ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala reports: For the first time on the campaign trail, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was joined today by Joe Wurzelbacher, now widely known as “Joe the Plumber,” who has become a staple of Palin’s speeches in the final weeks of the election, as the McCain-Palin ticket tries to paint Sen. Barack Obama’s tax policies as a radical attempt to “spread the wealth.”
At a rally at Bowling Green University in Toledo this afternoon, Palin introduced Joe Wurzelbacher -- a Toledo resident made famous during the final presidential debate after John McCain raised his encounter with Obama over his tax policies.
“You know, there’s someone here who really gets it when it comes to this issue. He's a fellow Alaskan, and he's a fellow military man who has served our country proudly,” Palin said, referring to Wurzelbacher’s brief residence outside Fairbanks in the 1990’s. “I'd like you to meet him. Please welcome Joe the Plumber!”’Wurzelbacher came on stage, wearing jeans and a checkered white shirt, as the crowd roared with applause and cheers, and began chanting “Joe! Joe! Joe!” Wurzelbacher did not speak to the audience, instead standing on stage as Palin continued her standard remarks.
“So Joe, I really got to hand it to you. Somehow Joe was able to get our opponent to finally state his intentions in plain language,” Palin said. “Because of an encounter with Senator Obama, what Joe the Plumber and the rest of us finally found out is that Obama says that he wants to spread the wealth.”
“See, Joe wanted more than just a handshake and a campaign button. Imagine that, he wanted some answers,” Palin said to cheers. “So Joe merely asked our opponent a simple, straightforward question, and he spoke for a lot of Americans. And the Obama campaign did not appreciate that. And since then, they’ve been investigating and attacking our friend Joe the Plumber.”
“I think you can handle it though, Joe,” Palin added, turning to Wurzelbacher. “You look pretty self-sufficient.”
Palin continued on with her standard remarks, wrapping up her section on Wurzelbacher by saying, “I guess if you want to work hard, and you know what hard work feels like, and if you want to get ahead, and if you believe that America is the land of possibilities, and you don't want your dreams dashed by the Obama tax increase plan, and if you don't like the way our opponents have treated a guy who just simply asked a question, then you are Joe the Plumber too, and we're all in this together.”
Wurzelbacher spent yesterday campaigning throughout southwest Ohio for the McCain-Palin ticket, joined by former Ohio congressman and White House budget director Rob Portman.