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’Joe the Plumber’ Still Doesn’t Want Gays Near His Kids

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Mar 9, 2012
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Now that Republican Samuel Wurzelbacher (better known as "Joe the Plumber") is running for Congress, anti-gay comments he made two years ago are coming back to haunt him. Wurzelbacher recently appeared in a heated interview on CNN’s Thursday morning show where host Zoraida Sambolin pressed the conservative about the statements as well as his qualifications, the Huffington Post reported.

Sambolin asked Wurzelbacher if he changed his mind about his feelings towards gays. In 2009, he talked to Christianity Today and said, "Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that." He also said that he has friends who "are actually homosexual" and that they know he would not let them near his kids.

"So this is TMZ, this isn’t CNN, is what you’re saying?" Wurzelbacher asked Sambolin.

"Of course it’s CNN," she responded. "These are things that you said, that I would like to know if you still stand by them or if you have changed your positions on them."

"Listen, in my dictionary, and everyone’s dictionary in 1970s, the word queer did mean strange and unusual," he said. "There was no slur to it. Do you challenge that?"

Before the intense back-and-forth took place, Wurzelbacher answered a question about what he did for a living and said he built houses and "encouraging Americans to be informed about who they vote for." Sambolin then asked him about what qualifies him to run in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District.

"What qualifies me? One, I’m an American citizen. Two, I’m very much involved in the process of what’s going on," he said. "I guess my question would be, what qualifies the current politicians who are killing the country -- Republicans and Democrats alike. I’m sorry, it just seems like a silly question."

"People want to know what your qualifications are, your breadth of experience in order to lead," Sambolin said.

"My breadth of experience is that I’ve worked all my life," responded Wurzelbacher. "See these hands right here?" he said, showing his hands to the camera. "There’s calluses on them. I’ve worked the last 25 years having to make results. ... Politicians live off the backs of broke taxpayers."

Towards the end of the interview Wurzelbacher said, "I’m allowed to have my opinions as an American, but it seems the left becomes very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state."

The gay conservative organization GOProud defended Wurzelbacher and Jimmy LaSalvia, the group’s executive director, issued a statement.

"The left and their friends in the main stream media don’t want to talk about the issue most Americans in this country today care about - jobs," the group said. "Instead, they want a culture war. They want a culture war because they cannot defend this President’s record of failure when it comes to creating jobs and growing our economy. They hope to cynically distract Americans to protect President Obama and his liberal allies in Congress in November. The bottom line is that whether you are gay or straight, black or white, male or female, conservative or liberal, what matters most in these tough economic times is leadership in Washington that will work to create jobs for all Americans."

Wurzelbacher rose to fame during the 2008 U.S. presidential election when he questioned Obama about a small business tax policy. Obama said, "When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." The right pounced on his statement, especially Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who worked the "Joe the Plumber" nickname into his campaign.

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