McCain Didn’t Vet “Joe the Plumber” Either?

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Watch CBS Videos Online
Seems to me, Joe the Plumber (aka, Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher) wants to be a Fox News host more than being a plumber anyway.
Turns out the guy does not have a license to be a plumber. Well, you know. . .more government regulation. . .can’t have that! Wait, is McCain for regulation and licensing – or against it? I keep getting confused.
And to give Barack Obama his due, Plumber Joe does not have income more than $250,000 and thus would not be subject to any tax increase under Obama’s plan. Joe just doesn’t like taxes and thinks taxes on the rich are a “slippery slope” to taxes on everyone else.
Here’s the video clip (above). . .be sure to catch the end when he says Obama tap dances a lot “like Sammy Davis Jr.”
More later.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

38 comments on “McCain Didn’t Vet “Joe the Plumber” Either?

  1. mikelomonaco says:

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    Reply

  2. Kris says:

    This has become the same myth as “Polish plumber”, armies of which were said to run over French plumbers prior to the French referendum on European constitution. French said No.
    Interestingly, though, at that time (May 2005), a Polish plumber could not work legally in France because France, as other old EU countries, did not open its labour market for the countries that joined in May 2004. It did so only this summer.

    Reply

  3. sensiblethoughts says:

    This whole thing with Joe the plumber is another idiotic trick by the McCain/Palin team. THEY ARE DESPERATE TO GAIN SOME TRACTION. Their lies aren’t working, so they plant disruptive distractions like Joe the phony plumber. Even though it has been proven that he would benefit more from Obama’s tax plan, he still is out there telling lies to support McCain. HOW PATHETIC it all is!!!!!!

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    Tahoe, there’s envy and there’s structural poverty. My guess is that structural poverty is a whole lot more powerful than is envy. Read Rawls and you’ll see structure, logic, clear thinking. Read the Wall Street Journal on Rawls and you’ll see envy. The WSJ reading is wrong.
    If you take up the envy line, then you may just end up defending slavery — if slavery is indefensible (the powerful controlling the powerless), then why is structural poverty defensible? If might does NOT make right, then some amount of spreading the wealth is likely justified. Rawls has a nice system for figuring out how to balance calls for equality against calls for keeping the fruits of your labor. Give it a read.
    I suppose that a lot of this argument depends on what you think the causes of poverty are. I tend to think that economic and social structures determine far more than does individual bootstrap pulling. If the cause is socially determined for the most part, then social cures are called for. If the cause is individual, humaneness might still call for social cures. It’s only if you firmly believe that not only do poor people cause their own poverty but also that poor people DESERVE to suffer and die, that you refuse to spread the wealth. So, Tahoe, should poor people just go and die? It’d be nice if conservatives would just answer this question out loud.
    And it might be nice if conservatives would realize that business interests are huge beneficiaries of spreading the wealth. You can’t run a business outside of a system of social organization that supports property rights. That system costs money and labor. That money and labor do not come directly from the businesses themselves. They benefit from lots of spreading. But they harbor the ILLUSION that they are out there doing all themselves and therefore deserve the total fruits of their labor. It’s an illusion.
    Tahoe, I’d ask you to respond directly to my post instead of linking to some article somewhere…..

    Reply

  5. ... says:

    mccain thought he could make some political points using joe the plumber and referring to him as such… he did neither himself or joe any favours, but if you are a right wing lunatic, you must blame all this on obama… their is a certain predictability in all of this, which is rather sad…

    Reply

  6. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama, Joe the plumber, and the gospel of envy
    A call to “spread the wealth around” is an old -– and dangerous –- theme.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1017/p09s02-coop.html

    The Axelrod Method
    The “change” president could be in for a rough ride on Capitol Hill.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122420254658343011.html

    Reply

  7. Linda says:

    Link from TPM above was sent to me by a cousin living near Johnstown, PA where this video was recorded before a McCain-Palin event a week ago.
    I continue to disagree with many above mainly on the angry and demeaning tone toward people who truly believe things that we all know are totally false, wrong, and inaccurate.
    Calling them stupid or names is an ad hominem attack and does not change their minds or votes.
    That’s what needs to be done.
    Like it or not, Joe the Plumber’s vote in Ohio probably is more important on November 4 than mine in GA or POA’s in CA.
    Deepak Chopra has an excellent analysis of the forces at play: http://www.chopra.com/node/1064.

