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A Chat With Joe The Plumber

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 10:42 PM

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A debate had been scheduled in Cleveland between Wurzelbacher and incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur yesterday. But the Holland handyman - who became famous in 2008 for pressing then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on his tax policies and small business -- chose not to attend. As a matter of fact, Wurzelbacher has been running a modest stealth campaign that's kept him largely out of the public eye since he won the GOP primary earlier this year. Ideastream's Brian Bull managed to get Wurzelbacher Wednesday afternoon to provide an update while the candidate was driving through northwest Ohio.

BULL: Where are you right now?  Sounds like you’re on the road.

Wurzelbacher:  “Just north of Oak Harbor, on some of the old back roads out here.  Campaign work, knocking on people’s doors, talking to them, going along the district, talking to some of those who never get a chance to have their voices heard, if you will.”

BULL: Will you be attending the scheduled debate (10/11/12) at the City Club with Marcy Kaptur?

Wurzelbacher:  “No, and as matter of fact, I never confirmed for that debate.  So I don’t know if that’s something they’ve always on standby or what not, but it didn’t work into my schedule.  It came to light that it was scheduled for tomorrow.  Unfortunately we’ll be missing that, we’ll be debating Kaptur in Oct. 26th in Toledo though.  Absolutely.  I’ll also be attending the CHIPS event on the 17th.  It’s a roundtable, I forget what the acronym is, but I did it during the primary. It’s something they have during…I believe Jim Jordan will be there with his opponent, and Renacci with his opponent.  There’ll be a list of candidates, everyone will speak for 10 minutes, it’s kind of a roundtable.”

BULL: The Toledo Blade had a recent article about your campaign, which has some of the local Republicans wondering if you’re serious about running for Congress.  How do you respond to those remarks?

Wurzelbacher:  “I don’t think going to events and holding up signs really make people vote for you.  If you want to talk to the choir, that’s essentially what I’d be doing by going to these events they host.  I went to these events all during the primary, and it’s the same 50 people, the same 100 people, the idea is to get new voters in.  My whole campaign is not about Republicans or Democrats, it’s just about getting this country back and working.  Sometimes I ruffle feathers with my plain speech.  I’m not here to represent the Republican Party, I want to represent all Americans and the 9th District, and to make sure the government is doing its best to make sure they can succeed on their own, and not be propped up by a government institution if you will.”

BULL: Do you prefer being more off the cuff, skipping these elaborately staged conventions and events?

Wurzelbacher:  “Very much so.  People want to know what you think, now what your campaign manager thinks or what your adviser thinks. But actually what you think.  I’m not about marketing, advertising, some of that has gotten people to buy, what was junk.  Remember the Yugo?  That was a trend, but it was a piece of junk.  Marketing is a big tool and politicians have used it for a long time.  That’s why we get the junk in Washington that we have, because of the marketing and the advertising make it sound great.  Look at the current 9th district.  Unemployment is high, the median income is pretty low.  My opponent Marcy Kaptur has been a representative for the last 29 years, frankly I’d not be proud of that record.  But on the same hand, she’s great at marketing and advertising.  She’s like, “I love Toldeo!” Well great, me too.  And I love the 9th district too, just like she says.  But unfortunately, I have always worked off results, not, `would have and could have and should have…’”

BULL: Doesn’t look like much is going on at your campaign HQ, and Roman Schroeder says he’s left as your campaign manager.  So it’s scaled down to you and your truck?

Wurzelbacher:  “It has pretty much scaled down to myself and a few volunteers that I have, yes.”

BULL: How would you describe your campaign style? 

Wurzelbacher:  “Straight and to the point.  First thing I said when my wife and I discussed running for Congress, if I have to change to be a congressman, it’s just not going to happen.  I’ve spent last four years going around, I’ve talked to NRA, the Gun Owners of America, what some people call the Tea Party, and I’ve been very blunt in my opinion and thoughts, that’s how it’ll continue.  And if can get elected that way, then great. But if I have to essentially…(sigh)….sell out to be elected, which most of these politicians do, and most Americans feel that they do, then it’s not worth my integrity.”

