Volume 21, Number 23 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Oct. 17 - 23, 2008
Imagining Joe the Plumber strategy
By Josh Rogers
Barack Obama's campaign moved swiftly to mobilize forces in Toledo Thursday after Joe the Plumber said he was speaking for 30 swing voters in Battleground Ohio and perhaps many more across the state and the country.
"We think we can win without Ohio, but we want to talk to Joe and all of his friends," said one campaign source. "Thirty more votes in Toledo could push the state for us. Plus, Joe indicated this morning that all of his friends have friends who think similarly so we think winning Joe's vote could translate into hundreds if not thousands in both Ohio and Florida."
MSNBC, CNN and Fox News immediately sent out an email to the 270 Democratic and 270 Republican guests scheduled to appear on the networks today, asking them to be prepared to speak authoritatively on Obama's prospects for winning a majority of Joe the Plumber's friends.
Speaking to reporters outside of his doorstep today, Joe, the most discussed figure in last night's presidential debate, said he was disappointed to learn at age 18 that he was a "Yankee" born in Toledo and not in the south. Joe said he spent much of his childhood in Florida, where he was thought he was born, even though he likes to call the area "Southern Alabama."
The Obama campaign was frantically trying to track down any friends or family Joe has in Florida.
His ties to Dixie indicated how tough it will be for Obama to win over Joe the Plumber votes. Joe also expressed disdain for social security, a Democratic bedrock idea.
"Look we know how hard it will be to win Joe's influential block of voters," the campaign source said. "But, we're fighting now in Bush country and if we want an overwhelming mandate, Joe's vote is important."
The Obama campaign is also frantically trying to set up a private meting of the two Joes – the plumber from Ohio and Obama's vice presidential nominee who was raised in Scranton.
One Obama official was overheard cursing his television screen as he saw the throngs of reporters outside Joe the Plummer's home.
This official was also overheard asking Joe Biden: "You mean Toledo and Scranton are different cities?"
In a highly unusual move Joe Biden declined to comment, perhaps an indication that the campaign feels so confident it is ahead that officials were able to convince Biden to stay away from reporters.
Sarah Palin said, "I speak for all of the Joe Sixpacks and Joe the Plumbers, Joe the Jewish Carpenters and even Joe Lieberman (nyah nyah, nyah, John picked me," she seemed to add under her breath.)
"And as I travel the country," Palin continued, "in this 2012 elec— er, 2008 election I see a country tired of this Obama administration -- I mean campaign palling around with terrorists and I see a country waiting for a maverick leader who knows how to run something like a state or suburb instead of someone who sits back and snickers at the president, casting votes in that place called Capitol Hill that was never meant to represent the people of the United States anyway.
"And you know who I'm talking about -- Joe Biden, Barack Obama and J– I mean Joe Biden and Barack Obama. I mean to say I am announcing today that John McCain has my full support and I am endorsing him from now until Nov. 4. When I go to vote in Alaska, the true heartland of America, I am casting my vote for John McCain because he is a maverick.
"Anyone who wants to get in touch with us or contribute to our fight, just email me and I'll print them out and hand them to John while keeping your addresses in a safe place. As you all know John is still learning how to use what he calls 'the Google.' But I love him like a grandfather."