Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

McCain throws plumber at Obama in final debate

By Jimmy Orr / October 16, 2008

Jake Turcotte


Something interesting happened last night at the third presidential debate: John McCain showed up.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

Notably absent from the prior two, McCain was like Sylvester Stallone's character in the prequel to Rocky 7 when he said, "Paulie, I think I got somethin' left in the basement."

McCain had a whole lot left. Like that character from the prequel, he didn't throw any knockout punches but he fought.


By the way, that thing we told you about yesterday ... you know the George Mason University professor who said, "You are more likely to be killed by a meteor dropping on your head than McCain becoming president."

We checked - for the sake of humanity. That was just an analogy. Not an actual true law of physics.

No one is annointing McCain "44" but his performance means there's a lot less "shoulda, woulda and couldas" from conservatives this morning.  Perhaps most viewers, as Monitor colleague Dante Chinni points out, believe Obama won the debate.

Hey Joe

From almost the beginning, McCain was on offense. At first down and everything to go, McCain didn't throw up a Hail Mary, rather he threw up a "Hey Joe" -- as in Joe the plumber.

We told you about Joe the plumber earlier this week (and got tons of angry mail for merely bringing him up.)

He was the guy Barack Obama spoke to last weekend while canvassing a neighborhood outside of Toledo. Joe Wurzelbacher, a self-employed plumber, explained to Obama that he was in a position to buy a business. But if he bought a truck and expanded the business, he wondered if his success would be greeted by a penalty in the form of higher taxes.

Obama to plumber

Obama said he didn't want to "punish his success."

He said, "I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance for success too. My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody … I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody."

This of course, had the right wing of the blogosphere erupting.

Straight Joe talk

McCain tapped into that anger last night by looking at the television screen as if to talk directly to Joe.

"Joe, I want to tell you, I'll not only help you buy that business that you worked your whole life for ... I'll keep your taxes low and I'll provide available and affordable health care for you and your employees," he said.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story