention during the 2008 U.S. presidential election when, during a videotaped campaign stop in Ohio by then Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama, Wurzelbacher asked Obama about his small business tax policy. Obama’s response included the statement, “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Obama’s response was seized upon by conservative media, as well as by Obama’s rival, Republican nominee Senator John McCain, as an indication that Obama was interested in the redistribution of wealth, and had a socialist view of the economy. Wurzelbacher is a member of the Republican Party.
Since he was an employee of a plumbing contractor, Wurzelbacher was given the moniker “Joe the Plumber” by the McCain–Palin campaign. The campaign subsequently took him to make several appearances in campaign events in Ohio and McCain often referenced “Joe the Plumber” in campaign speeches and in the final presidential debate, as a metaphor for middle-class Americans.
Wurzelbacher became a conservative activist, commentator, author and motivational speaker. In 2012, he ran on the Republican ticket to represent Ohio’s 9th congressional district in the House of Representatives, losing to Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur.
Regarding his statement to Barack Obama about intending to buy the plumbing firm that employed him, Wurzelbacher later said that the idea of buying the company was discussed during his job interview six years prior. According to MSNBC and Fox News, court records show that Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006. Dun & Bradstreet’s report estimated that A. W. Newell Corporation, the full corporate name, had $510,000 in annual sales and eight employees. As part of the background on McCain’s use of “Joe the Plumber,” several media outlets researched his professional plumbing credentials. One Toledo Blade article stated, “Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell’s license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work. He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio, which means he’s not a plumber.” “Mr. Joseph [business manager of the local union] said Mr. Wurzelbacher could only legally work in the townships, but not in any municipality in Lucas County or elsewhere in the country.” Wurzelbacher has since stated that he is no longer employed at Newell
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