As transcribed by Jim Geraghty (emphasis added by me):
ABC’s Diane Sawyer: “Well I just want to ask you now about the issue that was raised because it’s been a little confusing to me as I tried to sort it out here. To get straight here, you’re not taking home $250,000 now, am I right?”
Joe Wurzelbacher: “No. No. Not even close.”
Sawyer: “And you were you asking — about the prospect, the hope that someday you would make $250,000, and you were saying you didn’t want that to be taxed?”
Wurzelbacher: “Well, exactly. Exactly. I mean not that I don’t want to be taxed. You have to be taxed. But to — just because you work a little harder to have a little bit more money taken from you, I mean, that’s scary. You know as opposed to other people. I worked hard for it. Why should I be taxed more than other people?”
Sawyer: “Well if people making $250,000 should not be taxed additionally — by the way, it’s 3% from 36% to 39% under Senator Obama’s plan. If those people should not be taxed additionally, even though they’re in the top 5% of America, what about people who make $1 million? Or $5 million?”
Wurzelbacher: “Well, I mean, quite honestly, why should they be penalized for being successful. I mean, that’s what you’re telling me. That’s what it sounds like you’re saying. That’s wrong. Because you’re successful, you have to pay more than everybody else? We all live in this country. It’s a basic right. And Obama wants to take that basic right and penalize me for it, is what it comes down to. That’s a very socialist view and it’s incredibly wrong. I mean, $250,000 now. What if he decides, well you know $150,000, you’re pretty rich too. Let’s go ahead and lower it again. You know it’s a slippery slope. When’s it going to stop?”
That’s the “Joe the Plumber,” who was mentioned 15 times last night at the debate, mostly by McCain, in an interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America this morning. He is, contrary to earlier reports, actually registered to vote. I think “Joe the Plumber”‘s exchange with Obama has the ability to transform this election, if McCain continues to capitalize on it effectively like he did last night.
And as I noted in my prior post, the Obama campaign – specifically Joe Biden, is already going after Joe the Plumber this morning. Biden said on NBC this morning: “I don’t have any â€˜Joe the Plumbers’ in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year.” Then again, he also doesn’t know his own neighborhood very well, either (more here). Go figure. Then again, the fact that Joe W. doesn’t yet make $250K isn’t the point, as is explained in the Ankle Biting Pundits post, as well as Joe W. himself in his interview on GMA.