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The Facts: Sen. Barack Obama and Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a plumber, discussed taxes on small businesses during a campaign stop on October 12 outside Toledo, Ohio. **Wurzelbacher said he was about to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year **and was concerned that Obama would tax him more because of it.
McCain — who seized on the exchange at last week’s presidential debate in Hempstead, New York — dubbed the man “Joe the Plumber” and characterized him as a symbol of an everyman entrepreneur who would be burdened by Obama’s tax plan. Since then, Wurzelbacher’s life has been under a media microscope, and news outlets reported details including the fact that Wurzelbacher didn’t have a plumbing license.
–Obama said on MSNBC’s “Race For the White House,” that McCain is “trying to suggest that a plumber is the guy he is fighting for. How many plumbers do you know making $250,000 a year?”
–Sen. Joe Biden said on “The Tonight Show” that “I don’t know many plumbers who are making $250,000 a year and worried about it.** We’re kind of worried about Joe the fireman, Joe the policeman, Joe the real plumber with a license.”**
– Speaking on the “Today” show, Biden also said said, “I don’t have any ‘Joe the Plumbers’ in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year and are worried.”
In an interview with CNN on October 16, Wurzelbacher clarified that the company he wants to buy makes well less than $250,000 a year — which Obama says means his taxes would not be increased.
Families making more than $250,000 could see taxes go up under Obama’s plan, according to the campaign, while those making less than that amount would not see any raise.
The Verdict: In Dispute. McCain regards these comments as political attacks on Joe Wurzelbacher, but the comments also can be interpreted as Obama campaign commentary on the McCain campaign’s rhetoric.