Joe the Plumber hits media after "gotcha" CNN interview
Republican congressional candidate Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher blasted the media Thursday for what he suggested was unethical journalism after a CNN reporter attempted to question him on social issues.
In an interview with CBS News' Political Hotsheet, Wurzelbacher suggested that CNN had invited him on the show under false pretenses because "they asked me to come on the show to talk about what I want to do and accomplish," and then questioned him on social issues.
Wurzelbacher, who came to prominence as "Joe the Plumber" in the 2008 election after asking President Obama about his plan to help small businesses, is running for Congress in Ohio. He won the Republican primary Tuesday and faces longtime Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who earlier this week defeated former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary, in the general election.
"I have a problem with the media saying one thing and doing another," Wurzelbacher told Hotsheet, referring to the interview with CNN, which aired Thursday morning. He said it should be "obvious to anyone who has a half a brain" that CNN's question was so-called "gotcha" journalism
CNN's Zoraida Sambolin questioned Wurzelbacher on past statements he has made about homosexuality, in which he suggested that the word "queer" was not derogatory, and that he would not let gay people "anywhere near" his children.
"So this is TMZ, this isn't CNN, is what you're saying," Wurzelbacher said, in response to her question.
Wurzelbacher explained to CBS that he does not believe a national political candidate's views on social issues are relevant, with the exception of views on abortion, because he thinks those matters should be governed by the state.
"Social issues short of abortion should be decided by the states," he said. "The federal government has got to stop these one-size-fits-all laws."
Wurzelbacher added that he exempts abortion rights from that standard because "you don't kill people."
"It's that simple. You don't kill people. Babies are people from the moment of conception," he said.
The candidate said he would back a federal "personhood" bill, which defines life at the moment of conception, and expressed wonder at "the fact that there's even a discussion on this, or an argument." He also said he would support overturning the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in 1973.
"I stand for the unborn," he said.
When pressed, Wurzelbacher said he would not answer any more questions about his stance on homosexuality, but noted that his campaign is preparing to release a statement on the issue- and "then the media can have all kinds of fun with it."
The candidate faces an uphill battle against Kaptur in the general election. The district leans in favor of Democrats, and Kaptur is a high-ranking Democrat currently serving her 15th term in the House.
Wurzelbacher says he is not intimidated by Kaptur's long record in politics.
"In this political climate I don't think it will serve her to be able to tout all her experience," Wurzelbacher told Hotsheet. "I see it as a detriment. She's definitely part of the problem."
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