Both U.S. political parties offend "Joe the Plumber"

Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:50pm EDT
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By Nick Carey

HOLLAND, Ohio (Reuters) - "Joe the Plumber," who came to symbolize U.S. taxpayer frustration during last year's election, sounds even angrier now at what he sees as excessive government spending on the economy and healthcare reform.

"The politicians in Washington are spending trillions of dollars of our money. When are Americans going to stand up and say enough is enough?" said Joe Wurzelbacher, 35, in an interview on Friday at his modest suburban Ohio home.

"Instead of spending more of our money, they should cut back like ordinary Americans are having to. Why do they think they can spend their way out of this mess?" said Wurzelbacher, referring to the $787 billion government stimulus bill.

Wurzelbacher has managed to prolong his 15 minutes of fame since he posed some tough questions of presidential candidate Barack Obama during an Ohio campaign stop in August 2008.

Obama's reply: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," prompted Obama's Republican rival, Senator John McCain, to label the Democrat a socialist and catapulted Wurzelbacher into the media spotlight.

Reporters later learned that Wurzelbacher did not have a plumbing license, was behind on his taxes, had a real first name of Sam, and was unmarried with a teenage son.

At first Wurzelbacher courted the attention, then said it was draining and he wanted to get back to plumbing.

Wurzelbacher said he had voted for McCain but without enthusiasm. "In the end, I had to choose the lesser of two evils.   Continued...

<p>Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," stands onstage at a campaign rally with U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in Mentor, Ohio October 30, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>