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/238074.php
    Here’s a video of the non-vegetarians the Repubs are attracting. On line outside and Oct 11 rally. And here’s the guy with the Curious George monkey doll and Obama bumper sticker head band. Oh my.
    Maybe it’s time to teach rational argumentation in elementary school.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    Oh, and one more thing Tahoe– note that Palin has faded. Her negatives outweigh her positives. She has driven away the intellectual end of the Repub party along with women. At this point she only speaks in front of non-vegetarian crowds whose anger seems to be growing. She’s kept from the press, she’s been instructed to stay away from the tv and newspapers. Your instincts about not going after her were wrong.
    SamJoe the (non) plumber seems pretty much the same. His being lionized as a man of the people, a regular (non)Joe has backfired. He was picked by some comapaign people who read about him on Drudge. The McCain campaign is desperate for short term tactics that take up media space. They haven’t figured out that fact-checking is instantaneous and we won’t get fooled again. And to be honest, what McCain has done to both Palin and Wurtzelbocher is pretty unfair. Neither one needs the public scrutiny at the level they are getting. Neither should have been shoved in front of a national audience.

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    Tahoe, the flat tax thing is more complicated than “why can’t we just have a flat tax?”
    Aristotle brings this issue up in the Politics. He proposes collective dining — should every person bring the same amount of food, or should it be based on the amount of food a household can realistically supply?
    We are all equal in consuming government services, so we should all be equal in producing government revenue. That’s one version of equality. BUT, maybe we’re not all so equal. Maybe wealthy people actually need more services in order to protect their wealth, and so should foot more of the bill. Maybe wealthy people have benefited more from the stability that the governing structures proved and so should foot more of the bill. It’s worth thinking about.
    On the other side, maybe taxing low-resourced consumers of government services undermines their ability to function. Maybe, since low-resourced people are structurally demanded by many economies, they’ve already been heavily “taxed” merely by being impoverished. Their impoverishment helps keep inflation low, guarantees a supply of nannies and gardeners and security guards and preschool teachers. That’s public service. Why tax people beyond that?
    There is also the issue of the size of the flat tax — it would have to be HUGE to allow government to function.
    (The real underlying issue here is to move from indirect taxation to direct taxation. If you see a direct 40% levy on your income, you’ll rebel and demand an end to government services. But then you’ll have to pay privately for those services and you’ll be broke, but you’ll feel rhetorically better because at least the money is going to an honest corporation instead of to a dishonest government. Go figya! Goldman Sachs, anyone???)
    There are, as well, the issues of the declining marginal value of the dollar and the notion that spending a million dollars on a boat is different from spending a million dollars on cancer survival. We might want to treat expenses differently because they really do mean different things.
    So I would suggest that it might well be okay for the tax code to admit that we have different income levels, different kinds of income, different expenses, different abilities to pony up. A progressive taxation regime along with bunches of deductions for differing circumstances is pretty smart all in all.
    To close with Aristotle, he makes a distinction between equality and equity. We’re all equal under the law (the same), BUT the EQUITABLE goes beyond judgments of the law and suggests that we need WISDOM to discern when the law speaks too generally. We are individuals staring in the faces of the impenetrable general law. The equitable intervenes for us.
    Sam/Joe the (non) plumber, then, should think about equitable treatment rather than equal treatment.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Joe The Plumber Questioned Obama’s Tax Plan. He Must Be A Racist”
    Well, you jackass, how are we supposed to interpret his reference to Sammy Davis and tap dancing?
    In all honesty, this whole “Joe the Plumber” and “Joe Sixpack” schpiel is elitist and condescending. If you are going to talk about tradesmen, then call them tradesmen, and skip all the “see spot run” stupidity such as these ridiculous monickers like “Joe Sixpack” or “Joe the Plumber”. Screw Palin and her “Joe Sixpack”
    horseshit. Middle America is comprised of more than a bunch of beer swilling pot bellied Homer Simpsons glued to thier TVs hoping to see a ten car pile-up at Darlington.
    And this yahoo Joe the plumber is a liar. Its really that simple, Tahoe. The damned fool stood before the American public and concocted a self-important fantasy. So why in God’s name does he deserve respect, civility, or a role in the political spectrum? He should have the brains to shut the hell up and go roto-root another blocked drain.

