Colin Powell versus Joe the Plumber. Who's more powerful?
If Joe the Plumber's 15 minutes of fame are over, then someone didn't let him know about it. He doesn't appear to be going away.Skip to next paragraph
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In fact, many Republicans are saying - straight faced - that they would rather have Joe the Plumber's endorsement than Colin Powell's backing.
They say that Wurzelbacher (Joe's actual last name) resonates more with "real Americans" and is therefore a stronger ally heading down the final stretch of the campaign.
McCain's new pal
Certainly the McCain campaign is not kicking Wurzelbacher to the curb. Anything but.
"Joe the Plumber is the average citizen, and Joe the Plumber is now speaking for me and small business people all over America. And they’re becoming aware that spreading ... the wealth around [is] not what small business people want," McCain said on Fox News Sunday.
Palin and Plumber
Singling out a supporter who was holding an "Ed the Dairy Man" sign at a rally in a Roswell, N.M., yesterday, Sarah Palin said Obama's plan is a Socialist solution according to Joe and their new friend Ed.
"Senator Obama said he wants to quote 'spread the wealth.' What that means is he wants government to take your money and dole it out however a politician sees fit," Palin said.
"But Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairy Man ... think that it sounds more like socialism," she said. "Now is no time to experiment with socialism. To me, our opponent's plans sound more like big government, which is the problem. Bigger government is not the solution."
They say McCain's nosedive in the polls could be due to his inability to formulate a clear message on the economy -- something that Joe the Plumber, incredulously, has been able to do.
"It is possible that coverage of Wurzelbacher’s exchange with Obama, spread nationally by YouTube, has helped in that regard: A plurality of voters (48%) believes that McCain or Joe the Plumber better understand their situation better than Obama does.
"Eighty-five percent (85%) of Republicans say either McCain or Joe the Plumber best understands the realities they face. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Democrats say Obama does. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 50% pick McCain or Joe while 38% name Obama.
"Among voters who earn less than $40,000 annually, 50% say Obama understands their reality better than the others. Fifty-two percent (52%) of those who earn more than $100,000 a year say the same. But, among middle-income Americans, those earning $40,000 to $100,000 annually, 58% say that either McCain or Joe the Plumber best understands their situation. Just 35% say Obama does."
And when you attack Joe the Plumber, some supporters say you are attacking them.
Take for instance a National Review article this morning that tells the story of a Colombian immigrant who owns a small construction company in the U.S.
Tito Munoz went to a McCain rally this weekend not so much to show support for the Republican but to take after the media for its treatment of Wurzelbacher.
“I support McCain, but I’ve come to face you guys because I’m disgusted with you guys,” he told reporters. “Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that wrong? Everything is possible in America. I made it. Joe the Plumber could make it even better than me…. I was born in Colombia, but I was made in the U.S.A.”