Joe the Plumber Laughs at CNN Anchor Who Insists He's Fair, He's Not Pro-Obama

Just before 8 am Eastern time on the Tuesday edition of CNN’s American Morning, anchor John Roberts interview Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, and something unusual happened. After a battery of questions from Roberts suggesting Joe was throwing John McCain "under the bus," Joe shot back that the media does that to candidates it supports. Roberts took offense, since "I’m a journalist," and Joe laughed at that. Roberts insisted Joe should not cast aspersions against him, and Joe said he didn’t mean to attack Roberts personally. (He should have said "I’m sure the Media Research Center has a thick file of your biased remarks.") Here’s how the exchange went:

ROBERTS: But if you disagreed with some of his policies, why were you out there on the campaign trail supporting him?

WURZELBACHER: Do you agree with every candidate and your candidate's policies?

ROBERTS: Hey, I'm not out there stumping for anybody, I'm a journalist. (Joe laughs heartily)

WURZELBACHER: I'll leave that one alone.

ROBERTS: No, seriously.

WURZELBACHER: You know I was out there, I told everybody, Obama’s --

ROBERTS: Excuse me, Joe. Why would you cast aspersions on my journalistic integrity. I don't even know you?

WURZELBACHER: [Pause] Oh, I wasn't -- you specifically, and in general some of the media, you know is very slanted to the left. You personally, John, I don't know you, I don't mean to cast any kind of bad things about you, brother.

ROBERTS: All right.

WURZELBACHER: I just, you know, in general you can say the left pretty much shot me up, wouldn't you say?

ROBERTS: Well, I mean, you know, I guess when you entered the political fray, you've got to expect that some people are going to take some shots at you, you know, when you get out there and you enter into that political arena. It's a tough place to be. It's a little bit like a gladiator sport --

WURZELBACHER: Oh, absolutely.

ROBERTS: And you are going into the coliseum.

But that’s not the case if the "average Joe" is accomplishing some liberal objective – take, for example, Cindy Sheehan. She wasn’t subjected to rough questioning from the liberal media.

That’s not even the case if you’re a media-appointed political savior, like Barack Obama.

We nominated Roberts on our Best of Notable Quotables ballot in the category "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Soft and Cuddly Interviews" for this May 5 exchange on American Morning:

JOHN ROBERTS: I want to just stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today. So, no questions about Reverend Wright. Our viewers want us to move on, so this morning we’re going to move on. Is that okay with you?

BARACK OBAMA: Fair enough. That sounds just fine.

Here’s the Roberts pounding that proceeded today's media-bias-protest exchange with Joe the Plumber:

ROBERTS: Joe Wurzelbacher, you probably know him better as Joe the plumber. He became a blue-collar talking point during the final leg of the presidential campaign. Well now, Joe is out with a new book with his take on American values. Joe Wurzelbacher, author of "Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream" joins me now from Toledo, Ohio.

Joe, good to see you. I guess the book is available on your Web site which is secureourdream.com. It's coming out in stores I believe, first in the new year. In the book you say that the McCain campaign was, "fragmented and disorganized." And you go on to say, "I did not want him for the Republican ticket. I do not agree with a great many of his policies, nor do I care for aspects of his voting record." Now, he stood by you after you had said during an interview that a vote for Barack Obama was a vote for the death of Israel. He was there backing you up, but you're throwing him under the bus now. Why?

JOE WURZELBACHER, AUTHOR: I'm not throwing him under the bus, the things I spoke about, his voting records, I mean that's factual. You know, we talked about -- he wanted to make other senators famous for having pork ,you know, in a bill, and yet he goes back to Washington, you know, suspends his campaign and goes back to Washington and votes for a $700 billion bailout, when Americans are in a time of need. You know we're taken advantage of and money is you know, ‘you wash my back, I'll wash yours.’ Money was thrown, you know, Michigan International Speedway got what, $250,000? So many other different organizations received pork.

So it's not that I'm throwing John McCain on the bus. I have said it in my book, I respect John McCain for the service he provided our country, and, but as far as his voting record, I mean, you know, he proposed the amnesty bill for the illegal aliens. And I mean, that got a lot of negative publicity, a lot of, you know, opinion polls you know, proved the American people don't want it, yet they don't listen to us. So I'm not throwing McCain under the bus. That's just factual and that’s what happened.

ROBERTS: But I guess the throwing him under the bus aspect of this Joe, comes in from the idea that you were out there on the campaign trail, you were stumping for John McCain, you didn't say anything about it then. He loses the election. Now you’re writing a book for profit, saying all of these things about him. Many people take that as throwing him under the bus. If you felt so strongly about it during the campaign, why didn't you say something then?

WURZELBACHER: Well no, it's not so much that people are saying I'm throwing him under the bus, the media is saying I'm throwing him under the bus. So you know, let's correct that. You know, let them make the decision when they read the book. You know, so far I have heard that and it's been written about in the last couple of weeks since the interview with Glenn Beck, that I’ve thrown him under the bus. But that's just what I heard from the media. It's not what I heard from the general populace of America. Like I said, so they read the book, they can decide if I have thrown them under the bus, I just stated facts. I just stated facts about other politicians as well. So it's not, you know, I'm not singling John McCain out, he just happens to be the one I got to meet and you know, work with for six hours. So he's a good example that I can use.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis