Fame is a drain, Joe the Plumber says

Tea party darling endures politics because he has to, he tells crowd

Joe Wurzelbacher, known as Joe the Plumber since his impromptu questioning of then-Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign, urged about 125 people in front of the Mesa County Courthouse on Monday morning to become politically involved.

Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio man better known as Joe the Plumber, cajoled and charmed about 125 people in front of the old Mesa County Courthouse on Monday.

“I hate politics,” Wurzelbacher told the mostly tea-party-related crowd at the event arranged by Americans for Prosperity, an organization that has arranged several bus-tour events through Grand Junction. “I hate politics with a passion. But it’s something I have to do because I’m an American.”

Wurzelbacher sprung to fame during the 2008 presidential campaign when he questioned Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., about his tax-policies and Obama told him he was “trying to spread the wealth around.”

That earned Wurzelbacher, 36, several favorable mentions from Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee from Arizona.

Wurzelbacher said he remains unimpressed by either political party.

“Republicans are for the Republican Party and Democrats are for the Democratic Party and neither of them are for America,” Wurzelbacher said. “That’s when we have to stand up.”

Wurzelbacher, who was a plumber in the Air Force, never bought the plumbing business he told Obama he wanted to purchase and he makes a living by working occasional plumbing jobs and chopping wood, he said.

He bridled at descriptions that he’s uneducated, and told the crowd that he learned to read the daily newspaper with a dictionary nearby, so he could look up unfamiliar words.

He followed a similar policy with his son, who he said is an athlete and carries straight A’s.

Citizens need to do the same, Wurzelbacher said.

“You need to read the Constitution” and when in doubt, “You need to look it up.”

Wurzelbacher signed dozens of T-shirts and fliers after he spoke and fended off requests for political endorsements.

Some 160 politicians have sought his backing, but he’s decided to support only seven so far, he said.

As for his status, Wurzelbacher said: “Being famous sucks. I don’t really care for it.”

He urged rally participants to be politically active and to volunteer their time. He takes paralyzed veterans hunting, most recently 20 of them in Alaska “and every one got their bear.”

To simply show up at the rally is unforgivable, Wurzelbacher said.

“If you go home and do nothing,” he said, “then you have wasted my oxygen.”


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