'Joe the Plumber' on 'H&C'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And meanwhile the biggest story in the — in last week on the campaign has been, well, the man that America has come to know as Joe the Plumber. His real name is Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher. And he has become the new symbol of the McCain campaign's fight for everyday Americans.


JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now I'd like to ask one other thing that I have not before. On behalf of Joe, the plumber, and Rose, the teacher, and Phil, the brick layer, and Wendy, the waitress, and all small business people around America, will small business people please raise their hands so we can thank you for what you do for America, job creation?


HANNITY: And Hannity, the hot head, and Colmes the calm — I'm sorry. I'm just kidding. It was a joke.

COLMES: I'm just Alan the talk show host.

HANNITY: All right. And he's even been the target of the Obama-Biden campaign as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's trying to suggest that — a plumber is the guy he's fighting for.


OBAMA: How many plumbers do you know making $250,000 a year?

JOE BIDEN, (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: John continues to cling to the notion (INAUDIBLE) the fact this guy Joe, the plumber. I don't know many Joe, the plumbers in my neighborhood that make that $250,000 a year are worried.


HANNITY: All right, Joe the Plumber joins us in our studio. It's actually Samuel J., not.

JOE WURZELBACHER, 'JOE THE PLUBER': Yes, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with 'Joe the Plumber'

HANNITY: Well, Joe, you're a great American. Good to see you, my friend.

WURZELBACHER: Yes, thank you very much.

HANNITY: Thank you for being here. We appreciate it.

You know, first of all, you had never seen that before?

WURZELBACHER: No, no. That was the first time really.

HANNITY: What do you — when you hear — first of all, it made me mad for you because the crowd's laughing, they think this is a big joke.

You know, here, you're swinging a wrench 12, 14 hours a day. And by the way, I had a lot of years in construction.


HANNITY: Ask Alec Baldwin. He made fun of me. But you know, you're swinging a wrench. You're installing toilets and showers and plumbing and heating and making people's lives better. You service some people, earning every dollar you get.


HANNITY: And to be laughed out, I didn't think that was funny.

WURZELBACHER: No. I don't think it's really funny. I mean, you know, he just trying to take — trying — you know the fact that — well, the issues, I mean he just wants to, you know, take the attention off the issues and kind of play with me, and that way he doesn't have to explain anything.

HANNITY: For the — for the record, you were playing football with your son. You didn't go to an Obama rally. He walked down your street.


HANNITY: Take us from there. What happened?

WURZELBACHER: Just — yes, like you said. I was tossing the football with my son, he's walking down the street — I'm sorry, he's canvassing the neighborhood, going back and forth, and he's getting closer and closer, and you know, it actually irritated me.

I didn't really want to talk with him, you know? I wanted to toss football with my son.


WURZELBACHER: Something that we'd do.

HANNITY: I don't want to talk to Colmes a lot of nights either.

COLMES: But you get paid well to do it, don't you?

HANNITY: Ah — yes.


HANNITY: Short answer. Yes.

WURZELBACHER: So you know, short story, as they were asking me easy questions. And you know, you know, everybody in America thinks, man, god, if I could get this guy in front of me, I'd really — you know ask him a hard question.

Well, I had the chance. And you know, my question wasn't that hard.


WURZELBACHER: It's just he shot himself in his own foot with his answer.

HANNITY: All right. Here's the — because this is now, we have Joe Biden say it's our — saying it's our patriotic duty to pay more taxes. He's saying — he said to you, and this — this is resonating, spread the wealth.

And there are even people, according to the Obama plan, who don't work or pay taxes that will get money back.


HANNITY: And if you say the word welfare, some of — said well, that's actually racist. Actually that came out this weekend.

Here's my question to you. Why is — in your words, because I thought you articulated this better than many politicians. Why do you view this as socialism because that's the word you used?

WURZELBACHER: Well, just because, you know, when you work hard, I mean, all your life, you've — you've said, you know, work hard, you'll make something of yourself. You know? I grew up poor. You know I actually have been on welfare, you know, my parents, you know, a couple different times, and we'd, you know, worked harder and got off of it and then, you know, actually did fairly well.