BULL: And when you say sell out, what do you mean, exactly?

Wurzelbacher:  “It’s amazing how many political action groups come at you with questionnaires, asking `What you’ll do for us?’ Then you’ve got labor union leadership….not unions, but union leadership, they’re like the larger corporations and lobbyists.  They all want special tax loopholes, and a number of different promises from the politician they get behind.  I’m not promising large corporations or PACs anything.  It’s the American people essentially being represented.  That’s what I mean by that.”

BULL: When I hear you speak, you’re registered as a Republican, but at same time you talk to issues that are often important to both Democrats and Republicans, which is a very independent take.  At same time, the Tea Party has supported you, so what’s the most accurate label we can pin you politically?

Wurzelbacher:  “Conservative.  That’s probably the best label.  Ultimately I want people to have the opportunity to succeed and fail.  That’s life.  You win or lose, and sometimes you win by losing.  You gain character. Makes you stronger for the next fight.  Everyone knows life is hard.  I don’t think the federal government should be as involved in our lives as they are.  Nor involved at the state level.  States need to take responsibility, and that’s been given or stolen by the federal government, and they need to get it back. That in itself would help out tremendously.  I’d have people live better, happier lives.  And so I’m very conservative.  I’m Christian, so my social views don’t add up to that of the Democrat (sic) party.  As a fact, I feel abortion is murder.  So there’s a number of things like that.  I’m just more conservative.  But the Republican Party, as with the Democrat (sic) Party, they will say anything to get your vote, even if it’s not true.”

BULL: Are you torn when you look at the presidential candidates, perhaps wishing there was one up there you backed that isn’t in the front runner seat now?

Wurzelbacher:  “Back during the primary, I was backing Herman Cain.  I thought he had a good plan moving forward when talking about tax replacement vs. tax reform like both parties tend to talk about.  They still have loopholes, they still have the incentives, and subsidies, so the biggest part of my plan is replacing the tax code.  Neither party wants to talk about that, because they don’t want to lose the control they have over the American people.  They talk about the rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, and in some regards they’re right.  Because of the tax code we have.  And the federal government picking winners and losers…talk about fair tax.  So I’ve talked about the flat tax, and I don’t know if my opponent will pull this or not, but in other bases, when people have talked about the fair tax, they automatically, absurdly say that “Oh, he wants to raise your taxes 23 percent.” But they don’t talk about the removal of the income tax.  But we need to remove the tax code, that’s where we get the ultimate stimulus package, it doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime.  We keep borrowing money to prop up the federal government, it’s going to bite us in the ass, man.”

BULL: How’s your war chest doing?  The Blade article said you had about $19,000 on hand?

Wurzelbacher:  “That’s probably correct.  The way I’ve taken this campaign, by not going out and essentially kissing butt if you will, playing political games, has definitely hindered my fundraising efforts.  At the same time I have a good base of individual donations.  7,000 to 9,000 individual donations.  There’s not a lot of PAC money or corporation money coming in, but it’s an honest race.  When I’m done running, and do this Congressional run, I can sit back and say in any way shape or form, I was not bought, pulled one way or another.  And if enough people agree with me, I’ll be the next Congressman.”

BULL: What would you say to Marcy Kaptur if you were at the debate tomorrow?

Wurzelbacher:  “Hold on one sec, sorry…..I’m just going down the road here, pulling up to another home.  Right now I’ve no…I’m not your constant politician who can whip up a two-minute bull**** speech, so, ah…heh….I don’t mean that meanly, I just don’t have anything to say to her right now.”

BULL: Any issue you best Marcy Kaptur on?