    Reply

  12. Tahoe Editor says:

    Joe The Plumber Questioned Obama’s Tax Plan. He Must Be A Racist
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/59b7fc89-cdaa-406d-875e-79cf06388f48.html
    Matt says: “I think it’s off the mark to focus on this guy — that’s actually what he’s there for, for all of us to focus on him like imbeciles.”
    Matt is spot on. The RNC wants the left to tear Joe The Plumber to shreds, just like they did Palin. It’s the shiny-object distraction.
    Re: “how this series of events was orchestrated”, it went something like this:
    Barack Obama walked into Joe The Plumber’s neighborhood with cameras in tow and told Joe The Plumber and the nation that he wants to take Joe The Plumber’s money and redistribute it as he sees fit. Colossally stupid on BO’s part, but not fatal either, unless the Left spends the next two weeks in a frenzied obsession with destroying Joe The Plumber. If you want BO to win, stop talking about “spreading the wealth around.”
    Yes, Joe The Plumber is a McCain supporter and has the Keating 5 connection and thinks Obama is a socialist. But the story is that Obama walked into his neighborhood and said, “I’m gonna take your money and spread it around.”
    Lefties guffawing that Joe The Plumber doesn’t have a license and has a $1,000 tax lien (what American could possibly connect with that?!) and could never possibly make a quarter-million dollars a year — because of course he’s just a stupid butt-crack plumber — are falling for it all over again.
    Americans don’t want to be told that they will be punished if they succeed — even if they are nowhere near the success they aspire to.
    Obama is so close to winning. We already have a progressive tax scheme. Why is he promising government checks for people who don’t pay taxes while promising to soak the rich?
    Why can’t we just have a flat tax? If he were offering a flat tax or at least decided it’s no smooth move to ratchet up the class warfare from his position, he might stand a chance.
    Questions is right. You don’t put down Joe The Plumber by saying he’ll never make $250,000 a year because he’s a stupid butt-crack plumber. And you don’t tell him you’re going to punish him on the outside chance that he’ll ever get there. Chalk this up to another boneheaded campaign moment for Barack. If the lefties spend the next two weeks talking about how BO is “not a socialist” and anyway some “spreading of the wealth around” might be a good thing — suddenly the Change� of the past two years will be Change� to socialism. If you want BO in the White House, then shut the fuck up about Joe The Plumber and focus on how to keep voters from thinking BO is a socialist wealth redistributor.
    The talking heads said the other day that the Left MIGHT get away with annihilating Joe The Plumber if he was in Montana. But Ohio, not so much. Take down JTP, and you take down BO.

    Obama meets Joe The Plumber
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/7b6d717e-6b68-4084-ac43-7c0a03c9f9f9.html
    Guess which person is being scrutinized by the media?
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/c2097dd7-0778-4c56-b962-7651a4cb8f80.html
    Joe The Plumber Questioned Obama’s Tax Plan. He Must Be A Racist
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/59b7fc89-cdaa-406d-875e-79cf06388f48.html

    Media, Dems Go To War on Joe
    SIX-TERM Sen. Joe Biden’s got some nerve going after citizen Joe the Plumber. But the entrenched politician from Delaware had no choice. Obama-Biden simply can’t tolerate an outspoken citizen successfully painting the Democratic ticket as socialist overlords. And so a dirty, desperate war against Joe Wurzelbacher is on.
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/10172008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/smears_from_a_sewer_133980.htm

    Reply

  13. DonS says:

    Just for the record, we ‘are’ talking about Joe the Plumber here, pretty much a fraudulent shill, not someone who actually is representative of the working class.
    My less than rosy outlook is based on a fear that the culture wars . . . the Reagan, Atwater, Gingrich, Falwell, Santorum, Palin, Fox news fear and hate follies . . . have all too successfuly found fertile ground in the media-numbed American psyche. I fear those uncritical psyches are not confused, but convinced, and no manner of pitying their poor benighted souls (to put it in most negative terms) will do any good.
    Weimar, here we come.

