Samuel Wurzelbacher, Celebrated as ‘Joe the Plumber’, Dies at 49

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, the epitome of the American middle-class everyman, briefly known as “Joe the Plumber” during his 2008 presidential campaign clash 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, at Shrewsbury Street in Toledo, Ohio, Mr. Obama was campaigning when Mr. Wurzelbacher intercepted a football catch for Mose with his son. Confront the Democratic nominee about his proposed tax hike for small businesses.

During an affable but largely inconclusive five-minute speech in front of news cameras, Mr. Wurzelbacher said that while he was getting close to being able to afford a plumbing business, he was concerned that he would be in for a big tax bite. 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, the public learned he wasn’t a licensed plumber, so his tenure as a bald, bald, iron-jawed John Doe was eroded (he could only work for those with a master’s license in Toledo or out of town) and owed $1,200. Back in the lines.

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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 to challenge Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, but was crushed in the general election, receiving only 23 percent of the 73 percent vote.

A full obituary will appear soon.

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