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‘Joe The Plumber’, Who Confronted Obama in 2008 Election, Dies at 49



Joe The Plummer
Joe Wurzelbacher, known as "Joe the Plumber," questions then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. (Screenshot)

Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio resident who gained prominence as “Joe the Plumber” after confronting Barack Obama regarding the 2008 tax plan during the election campaign, has died at the age of 49 due to a battle with cancer.

Wurzelbacher lost his life on Sunday morning following a protracted struggle with pancreatic cancer, as confirmed by close acquaintances. He is survived by his wife Katie, along with their three young children – Samantha Jo, Henry, and Sarah Jo – as well as an adult son named Joey from a previous marriage.

A fundraising initiative on behalf of Wurzelbacher’s family amassed over $120,000 in donations.

Wurzelbacher’s national recognition emerged when he questioned Barack Obama, then the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency, inquiring whether his tax plan would lead to higher payments for him as a small business owner.

In response to Wurzelbacher’s question about whether he would face higher taxes on a business generating $250,000 to $280,000 annually, Obama acknowledged that increased taxes would apply to earnings exceeding $250,000. He clarified that his intention was to provide tax cuts to smaller enterprises in order to promote a fair wealth distribution.

These remarks were seized upon by Obama’s Republican rival, John McCain, who characterized them as revealing a socialist approach to wealth distribution.

Subsequently, Wurzelbacher joined himself with McCain and his vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, making appearances at campaign events. He also featured prominently in the third and final presidential debate, where “Joe the Plumber” represented the quintessential American everyman.

In 2012, Wurzelbacher launched an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House from Ohio’s 9th congressional district.

Wurzelbacher faced harsh criticism over his public comments, including in 2014, when he wrote an open letter to the families of victims killed in a mass shooting, saying: “As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights [to bear arms].”

In 2016, Wurzelbacher said he voted for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, calling him “a winner” who “has made billions” and dated beautiful women.”

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