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Published: Sunday, 10/19/2008

McCain returns to Ohio with 'Joe' on his mind

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
<br>
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It was all about "Joe the Plumber Sunday as John McCain descended on battleground Ohio for the first time since the Holland man helped the Republican presidential nominee put a face on his criticisms of Barack Obama s tax proposals.

"The real winner [of last week s debate] is one of Toledo s own, Joe the Plumber," Mr. McCain told a crowd of about 6,000 at SeaGate Centre in downtown Toledo.

"Joe won because he was the only person to get a real answer out of Senator Obama. Congratulations! Joe did what nobody else has been able to do, he said.

Also Sunday, the McCain-Palin campaign announced that GOP running mate Sarah Palin will appear Wednesday morning at the University of Findlay.

The "Road to Victory Rally with Sarah Palin" is set for 9 a.m. at the university s Koehler Fitness and Recreation Center, 1000 North Main St. Doors open at 7 a.m.

Senator McCain Sunday made his first big speech this year in Toledo after arriving from Otterbein College just outside Columbus where he spoke to about 5,000 people. He arrived in Toledo about 3 p.m.

Plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, whose formal first name is Samuel, did not appear at Sunday s rally, and was not expected to. He was invited last week, but said he had prior engagements, believed to be media interviews in New York City.

Senator McCain and Mr. Wurzelbacher have spoken by phone.

Mr. Wurzelbacher became an inadvertent national celebrity last week when he challenged Mr. Obama on his tax proposals when the Democratic nominee was in Toledo preparing for last Wednesday s final presidential debate.

Mr. Wurzelbacher argued that Mr. Obama s plans to raise taxes for those making more than $250,000 a year could hurt him if he decided to purchase his own plumbing business.

He doesn t make that kind of money now, nor is he in process of buying a business.

"It s not that I want to punish your success, Mr. Obama told him. "I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it s good for everybody."

Mr. McCain said Mr. Wurzelbacher didn t ask Mr. Obama to show up at his home.

"He certainly didn t ask to be famous, he said. "Look at the attacks on him The attacks on him are not just attacks on him but on small businesses all over this country. We learned more about Senator Obama s plans from Joe s question than we ve learned in months from speeches from Senator Obama We learned that his economic goal is to spread the wealth around.

That drew loud boos from the crowd.

"He believes in redistributing the wealth, not in policies that create jobs and opportunities for all Americans, Mr. McCain said.

"Joe, if you re watching, I m sorry you re being put through this. No American should be attacked for asking questions of a presidential candidate. No one," Mr. McCain said.

Sunday s visit to Ohio marked Mr. McCain s first to the state since Oct. 8 as the Arizona senator works to hold onto on-the-bubble battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado that Mr. Bush carried in 2004 and Mr. McCain must win to surpass 270 electoral votes on Nov 4.

"Let s have some straight talk, he said. "We have 18 days to go. We re six points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes and planning with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq.

"One thing they forgot they forgot to let you decide, he said. "I like being the underdog, my friends. We ve got em right where we want em."

Crowds standing on Monroe Street waved as the McCain motorcade, including the "Straight Talk Express" bus, drove past on its way out of town back to the airport.

Blade Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Provance contributed to this report.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.

From earlier editions of toledoblade.com.

By JIM PROVANCE

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

WESTERVILLE, Ohio It was all about "Joe the Plumber Sunday as John McCain descended on battleground Ohio for the first time since the Holland man helped the Republican presidential nominee put a face on his criticisms of Barack Obama s tax proposals.

"The real winner (of last week s debate) is one of Ohio s own, Joe the Plumber, Mr. McCain told a crowd of about 5,000 at Otterbein College just outside the Columbus beltway before heading to the airport to board a jet bound for Toledo, where he was to give a speech at 4:15 p.m.

"Joe won because he was the only person to get a real answer out of Senator Obama. Congratulations! Joe did what nobody else has been able to do, he said.

The local rally for Mr. McCain, who arrived in Toledo just before 3 p.m.

and met briefly with a local welcoming committee of six people, was set

for the SeaGate Centre. "Plumber Joe Wurzelbacher has not appeared

with the candidate, but he has been asked to do so. They have spoken by

phone.

Mr. Wurzelbacher became an inadvertent national celebrity last week when he challenged Mr. Obama on his tax proposals when the Democratic nominee was in Toledo preparing for last Wednesday s final presidential debate. Mr. Wurzelbacher argued that Mr. Obama s plans to raise taxes for those making more than $250,000 a year could hurt him if he decided to purchase his own plumbing business.

He doesn t make that kind of money now, nor is he in process of buying a business.

"It s not that I want to punish your success, Mr. Obama told him. " I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it s good for everybody."

Mr. McCain said Mr. Wurzelbacher didn t ask Mr. Obama to show up at his home.

"He certainly didn t ask to be famous, he said. "Look at the attacks on him The attacks on him are not just attacks on him but on small businesses all over this country. We learned more about Senator Obama;s plans from Joe s question than we ve learned in months from speeches from Senator Obama We learned that his economic goal is to spread the wealth around.

That drew loud boos from the crowd.

"He believes in redistributing the wealth, not in policies that create jobs and opportunities for all Americans, Mr. McCain said.

Sunday s visit to Westerville marked Mr. McCain s first to the state since Oct. 8 as the Arizona senator works to hold onto on-the-bubble battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado that Mr. Bush carried in 2004 and Mr. McCain must win to surpass 270 electoral votes on Nov 4.

"Let s have some straight talk, he said. "We have 18 days to go. We re six points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes and planning with Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq.

"One thing they forgot they forgot to let you decide, he said. "I like being the underdog, my friends. We ve got em right where we want em.

Rachael Smith, of Westerville, attended the Otterbein rally with her young son. She said she already was worried that Mr. Obama would "redistribute the wealth long before Joe the Plumber asked his question.

"That was already in my mind, but it was good to hear that from Obama, she said. "We heard it from Obama through Joe the Plumber. I think Obama has Marxist ideas.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

Mr. McCain said Mr. Wurzelbacher didn t ask Mr. Obama to show up at his home.

"He certainly didn t ask to be famous, he said. "Look at the attacks on him The attacks on him are not just attacks on him but on small businesses all over this country. We learned more about Senator Obama;s plans from Joe s question than we ve learned in months from speeches from Senator Obama We learned that his economic goal is to spread the wealth around.

That drew loud boos from the crowd.

"He believes in redistributing the wealth, not in policies that create jobs and opportunities for all Americans, Mr. McCain said.

Sunday s visit to Westerville marked Mr. McCain s first to the state since Oct. 8 as the Arizona senator works to hold onto on-the-bubble battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado that Mr. Bush carried in 2004 and Mr. McCain must win to surpass 270 electoral votes on Nov 4.

"Let s have some straight talk, he said. "We have 18 days to go. We re six points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes and planning with Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq.

"One thing they forgot they forgot to let you decide, he said. "I like being the underdog, my friends. We ve got em right where we want em.

Rachael Smith, of Westerville, attended the Otterbein rally with her young son. She said she already was worried that Mr. Obama would "redistribute the wealth long before Joe the Plumber asked his question.

"That was already in my mind, but it was good to hear that from Obama, she said. "We heard it from Obama through Joe the Plumber. I think Obama has Marxist ideas.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.



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