Tales from the Trail

Does Joe the Plumber know Joe Six-Pack?

(Corrects third paragraph to say Joe about to buy a business) 

Joe the Plumber was the surprise star of the third and final presidential debate, getting no less than 13 mentions in the opening minutes.

So who is this guy? His full name is Joe Wurzelbacher, and it turns out he had a close encounter with Barack Obama a few days ago. John McCain adopted Joe’s cause as a way to tar his opponent as a tax-and-spend liberal. rtx9llq.jpg

The apparent problem is that Joe is about to buy a company that makes a little over $250,000 a year, and under Obama’s proposal that would put him into a higher tax bracket. Obama told Joe that he wasn’t trying to punish his success, only to spread the wealth around.

“Joe wants to buy the business that he has been in for all of these years, worked 10, 12 hours a day. And he wanted to buy the business but he looked at your tax plan and he saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes,” McCain said.

“Joe, I want to tell you, I’ll not only help you buy that business that you worked your whole life for and be able — and I’ll keep your taxes low and I’ll provide available and affordable health care for you and your employees,” McCain said, staring straight into the camera.

Presidential advisers debate candidate tax proposals

barry.jpgjohnm.jpg NEW YORK  – As presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama sparred over competing tax proposals on Tuesday, their top economic advisers debated similar issues of  what changes in fiscal policy will help boost the U. S. economy.

Taxes took center stage as Doug Holtz-Eakin, senior policy adviser to McCain, and Dan Tarullo, economic adviser to Obama, compared their candidates’ platforms at a Deals & DealMakers executive conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.

Their remarks came as their respective Republican and Democrat presidential candidates staked out starkly opposing stances on taxes, with McCain promising corporate tax breaks and Obama pledging tax increases for many.

Senate candidate Al Franken’s tax goof bites

CHICAGO – Comedian, author and former radio talk show host Al Franken, the likely Democratic Senate candidate for Minnesota, is paying $70,000 in back taxes and penalties to 17 states to make up for what he says were mistakes by his accountant.

State Republicans say Franken, who was expected to pose rtr1n2zo.jpga strong challenge to incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in the November election, is at fault. 

“Al Franken’s business activities must have a full, and complete public airing if he is to retain any credibility as a candidate for public office,” Ron Carey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, said in a statement.

Clinton takes aim at Obama, Big Oil

GRAHAM, N.C. – Offering Americans a summer tax holiday from soaring gasoline prices as another example of why she is the best candidate for president, Sen. Hillary Clinton took aim on Monday at her Democratic Party rival Sen. Barack Obama.

“This is one of the big differences in this race. My opponent Senator Obama opposes giving consumers a break on the gas tax at the federal level. I support it. I understand the American people need some relief,” she told supporters gathered in a fire station here.rtr1zx96.jpg

“Meanwhile Sen. (John) McCain says he’s all for a gas tax holiday, but he won’t pay for it. Well, that is a mistake because we can’t give up on building and repairing our roads. My plan is 100 percent paid for with the windfall profits tax on Big Oil,” she said.