'Joe the Plumber' Fires Back at CNN Host: 'So This Is TMZ'

In a heated exchange Thursday between CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin and Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber,” Sambolin dug up comments he made about “gay people” in 2009, causing Wurzelbacher to quip that "this is TMZ. This isn't CNN, is what you're saying."

Sambolin also questioned his qualifications to run for office, and mislabeled his liberal opponent as a "conservative Democrat" while branding Wurzelbacher as a "conservative Republican." 

CNN deems it necessary to press a conservative candidate on his social positions while, as their liberal bias on LGBT issues suggests, they would hardly question a liberal candidate over his social stances.

Sambolin also labeled Wurzelbacher's Democratic opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, as a "conservative Democrat." Kaptur is clearly a liberal. She owns a 2010 liberal rating of 85 with the group Americans for Democratic Action, while possessing a lifetime rating of under 15 with the American Conservative Union.

Meanwhile, the CNN host questioned if Wurzelbacher can win as a "conservative Republican," saying it was a "challenge."

And Sambolin also questioned Wurzelbacher's prior experience as a plumber and laborer who enjoyed some time in the public spotlight in 2008 educating Americans with his conservative principles. "[H]ow do you think that qualifies you to run for Congress?" the CNN host asked, a question her guest dismissed as "silly."

The full exchange can be found below.


EARLY START
March 8, 2012
6:16 a.m. EST

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN anchor: What do you do for a living now?

SAMUEL WURZELBACHER, "Joe the Plumber": Well, for the last four years I've gone around building houses, taking trees down, plumbing, and speaking at different events around the country encouraging Americans to really get informed on who they're going to vote for. Stop voting on 30-second sound bites, and make sure their vote counts and then really exercise their civic responsibility as an American.

SAMBOLIN: And what do you think, or how do you think that qualifies you to run for Congress?

WURZELBACHER: (Laughs) What qualifies me – one, I'm an American citizen. Two, you know, I'm very much involved in the process of what's going on. I guess my question would be, what qualifies the current politicians who are killing our country, Republicans and Democrats alike. I'm sorry, it just seems like a silly question.

(...)

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's talk about the GOP nomination that you won.  It was a really tight margin -- 51 percent of the vote compared to your opponents, 48 percent. And you had a lot of money, six times the amount of your opponent. But now, you have a really strong incumbent to face -- the Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur. She defeated Kucinich in her primary. She's considered a conservative Democrat. She's defeated every Republican challenger that she has faced since 1982. How do you think you're going to win this?

WURZELBACHER: Well, you know, that's the first time I heard her called a conservative Democrat.

(...)

SAMBOLIN: The challenge for you because you're a conservative Republican. So, it brings up some comments that you said and I want to share them with you. In an interview in 2009 in "Christianity Today," you made comments about gay people. We're going to put them up there for everybody to see.

"Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that." You also said, "I've had some friends that were actually homosexual and I mean, they know where I stand and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people and they're going to do their thing."

Have you changed your positions on this at all?

WURZELBACHER: So, this is TMZ. This isn't CNN is what you're saying.

SAMBOLIN: Of course, it's CNN.

These are things you said that I would like to know if you still stand by them or if you have change your positions on them.

WURZELBACHER: No, I want everybody to have a job. Americans, as far as that goes. Republican, Democrat, union, non-union --

SAMBOLIN: What about these comments that you made? Do you stand by these comments?

WURZELBACHER: Listen, in my dictionary and in everyone's dictionary from the 1970s, the word queer didn mean strange and unusual. There was no slur to it. Do you challenge that?

SAMBOLIN: No, I'm just -- I'm questioning whether or not you still stand by these positions on homosexuality --

(CROSSTALK)

WURZELBACHER: I'm trying to get where you're coming from? What context are you using this in?

SAMBOLIN: The context that I'm using --

WURZELBACHER: Come on. You're trying to do a gotcha moment, it's quite obvious.

SAMBOLIN: No, no, it's not a gotcha moment. These are things that you said and I think people who are voting for you should have an opportunity to understand whether or not you have changed your positions on these two issues here.