Joe Wurzelbacher – immortalized during tonight's presidential debate as "Joe The Plumber" – spoke with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric shortly after the conclusion of the final debate between Barack Obama and John McCain.
To get a sense of just how central Wurzelbacher was to the debate, consider this: McCain and Obama mentioned Wurzelbacher 26 times during the 90 minute debate. By contrast, Iraq came up six times, and the word "economy" was used 16 times.
While still on the air, Couric asked Wurzelbacher what he thought of the debate. He said he wasn't swayed either way, though he seems to be leaning towards one of the candidates.
"I mean I have a pretty good idea who I'm going to vote for but you know that's my - you know, the nice thing about going into the booth is only me and the lever knows," he said. "I think McCain did a fine job this evening, I think he brought up some good points. I do like his health care and I do like his, where he stands on taxes."
The conversation continued on Couric's webcast. Here's the full transcript of that exchange, along with video:
COURIC: We want to go to Joe the plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher from Toledo, Ohio, because Joe is telling me that he's got three live trucks parked outside his house - actually from Holland, Ohio, let me correct that, Joe. Was this a bit of a surreal experience, hearing your name mentioned not once, but twice, but almost half a dozen times during the course of this debate, Joe?
Mr. JOSEPH WURZELBACHER: Yeah, actually, surreal's a good word to use for it. It was - you know, I was glad I was able to act as some type of point, you know, to where they could sit there and hammer out what they both think, what they want to say. But ultimately, you know, the important part was the debate.
COURIC: And again, why don't you just reiterate quickly for us, Joe, because I want you to get back, get to your local news station where you are, how you felt about the statements made by the candidates vs. the statements you heard when they were out on the campaign trail talking to you.
WURZELBACHER: One thing I noticed that seemed like Obama changed his mind on offshore drilling, which I thought was a good move. I don't know how much he wants to do of it, I'd like to talk to - hear more about that. McCain I - made a solid - you know, McCain was solid in his performance.
Obama speaks well, but the one thing that's really important, that everyone in America really need to know is, you know, talk is talk. You know, he can speak pretty, but, you know, there's got to be action behind it. We've seen McCain, we know his actions. Even if you disagree with him, at least you know where he stands. McCain - or Obama, we're not sure where he stands yet, even after his debates. Like I said, he speaks eloquently, better than I do, but I honestly, I still don't know where he stands. He's said a lot, but none of his experience has backed it up. You know, the only experience I've seen or his actions are raising our taxes, so, you know, I'm middle class. I can't have my taxes raised anymore.
COURIC: Well, he supposedly will raise taxes only on people who make over $250,000 a year. Would you be in that category?
WURZELBACHER: Not right now at presently, but, you know, question, so he's going to do that now for people who make $250,000 a year. When's he going to decide that $100,000 is too much, you know? I mean, you're on a slippery slope here. You vote on somebody who decides that $250,000 and you're rich? And $100,000 and you're rich? I mean, where does it end? You know, that's - people got to ask that question.
COURIC: Could you just, Joe, explain quickly, and then we'll let you go, how you met both of the candidates?
WURZELBACHER: I've yet to meet John McCain. Obama came to my neighborhood and my son and I were outside tossing the football, and all of a sudden he showed up, and there went our football tossing for a while. And, you know, neighbors were outside asking him questions, and I didn't think they were asking him tough enough questions, so I thought, you know, I'll go over there. You know, I've always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them and get them to answer a question of--for once instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question but I still got a tap dance. Do you - almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.
COURIC: Joe Wurzelbacher, I mispronounced your last name earlier, Joe. Maybe you should fill in on "Meet the Press," Joe. Or "Face the Nation," I should add. I know they're looking for someone on "Meet the Press," that's why I said that. Joe, hey...
WURZELBACHER: Great. I've got opinions and I, you know, and that's it. But I - you know, everyone has opinions.
COURIC: Yeah, that's for darn sure. Well, Joe, thanks so much for talking with us. I'll let you get outside to your local news reporters. And really, I really appreciate your spending some time with us tonight. And now everybody knows your name, at least, right?
WURZELBACHER: I don't know if that's good or bad, but we'll see how, you know, the future brings.
COURIC: All right, Joe, thanks very much.