A debate about Joe the Plumber
By Bill Adair
Published on Thursday, October 16th, 2008 at 12:02 a.m.
SUMMARY: In their final debate, Barack Obama and John McCain spar about whose policies would be better for Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio plumber. We find mistakes by both candidates.
The star of the third and final presidential debate was a plumber from Ohio named Joe Wurzelbacher. Joe, referred to several times as "Joe the Plumber," became the debate's Everyman as the candidates sparred over whether he would win or lose from their tax and health care policies.
We took a look at one of the Joe claims and several others:
• McCain invoked Joe in his claim that small businesses would have to pay fines under Obama's health care plan. We gave that one a False .
• Obama was way off with his claim that 100 percent of McCain's campaign ads have been negative. Obama was so far off that he earned a Pants on Fire .
• McCain inched a little closer to the truth with the latest version of his claim about Obama's vote on a Democratic budget resolution and its impact on people earning more than $42,000. We gave McCain a Half True .
• Obama distorted the numbers about the cost of McCain's health care plan and earned a False .
• We found McCain was accurately summarizing Obama's position on the North American Free Trade Agreement. We rated McCain's claim Mostly True .
• And, lastly, we found McCain was correct to say that Obama "didn’t repudiate" remarks made by Rep. John Lewis, that McCain and Sarah Palin "were somehow associated with ... the worst chapter in American history." Obama released a statement, but never specifically criticized Lewis. This one is True.
See individual Truth-O-Meter items.
Researchers: Bill Adair
We want to hear your suggestions and comments.
For tips or comments on our Obameter and our GOP-Pledge-O-Meter promise databases, please e-mail the Obameter. If you are commenting on a specific promise, please include the wording of the promise.For comments about our Truth-O-Meter or Flip-O-Meter items, please e-mail the Truth-O-Meter. We’re especially interested in seeing any chain e-mails you receive that you would like us to check out. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.
Keep up to date with Politifact:
- Sign up for our e-mail (about once a week)
- Put a free PolitiFact widget on your blog or Web page
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Truth-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on GOP Pledge-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Obameter items
- Advertise on PolitiFact
- Shop the PolitiFact store for T-shirts, hats and other PolitiFact swag