The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Congressional candidate Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher called for building a fence and to "start shooting" as part of the solution to illegal immigration at a political event over the weekend in Arizona.
Mr. Wurzelbacher, known as "Joe the Plumber," is the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in the 9th Congressional District.
He spoke Friday night at a fund-raiser in Prescott, Ariz., for Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein.
"For years I've said, 'Put a damn fence on that border going to Mexico and start shooting … ' That's how I feel. I'm not going to hide it just because I'm running for office. I want the borders protected, and I'm very adamant about that," Mr. Wurzelbacher said.
The comment was made in the course of a 14-minute off-the-cuff speech that touched on the importance of conservatives voting for representatives who share their views at the local level.
It was reported by PrescotteNews.com. He said too many conservatives are afraid to speak their minds.
Miss Kaptur issued a statement calling on Mr. Wurzelbacher to retract his statement which, she said, is "advocating shooting immigrants from Mexico."
"Joe the Plumber's comments have no place in a civil society," she said in a statement. "A member of Congress is sworn to uphold the Constitution, not to take the law into his own hands. He should take back his words and apologize to everyone who respects life, the Constitution, and the rule of law."
Phil Christofanelli, a spokesman for Mr. Wurzelbacher, said the United States needs to enforce its laws, including those pertaining to immigration, "if it wants to remain the greatest country on Earth."
"As a congressman, Joe would empower the federal government to do whatever it takes to secure our borders. He believes that border security agents, like every law enforcement officer, should be permitted to use force when necessary in order to protect themselves and to prevent American laws from being violated," Mr. Christofanelli said.
In introducing Mr. Wurzelbacher, Ms. Klein said she met him when he was campaigning several years ago in favor of tax reform that would replace all federal taxes with a national consumption tax and that she attended his recent wedding.
Ms. Klein herself received gun-related publicity in July, 2011, when she aimed a loaded pistol at a reporter's chest during an interview about gun rights. A staunch Second-Amendment advocate, she pulled a pink .380 Ruger from her purse to show Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas. She said there was no cause for concern because she didn't have her hand on the trigger.
Mr. Wurzelbacher campaigned Monday in Wisconsin for former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is seeking a Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate.
He did not return a phone call from The Blade seeking comment.
Contact Tom Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.