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Joe the Plumber!








Slate Magazine
low concept

His First Name Isn’t Joe. He’s Not a Licensed Plumber.

What else is “Joe the Plumber” hiding from the American people?

By Josh Levin

A check of state and local licensing agencies in Ohio and Michigan shows no plumbing licenses under Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher’s name, or even misspellings of his name.
Toledo Blade, ” ‘Joe the plumber’ isn’t licensed,” Oct. 16, 2008

“Joe the Plumber’s” name appears on Ohio voter registration rolls with a slight misspelling—as Worzelbacher, not Wurzelbacher. And that sort of data-entry error might be enough—were Joe a new registrant—to have him disqualified from voting in Ohio, Florida, or Wisconsin this year, depending on the outcome of ongoing litigation.
—Politico, “Purging Joe the plumber?” Oct. 16, 2008


A series of receipts uncovered today reveal that Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher launched his career in the home of former Weather Underground leader William Ayers. In 1995, Ayers contacted Wurzelbacher, then still an apprentice plumber, to fix a leaky faucet in his Hyde Park home. After earning high marks from the one-time domestic terrorist, “Joe the Plumber” built a thriving practice with Ayers’ referrals to the Trinity United Church of Christ and the Chicago chapter of al-Qaida.
—Bloomberg News, Oct. 17, 2008

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher today admitted responsibility for the mysterious bulge in President George W. Bush’s back during 2004’s first presidential debate. “I was feeding him lines,” Wurzelbacher confessed to a group of reporters outside a Toledo plumbing-supply store. “Everyone thinks it was Karl Rove talking into that earpiece, but he had a pinochle game with Ahmed Chalabi on Friday nights.”
USA Today, Oct. 22, 2008

Prototypes for Palm Beach County’s infamous butterfly ballot have been found in the tool belt of Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher. The shocking discovery was made on Thursday as part of a weekslong Department of Justice investigation into alleged voter fraud perpetrated by Mr. Wurzelbacher. A search of Florida records indicates that the celebrity plumber voted 537 separate times in the 2000 presidential election. “There’s nothing we could’ve done—you can spell Wurzelbacher too many different ways,” said former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
USA Today, Oct. 23, 2008

A DNA test has confirmed that “Joe the Plumber,” the everyvoter who rose to fame thanks to repeated mentions in last week’s presidential debate, is the father of Sarah Palin’s 6-month-old son, Trig. In the highest-rated episode in the history of Maury, the Alaska governor confronted blue-collar Ohioan Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher for failing to acknowledge paternity. Upon hearing that he was, in fact, the father, Wurzelbacher stormed off the stage without comment, as Palin repeatedly shouted, “I told you! I told you!” while wagging her right index finger at the studio audience.
New York Times, Oct. 31, 2008

The White House Plumbers—the team of operatives that perpetrated the Watergate break-in on behalf of President Richard Nixon—were the brainchild of Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, according to new reporting by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. A source identified only as “Deep Basin Wrench” tells the veteran Washington Post reporters that Wurzelbacher had it out for the Democratic Party. Also, he’s a Muslim.
—Associated Press, Nov. 1, 2008

Josh Levin is a Slate associate editor. You can e-mail him at sportsnut@slate.com.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2202480/

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Debate 3! Who Won?








The debates are finally over!  Cast your votes now. The polls close in 24 hours.  You can only vote once but you can come back to see how the vote is shaping up.


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The Winner: “That One”









McCain needed a knockout, and he didn’t get it.

By John Dickerson

After their second debate, both Barack Obama and John McCain shook hands with the Nashville audience of 80 uncommitted voters. Both were well-received. But Obama stayed longer, and with McCain out of the room, the affection from the swing voters increased. He was mobbed, patted, beamed at, embraced. One woman wiggled up next to him. At one point, about 15 voters posed for a group picture like it was the last day of camp. The “Nashville ’08 Debate” T-shirts are in the mail.

These uncommitted voters wanted to be next to Barack Obama, and the adulation from the audience helps explain why he won the debate. In the post-debate polls on CNN and CBS, he was the clear winner, and he also won Fox’s focus group.

Obama’s likeability is good for him and bad for McCain, of course, but it also undercuts McCain’s credibility. It exposes the picture McCain has been painting of Obama in the last few days as a caricature. Since McCain’s slide in the polls, he has started personal attacks questioning Obama’s character and values. “Who is the real Barack Obama?” McCain asks on the stump and in his ads. Sarah Palin says Obama isn’t from “regular” America. He’s out of the mainstream, aides regularly say.

That cartoon version of Obama didn’t show up for the 90-minute debate Tuesday. If it had, those audience members would have been waving garlic as they fled from the room rather than sticking around so they could tell their neighbors about it.

Instead, what they saw was a Democrat saying, “We will kill Bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaida.” He said he thought America was a force for good. Obama also got to repeat those elements of his biography—his mother’s death from cancer and his modest upbringing—that contradict the image of him as a spooky alien.

McCain, meanwhile, did not take Sarah Palin’s advice. He did not attack. He pressed Obama repeatedly on issues, but he didn’t attack Obama’s character. (Don’t worry, he will again tomorrow.) McCain stressed that he had a record people could check, while Obama offered nothing but rhetoric. That’s fine as far as it goes, but McCain needs more.

McCain is in a tough spot. He’s behind. Obama has the momentum, and McCain needs to take it away. He didn’t necessarily do poorly—and he did much better on foreign policy than on domestic matters. But McCain needed to change the dynamic. You could see him trying. He pressed Obama on his opposition to the surge, the penalty Obama would impose on those who didn’t sign up for a health-care plan, even that he was speaking too long. But this was all small stuff. A town-hall debate is a hard place to change the dynamic, and yet there are few opportunities in the remaining 27 days where he has such a big chance.

Since Bill Clinton’s successful town-hall debates, the format has required a compulsory empathy competition where the candidates reach out to the audience. McCain thanked a Navy veteran for his service and patted him on the shoulder. Obama had no equivalent empathetic moment, but he did a better job explaining how the bailout package affected regular folks.

The night was billed as a town hall—but I’ve seen town halls, and this wasn’t one. The strict rules apparently had frightened the questioners with foreclosure if they asked anything interesting, followed up with the candidates, or performed any acts of spontaneity. Town halls are supposed to be freewheeling and probing. This format was dull, and the constant ankle-biting between the candidates compounded the problem.

The optics of the town hall were also dreadful, which hurt McCain. His war injuries meant he couldn’t take the relaxed pose Obama held while McCain was giving his answers. The Obama campaign studied the tape of the first debate and recognized that the candidate is often caught in a two shot and so must always look relaxed and attentive. While Obama talked, McCain took an occasional walkabout. This was disconcerting. It looked like he was getting up to get a beer.

There is already a lot of talk in the blogosphere about McCain’s referring to Obama as “that one.” The Obama campaign was pushing the idea that it was proof McCain was a man of bitter moods. I didn’t see it as a major act of disrespect, but it did feel antiquated. I have relatives—older relatives—who use this expression. My mother’s version of it was to call someone “himself.” (As in, “I’m glad himself has decided to join us for dinner.”) McCain has 27 days to find a better way to take on his opponent, or he’ll be calling him Mr. President.

Slate V: What if Obama loses? Canada beckons.


John Dickerson is Slate‘s chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. He can be reached at slatepolitics@gmail.com.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2201762/

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Who Won Tonight’s Debate?








The second debate is now over!  Who do you think won?  Vote in the poll and the results will be revealed on Thursday.

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John McCain, Hypocrite!








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McCain’s last chance!








Fineman: McCain’s last chance
Don’t count out the maverick left for dead many times before
By Howard Fineman
updated 1:19 p.m. ET, Tues., Oct. 7, 2008

NASHVILLE – It’s do-or-die for Sen. John McCain, but he is used to that.

The guy’s been left for dead — literally, in one case, and politically in many others — more times than a pack of General Custers.

So it is ironic but appropriate that his pivotal campaign moment tonight is in a city known for country-music troubadours of last chances.

A week is a year and a month a lifetime in politics. It is an interactive universe; straight-line extrapolations are worse than useless. Still, the clock is winding down on McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin in their race to catch senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Tonight’s town hall debate at Belmont University, moderated by NBC’s Tom Brokaw, is McCain’s last real opportunity to alter the dynamic of the race. The cliché is “game changer,” but that is what he needs. There is one more debate on Oct. 15, in New York, but that is almost certainly too late to have much impact.

Can McCain turn things around tonight and, if so, how can he do it?

The answer to the first question, given his history, has to be yes.

McCain is like that trick birthday candle: you keep blowing it out but it keeps springing back to life.

I think I know the reason why this is so. There is something about what McCain represents — a soldier willing to die for his country.

Voters are understandably reluctant to be seen as rejecting that ideal, or treating it with disrespect, especially in the eyes of a doubting world.

Obama is another reason why McCain cannot be counted out, no matter what the tracking polls and Electoral College summaries are saying. There remains something about the senator from Illinois — the big-city, Ivy League, I-know-what’s-good-for-you smoothie — that makes many swing voters reluctant to accept him, even if you edit race out of the equation, which of course, you cannot.

So McCain will have his chance, but how will he try to exploit it? He will do so by launching an all-out, frontal, personal assault on Obama — his character, his record and his life story.

McCain and his aides have essentially abandoned the idea of spending their limited time and money on building his brand: the brand of military patriotism, heroic sacrifice and honest self-criticism in the name of purifying the wrongs of the nation’s capital.

Instead of selling that honorable history, they are going to spend most of the rest of the campaign (and their comparatively limited cash) raising fears about Obama — about his past associations, his personal character, his record on campaign promises, and his willingness to use the federal government to address social problems facing the country.

McCain has now called Obama a bald-faced liar. His running mate has accused Obama of “hanging out” with terrorist radicals. McCain has said that Obama has an ill-disguised hunger to raise taxes, and a habit — even a need — to make promises he has no intention of keeping.

In Albuquerque, McCain road tested the attack rhetoric he will use here tonight. In the last debate, he barely looked at Obama. I have a feeling that McCain will be staring at his foe tonight.

But McCain had better be careful. This will be a “town hall” audience, and their questions and reactions may penalize anyone who is too harsh. McCain has to watch out for an Obama move to seek sympathy and support from the studio audience of regular folks.

We’ll know by their reaction whether McCain is making any headway or not.

But by going on the attack McCain risks allowing people to forget what it is about him that they liked so much to begin with, his non-partisan membership in the American military tradition.

One of the locals wondering aloud about that is Nashville songwriter Chuck Cannon, who wrote a big hit after 9/11 for Toby Keith called “American Soldier.” A shrewd fellow who served as president of the Nashville Songwriters Association, Cannon told me he admires McCain’s story and doubts whether the attack strategy will work.


“We respect the soldier, especially the one who nearly lost his life as a prisoner of war,” Cannon told me. “That is powerful, and what he ought to be talking about.”

Cannon remains undecided.



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Three Stooges Presidential Debate!


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