I mean fairly well, you know, I'm not talking $100,000 a year fairly well, I'm just talking fairly well for us. You know? So when someone tells me that if you work hard that we're going to take more away from you, what's the purpose of working hard?

HANNITY: Do you think this should be a defining moment? Because I actually believe that it is a defining moment in the campaign. It's going to be very interesting. Because Barack Obama's promised to spend $1 trillion more in tax money, that means your tax dollars out there, $1 trillion more.

Barack Obama says he's going to raise the capital gains tax, put a windfall profit tax on companies, raise tax rates, eliminate the Bush tax cuts.


HANNITY: . and raise a series of taxes, the death tax among them.

That's socialism. That is redistribution of wealth.


HANNITY: Why do you think that's bad? Why would that be bad for you if you're going to try to get this business of yours?

WURZELBACHER: There's no reason to go out there and work hard. There's no more — you know, I mean, he's breeding mediocrity in America is what he's doing by doing all that.

I mean, people, you know, at one point in time they wanted a hand up maybe, but now it's a hand out. You're — telling people to stay home, I'm going to take care of you, and the other people that are working out there, they're just.


COLMES: Hey, Joe, nice to meet you. Thanks for (INAUDIBLE) on the show.

HANNITY: If you want a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm. That's what Michael (INAUDIBLE) said.

COLMES: First of all, were you an undecided voter, truly, when you met Barack Obama?

WURZELBACHER: No. No, I was not an undecided voter.

COLMES: Because they — it was presented that way. And you know, I think a lot of people — I don't think some of the comments that you may have felt insulted by were directed at you personally, as much as people like (INAUDIBLE) have genuine issues with the McCain campaign and McCain's policies.


COLMES: Do you think that Joe Biden and John McCain were personally attacking you?

HANNITY: Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

COLMES: Well, what did I say? Oh Barack — excuse me, right. Thank you for helping me with the question, Hannity.

WURZELBACHER: Well, Joe Biden, I mean, he said it awful mockingly. You know I don't know any to — you know, and I do kind of take that a little personal. I mean I didn't say I made $250,000. You know I think he's making more of it.

COLMES: But it wasn't about you, it was this idea that if you're making less than that, you're going to actually save money under Barack Obama's tax policies, you wouldn't be paying more.

WURZELBACHER: Well, you know, yes, I thought about that, and I was hoping you might ask something like that.


WURZELBACHER: To be honest with you. You know I don't think it's right to — you know, you know, there's principles involved. I don't want to make or have my taxes cut if it means somebody who worked hard or had a better break than I did, and take his money. I don't want his money.

COLMES: So you don't want a tax cut?

WURZELBACHER: I don't want someone else's money who worked hard for it. No.

COLMES: But John McCain will have tax cuts, too, for some people, for the middle-class Americans. It wouldn't be just Barack Obama.

WURZELBACHER: Oh no, it's, I mean — well, you know, are — either one of them going to do it.

COLMES: I want to address this issue of socialism. You raised the issue of socialism.


COLMES: I want to play you a little tape here of what the various candidates have said about that and the whole issue of socialism.

Let's take a look.



SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The key to Barack Obama's tax plan, since he can't reduce taxes on those who pay zero, he wants the government to send them a check that's called a tax credit. And.


MCCAIN: I want to give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit.

PALIN: But Joe the plumber and Ed the dairyman — I believe that they think that it sounds more like socialism.


MCCAIN: Under my orders as president of the United States government will purchase mortgages directly from homeowners and mortgage services and replace them.

PALIN: Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism.


COLMES: That's interesting because Sarah Palin gave $1200 to every resident of Alaska, some people would call that socialism. And John McCain would give.

HANNITY: That was their oil money.

COLMES: And Sam, and Sam.

HANNITY: That was their oil money.

COLMES: And every year — excuse me. Every year Alaskans get $2,000.

HANNITY: You're picking on Joe the Plumber on oil issues?

COLMES: Excuse me. I believe I'm.

HANNITY: Go ahead.

COLMES: I believe I'm up now.

HANNITY: I'm defending my friend.

