Political celebrity "Joe the Plumber" backs McCain
Oct 29, 2008, 0:45 GMT
Washington - Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio plumber who has become a famous figure in the US election, took to the campaign trail on Tuesday for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
'Joe the plumber,' as he is known, has come to represent average US workers and aspiring small business people, and become a regular mention in McCain's stump speeches since he challenged Democratic nominee Barack Obama on tax policy in early October at an Ohio rally.
The McCain campaign seized on Obama's response to Joe: 'I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.'
Obama was referring to his plans to offer middle-class tax relief while ending tax cuts for the highest-income earners that were enacted in the first years of President George W Bush's administration. McCain and surrogates have since said described Obama's policies as socialism.
Wurzelbacher had previously said that he would not endorse a candidate, but on Tuesday he appeared at a small event in Dayton, Ohio, with former congressman Rob Portman, a McCain supporter.
'My choice in this (election) is McCain. I plan on voting for a real American,' he said.
Later, he told reporters that he feared Obama would bring socialism to the United States, according to broadcaster CNN.
Were not a socialist country. That bothers me. It scares me. Thats the reason why I came out here. Im really scared for our country,' he said.
Wurzelbacher first approached the campaign earlier this week, and might yet make an appearance with McCain himself. Campaign spokesman Paul Lindsay told CNN they were open to whatever Joe is comfortable doing.'
McCain first referred to Joe in the candidates' final debate on October 14. For McCain, 'Joe the plumber' has since come to represent average Americans, particularly small businesses and their employees, who would pay more under Obama's tax plan.