Wurzelbacher:  “Results.  All my life if I’ve not been getting good results, I don’t get a paycheck.  In her 29 years as Congressman, and maybe her couple years as a city planner, she (Kaptur) can’t speak to that much.  She got paid regardless of the results.  Myself, over the last 30 years of my life, if I didn’t get good results, I didn’t get paid, my bill didn’t get paid, so my life has been steeped in getting results.”

BULL: Can you explain what you mean by results?

Wurzelbacher:  “Everyday getting up, working 10-12 hours a day putting food on the table, putting a roof over my head.  When I got notoriety from asking that question…the first thing I did was start a veterans organization with my friends.  We impacted the community that way.  We’d take vets up to Alaska, do outdoor recreational therapy.  They’d’ get benefits, everything that’d come from my meeting with Barack Obama, I’d turn it into something for the community.  For veterans.  There’s no sell out, it’s all about trying to give back something, and greatly I’ve been able to do that with the veterans organization.”

BULL: So to assure Republicans, you are on the campaign trail, actively?

Wurzelbacher:  “As we speak, I’m on the campaign trial.  But not only that, but to those Republicans and others who support me, I say just go out there and do it.  You don’t need me to hold your hand, you go knock on some doors, it’s not just one person that makes this happen.  And so it amazes me how people are quick to judge, even from your own team.  There’s always lots of well wishing, but some good honest sweat goes a long way.”

BULL: How are you doing right now with volunteers?

Wurzelbacher:  “It varies anywhere from 15-20, going from the Toledo area, going out towards Cleveland.  I’ve met some nice people, who do understand giving up time for something you believe in.”

BULL: Did you and Roman Schroeder (former campaign manager) part on good terms?

Wurzelbacher:  “Mmm, yeah, as far as I know.  When it comes to ideas, he’s a smart man, it just didn’t work for him and I, that’s all.

BULL: Were there differences of opinion or strategy with the campaign?

Wurzelbacher:  “Mmm, just…creative differences if you will.  Ultimately it comes down to integrity.  If you want to win no matter what, unfortunately lots of times, some things get compromised, and I have no compromise in me.”

BULL: Your comments have indeed fired up some people, like when you were earlier in Arizona and talking about taking guns to the border and simply shooting away, and how gun control lead to the Holocaust ---

Wurzelbacher:  “Whoa, whoa, whoa.  All I did was talk about different countries out there who implemented gun control laws. Then years later, different atrocities occurred.  The liberal media tried to shut that down, they had no agenda.  Nowhere or how did I say “holocaust”. That’d be asinine.  What I did say, which is very factual, is that Hitler instituted gun control laws.  Unfortunately, because people were not able to protect themselves, some really terrible and horrific things happened.  In Turkey, during the 20th century…over 100 million different citizens, of different countries in the 20th century, were killed by their own government after gun control laws were implemented.  For those people who opposed the 2nd Amendment or want to stranglehold the 2nd Amendment, they like to put lots of false information out there.  Watch my (online) video, you’ll see that.

“Regarding illegal immigration, the Democrats and Republicans are using this as a football.  Neither wants to take a step, because it’s a crucial voting bloc.  But American taxpayers have been on the hook for $118 billion spent on illegal immigration, medical, and they’re legal…they’re not even supposed to be here.  We can put a man on the moon, I mean, Hell, China put up Great Wall, and we can’t put a fence up and have our military make sure immigrants don’t’ cross over illegally?  I actually made a joke about it, and told everyone, let’s see where it goes. And here you are, asking that question…”

BULL: What are you doing with your evening, campaign wise?

Wurzelbacher:  “I’m delivering signs, dropping in neighborhoods, right.  My walking list includes Republicans, Independents, Democrats….I like to talk to everyone, so everyone knows who I am and what I am.  The media gets it wrong a lot, they take my words out of context.  But if I’m in front of you, I’ll answer it directly.  I give them great responses because of that personal touch.”

Tags

Community/Human Interest, Government/Politics

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