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Published: Saturday, 12/20/2008

'Joe' pens memoir on his life, his dream

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Samuel 'Joe' Wurzelbacher wrote 'Fighting for the American Dream' with the help of author Thomas N. Tabback. Samuel 'Joe' Wurzelbacher wrote 'Fighting for the American Dream' with the help of author Thomas N. Tabback.
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Like the two men whose campaigns for president he influenced with his unexpected step upon the national political stage, Joe the Plumber has published a book about his life.

Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher, an unknown plumber living in Springfield Township until Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama decided to campaign on his street, is the author of Joe the Plumber, Fighting for the American Dream.

Mr. Wurzelbacher denies that he wrote the book to "cash in" on his unexpected and perhaps fleeting fame.

Calling himself "the most famous unemployed person in America," he writes that, "I was and still am flat broke."

Perhaps the book, which cost The Blade $24.95 plus $18.60 for shipping and which arrived yesterday from PearlGate Publishing LLC, will help. The 180-page memoir was written with the help of author Thomas N. Tabback.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, who came to prominence for pressing Mr. Obama over whether his tax increase proposals would undermine his shot at the American dream, describes his lack of enthusiasm for Republican nominee Sen. John McCain.

He writes that the McCain campaign was "fragmented and disorganized."

"I did not want him for the Republican ticket. I do not agree with a great many of his policies, nor do I care for aspects of his voting record," Mr. Wurzelbacher writes.

But he said he concealed his misgivings and endorsed Mr. McCain because, "He was the last hope for some semblance of conservative capitalism in this country for at least the next four years."

He also says he hoped that having a Republican president and Democratic Congress would deadlock the government into doing nothing at all.

He says that, while on Mr. McCain's Straight Talk Express bus, he upbraided the GOP nominee for having voted for a pork-filled $700 billion financial industry bailout.

Mr. McCain told him some senators didn't want to support the bailout, "and that's where the pork came in."

"•'That's just wrong,' I told him indignantly. At that point McCain was looking away and literally waving me off as if annoyed. I'm sure he was," Mr. Wurzelbacher writes.

"The incident with McCain and other discussions with other less admirable types on the bus that day left me with a worse feeling in my gut about the future of America than did my meeting with Obama," he writes.

He writes that he bonded better with GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin when they met for the first time at Bowling Green State University.

"•'Hi Joe,' she said, genuinely pleased to meet me, 'You are a great American.'

"•'You are a great American,' I promptly told her," he writes.

The book lays out his biography over several chapters, although without a lot of names, dates, and addresses. There are no photographs - other than on the book jacket - and no index.

Mr. Wurzelbacher describes a painful childhood because of the abusive father who abandoned the family when Joe was 5, and writes that he had thoughts of suicide.

There is a touching chapter about his mother's determination to keep the family together and of her meeting and being courted by Frank Wurzelbacher, who became Joe's father when he was 9.

He describes developing a strong bond of love with Mr. Wurzelbacher, although it took a year of "attitude adjustment."

"I felt the snap of his belt every day for that entire first year," Joe writes, the result of his own rebelliousness.

Additional chapters focus on his family's history in the military, his experience in high school ROTC and the Air Force, living in Alaska, the breakdown of his marriage and his efforts to stay close with his son, Joey, who eventually moved in with him after custody proceedings.

He said that while living in Arizona, he prayed over whether to move back to Toledo.

"What about Joey, the custody battle, child support? I don't know how to explain it. I just had this distinct feeling deep within that told me to trust in my faith It was like a voice in my soul that said, Joe you are going to move back to Ohio and all will be well."

There is a chapter about his favorite presidents and a chapter about his political beliefs and fear that the country has been sliding into socialism since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.

In a chapter titled "I Really Am a Plumber," Mr. Wurzelbacher writes that he was subjected to attacks that were "malicious and deliberate in their attempt to ruin me, my pursuits and to damage and defame my family" - including whether he was a real plumber.

He explains his lack of a state plumbing license by saying his boss was a licensed master plumber and that the city and county permitted him to work under his license and supervision.

He also said he learned plumbing in the Air Force and graduated from a "comprehensive training course" at Shepherd U.S. Air Force Base in Texas.

Mr. Wurzelbacher thanks conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham "for helping me launch my bid for Congress in 2010." If Mr. Wurzelbacher runs in the district where he now lives, he would face longtime U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).

He ends by saying he's found "a new profession," running the organization secureourdream.com, the job of which will be to keep "a watchful eye on government."

Of course, he also describes the circumstances that surrounded Mr. Obama's being in his front yard on Shrewsbury Street on Oct. 12.

It was in response to Mr. Wurzelbacher's pointed questions that Mr. Obama said his tax plans would "spread the wealth" - a phrase that opened the door to conservative attacks on Mr. Obama as a socialist.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he thought Mr. Obama realized his verbal mistake and was in a hurry to get away. But he also said Mr. Obama was "gracious, respectful, and polite that day I spoke with him."

"Although it appears that the ultra-liberal wing of his party was behind most of the slanderous attacks that came my way, I have no reason to believe he was behind it," Mr. Wurzelbacher writes.

Throughout, Mr. Wurzelbacher describes his reactions to the instant celebrity, much of it painful, that came his way after his name was mentioned more than 20 times during the presidential debate Oct. 15.

"I have to tell you that being a newsmaker is a strange and surreal experience. One moment you're having a discussion face-to-face with someone and the next thing you know, everyone on the airwaves is talking about it," he wrote.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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