- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2008

Joe the Plumber all but came out of the water closet for Sen. John McCain on Friday, saying that his famous exchange with Sen. Barack Obama made him “scared for America” and that he doesn’t trust the Democratic presidential candidate on taxes.

The plumber, aka Joe Wurzelbacher, burst into the headlines after he buttonholed Mr. Obama less than two weeks ago during a campaign stop in his Holland, Ohio, neighborhood and quizzed him about his tax policy. On Friday, he said that he wasn’t impressed by the Illinois senator in their encounter.

“When I was face to face with him, my honest first impression was that I expected something more. I had heard so much about ‘his presence’ in the media that I was surprised to find that he seemed very average,” Mr. Wurzelbacher wrote in a live online chat on WashingtonTimes.com (read the transcript with Mr. Wurzelbacher here).

“My gut feeling as he answered my questions? I was scared for America,” he wrote in response to a reader who asked “When you were face to face with Obama, what were you thinking and how did it feel?”

Mr. Wurzelbacher, arguably the world’s most famous plumber, has become a cornerstone of Mr. McCain’s Republican campaign, which had embarked on a statewide blitz across Florida in a series of “Joe the Plumber” events aimed at blue-collar workers.

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On the campaign circuit Friday, the nominee repeatedly cited Joe the Plumber, telling supporters that if Mr. Obama is elected, the middle class is “going to be put through the wringer.”

The plumber, who again refused to endorse a nominee explicitly, said he learned about the tour “on the news only this morning.” He said no one from either campaign “has asked me to join them. I’m out to stick up for the regular folks.”

Even though Mr. Obama promises to give Mr. Wurzelbacher at least a $1,000 tax refund if elected president, the blue-collar worker worries that Mr. Obama will break his word and back off his promise to give a tax break to every worker making less than $250,000 a year.

“What worries me is that he is deciding that $250k is rich right now, but what’s to stop him from changing his mind?” Mr. Wurzelbacher said Friday..

“As we all know, politicians change their minds at the drop of a poll. Personally, I think it will have to go lower. How else will he pay for all he wants big government to do?” he said.

During a brief discussion on Oct. 12, the candidate told the plumber, who had said he hoped to own his own company some day, that as president, he would try to “spread the wealth around.”

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