Samuel Joseph Wuerzelbacher, the American middle-class everyman who briefly became the epitome of “Joe the Plumber” by thrusting himself into the 2008 presidential campaign in a nationally televised showdown with Barack Obama over taxing small businesses, died Sunday. His home is in Campbellsport, Wis., about 60 miles north of Milwaukee. He is 49 years old.
The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Katie Wurchelbacher.
On Sunday, October 12, 2008, the United States Senator from Illinois, Mr. Obama was campaigning on Shrewsbury Street in Toledo, Ohio, when Mr. Wurzelbacher intercepted a football catch for Mossy in his front yard with his son. Confronting the Democratic nominee over his proposed tax hike for small businesses.
During a smooth but largely inconclusive five-minute speech in front of news cameras, Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was worried about taking a big tax bite when he was getting close to being able to afford a plumbing business. He said he would earn $250,000 a year.
Three days later, “Joe the Plumber”, Mr. Popularized by Obama’s Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, he was invoked about two dozen times during the final debate of the presidential campaign.
Mr. Wurzelbacher became a folk hero in the final weeks of the race, especially among McCain supporters and conservative commentators, as Mr. Trump on the economy. And the opposite of the American dream. Mr. Mr. McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has been at rallies. Appeared on stage with Wurzelbacher.
But by Election Day, his tenure as a bald, bald, iron-jawed John Doe eroded as the public learned he wasn’t a licensed plumber (he could only work with a master’s license in Toledo or out of town) and owed $1,200. Back in the lines.
He is Mr. He flirted with endorsing McCain, but ultimately did not reveal who he voted for that November.
In 2012, he won the Republican nomination for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District against Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur, but was crushed in the general election, receiving only 23 percent of the 73 percent of the vote.
A full obituary will appear soon.