COLMES: Forgive me. Forgive me for being, you know.

The fact of the matter is that, you know, one could say socialism when John McCain wants to buy back mortgages. Is that socialism?

WURZELBACHER: You know, honestly, I don't know enough.

COLMES: Right.

WURZELBACHER: . to actually answer that question intelligently, but at the same, I mean, as far as — you know, that is oil money, that's not socialism, that's just rewarding the people in the state.

COLMES: Right.

WURZELBACHER: I mean I lived up in Alaska for a couple of years. I was, you know, lucky enough to receive that, you know, at one point. But, you know, if you're a resident and you pay, because I mean, food is more expensive up there because it has to be trucked in there. There's a lot of things.

So socialist, no. As far as — you know, here's a question back at you. Why do they keep on saying 95 percent of Americans? 95 percent of Americans don't pay taxes.

COLMES: They're saying 95 percent of working families.

HANNITY: Wait, I got to (INAUDIBLE) one thing before we go to break.

COLMES: He's saying.

HANNITY: When we come back we're going to talk about the vicious, vicious personal attacks against you. So we've got one more segment.

COLMES: Nobody supports vicious personal attacks or any attacks against you personally.

But by the way, he's talking 95 percent.

HANNITY: He tries to give you this edited sound bite.

COLMES: He's talking about — excuse me. Excuse me.

HANNITY: Yes, sir.

COLMES: He's talking about — may I speak?


COLMES: He's talking about 95 percent of working families, not 95 percent of Americans.

We'll be back with Joe the Plumber.


COLMES: And we're back with Joe the Plumber. You know we have a great country where we can disagree.


COLMES: About stuff. And I guess, getting back to this issue of where you would do better, do you think you'd do better under John McCain than Barack Obama even if you're making under $250,000 a year and you're not being taxed on that amount of money?


COLMES: Why would that be if you would actually, say, maybe $1,000 or $2,000 a year under the Obama tax plan?

WURZELBACHER: Because, I mean, you start bending principles, then where does it stop? I do think it's an issue with principles. I mean it's not right to take someone else's money who has worked, you know, harder or has better breaks, like I was saying last time. I just wouldn't feel comfortable with that.

COLMES: Yes. But we have a progressive tax system in this country where those who have made more, traditionally, have always paid more higher percentage, and a lot of people might like a flat tax, which sounds a lot fairer.

WURZELBACHER: A lot would love flat tax.

COLMES: But it doesn't seem like we're headed in that direction. But even under Reagan and even under Bush — both Bushes we've had a — what's called a progressive tax cuts.

WURZELBACHER: Well, you know, I asked Obama about the flat tax.


WURZELBACHER: I mean he threw out a number of 40 percent, and I, you know, that was kind of high, then he — you know, he did back off, said about 22 or 23 percent, and that's to keep the government at the — you know, how big it is right now.

COLMES: Right. Right.

WURZELBACHER: I mean, really, the government needs to be cut in half. I mean there's so many expenditures out there. I mean you know, embryo research, I mean just so many things.


WURZELBACHER: That should be privatized, that shouldn't be anything the government's.


WURZELBACHER: You know? And so, you know, if we could get rid of a lot of the government which, you know, Sarah Palin's talked a lot about, you know.

COLMES: Well, one of the thing we're starting to get rid off is, for example, the military, we need defense, and also one of the things Obama said he would do would get us out of Iraq which would save a lot of money in terms of the money we're spending in that war.

WURZELBACHER: You know, I'm — well, as far as that goes, have you met anybody over there?


WURZELBACHER: You know, they've got liberation, they've got freedom. Things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

COLMES: But there's a price that comes with that.

WURZELBACHER: Well, sure, there's a price with...

COLMES: You know, we're not asked to sacrifice anything here in this — you know we have — there has been no sacrifices asked of Americans.

WURZELBACHER: Yes, but we send all our money over to — you know major disasters happen worldwide, I mean we send out money over there without — you know so we're being great Americans.


WURZELBACHER: We're being great Americans now.

COLMES: But the price of that has maybe some people who make a lot of money paying more taxes to able to afford to give freedom to those countries, you think that's we've been doing?

HANNITY: Hey, Joe, you see what I have to put up with? Do you think you have stress wringing that wrench around every day? You know?


Listen, I got some news for you.


HANNITY: Scott Rasmussen, who is our pollster, is going to join us in a few minutes. He's got the latest state by state polls.

You've been polled.

WURZELBACHER: I've been polled?

HANNITY: Yes. And by the way, among those that are following your story, you have a 58 percent approval rating. All right? Among.

COLMES: When are you running?

HANNITY: By the way, 37 percent — disapproval rating, 71 percent of Republicans approve of everything you're doing and then 64 percent of Alan's left-wing socialist friends don't like you.

COLMES: Please throw in the word communist while you're at it.

HANNITY: Close thing.

WURZELBACHER: I believe in — no, not socialism.

I believe in social issues. I believe in social works. I mean I think it needs reforming something fierce. You know I have friends, you know, that, you know, make so much money, but if they make just a couple dollars more?

HANNITY: Yes, the government is picking their pocket.

WURZELBACHER: Well, not only picking their pocket, but they're taking their child support away.

HANNITY: Absolutely.

WURZELBACHER: They're taking — you know, I mean, childcare away. They're taking the food away. I mean, you know, so you don't really — you're not wanting them to succeed, you're penalizing them.

HANNITY: All right. I want to talk about, you know, the left wing, and this is not Alan, in fairness to him, but there have been vicious attacks. You don't have a license. Joe doesn't — Joe doesn't have license. You've been a master plumber for how many years?

WURZELBACHER: I'm not a master plumber. I'm just a plumber.

HANNITY: You're a plumber, but you work under the license of your boss?

WURZELBACHER: Yes. I work under the license of my boss.

HANNITY: And you — and you went to school three and a half years, you have six months left to go to get your own master's plumber?

WURZELBACHER: Yes. I'm going to bypass the journeyman.


WURZELBACHER: And I'm going to take my test and get my master's license. That way I can.

HANNITY: So you never did illegal? In other words, when the implications was, you're not even a real plumber. You've been doing this for 15 years.


HANNITY: Yes. All right, the other thing that people have been out there saying, well, you didn't pay their taxes.


HANNITY: You didn't even know that there was a bill.

WURZELBACHER: They don't send notices out. You know?


WURZELBACHER: And the only way you find out is if you — you know, go to refinance your house.


WURZELBACHER: . or you're going to sell it or, you know, or try to get a loan off it, then all of the sudden, hey, you know, it raises its ugly head.

HANNITY: Right. I want to say — but the — you see, none of this was relevant, but once your message began to resonate.


HANNITY: . it was attack the messenger and forget about — it was Barack Obama, he's the one running for president who said, you know, spread the wealth around, and we'll run it through, of course, him and his bureaucracy and Biden and his bureaucracy.


HANNITY: And they don't want to — what is that — what did that teach you about this system?

WURZELBACHER: We'd go a little further as far as.

HANNITY: Smear — smear the messenger, don't pay attention to the question which was relevant.

WURZELBACHER: Well, you know, that bothers me, that they have to spend so much time on me. I mean I am really your just — your average Joe.

I mean, you know, come November 4th, I mean, someone's going to have to go to work, and they're really going to have a tough job ahead of them, and they're going to sit here and talk about, you know, if I have a license or if I have a — you know, I owe $1100? I mean, you know, these guys will (INAUDIBLE).

HANNITY: Yes. I want to tell you one thing. I did — I have beaten you, though. I have a higher disapproval rating among Democrats than you do. So.

COLMES: They know you better.

HANNITY: That's true. Just give me some time.

Joe, you're a great American. Thank you for all you do honestly. It's a.

WURZELBACHER: Thank you very much really. Appreciate it.

COLMES: Very nice to meet you, Joe.


HANNITY: You know what? You're the heart and soul swinging that wrench, you're the heart and soul of what makes this country great, and the fact that you had this opportunity, I think, speaks volumes about you and this country.

Thank you for being with us. Honestly.

WURZELBACHER: I really appreciate it.

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