    Reply

  14. Linda says:

    You don’t win people’s heart, minds, and votes by making fun of them and looking down on them and applying negative adjectives to them.
    Republicans think all Democrats sound alike.
    Most of them are good people. I wouldn’t put Joe/Sam in that category as apparently he hasn’t paid his taxes. And like it or not, they are equal to each of us in that they all get one vote.
    (assuming voting system is fair–but let’s not go there on this thread please.)

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    (Sage,
    FYI, the line “there’s no there there” isn’t a saying. It’s a line from a Gertrude Stein poem and I believe the reference is to Pittsburgh.)

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  16. Sage says:

    Perhaps you will know that I am from Minnesota: Joe reminds me of “our own” Jesse Ventura.. self aggrandizing and no substance. As the saying goes, “there is no there, there.”
    Much the same for the GOP these days.

    Reply

  17. pc says:

    Why is it that republicans all look and sound alike? Balding and racist to the core. Oh, and that little extra Keating connection thrown in for added measure. Nice, McCain.

    Reply

  18. Arsene says:

    Joe the Plumber would fit nicely on Faux News. He’s as qualified as George W Hoover was to be president.
    David Talbot had an article on how Iran was providing funds to the Alaska independence Party that Palin has links to.

    Reply

  19. DonS says:

    Underlying a lot of Joe’s predigested rant was substantial racism and xenophobia, and you didn’t have to listen to hard to hear it.
    Kris Kristofferson’s line some 30+ years back says it well: “Everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on”.
    This is greedy/deluded America’s nasty underbelly when, in social development terms, the “revolution of rising expectations”/relative deprivation proves a chimera.
    And, no, its not “a lot of good” people who fall into this trap, unless by “good” you credit Americans as being terminally gullible. It requires an abrogation of the idea of social responsibility in favor of unfettered personal gain.
    Its displaced anger projected both up and down the food chain. Only, you know, it wouldn’t be projected upward if the credit bubble kept on expanding. But it will always be projected downward because this is the way the greed code works; crawling over the backs of those you assume must be competing for your piece of the riches.

    Reply

  20. Nobcentral says:

    Wait, this suprises you? Really?

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh come on. This jackass fabricated a load of dishonest crap in an attempt to discredit Obama’s policy advocations. If the buffoon is willing to stand before America and openly concoct self agrandizing fantasies, he certainly is open game for derision.
    Besides, he is truly the perfect symbolic mascot for this whole ludicrous charade.

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  22. Linda says:

    Questions pretty much nails it, but it’s not fantasy or even delusion to Sam/Joe who is in his thirties, probably grew up there not very well educated in public schools and has known nothing but Reaganomics.
    A few facts from Wikipedia based on 2000 census are interesting. Holland is a suburb village/town of Toledo with about 1300 people. Toledo is 70% Caucasian while Holland is 95%–very different demographics than cities in NE Ohio. In 2000 median family income for Toledo was around $41,000, and Holland was wealtheir at $45,500.
    Owens Corning and Dana Corporation are the only Fortune companies headquartered in Toledo any more. It used to have big Jeep factory and many other business that made auto parts. Joe/Sam probably didn’t even have the opportunity to get a good union job with benefits and overtime because they’ve been gone for decades. The biggest industry now in Toledo, like Pittsburgh, is health care, mostly providing care to people who live there.
    The business he is thinking of buying isn’t doing that well if he’s making $40,000 as 40 hour week at $20 (pretty low for a plumber to be paid) would be $41,600. He isn’t working 10-12 hour days, 5 days a week.
    Indeed business he wants to buy isn’t booming, and it is his far out of reach American dream. He really believes all the things he said yesterday morning. He doesn’t understand the principles of either progressive or regressive taxes or really anything about a social contract.
    He mentioned that he has parents but wants to opt out of Social Security and invest the money himself. But he wouldn’t know how to do that well. And he surely couldn’t support his parents who probably have Social Security and pension. He really believes that all taxes are bad and unpatriotic.
    Now he’s confused because he is learning that actually Democrats and Obama are better for him than Republicans and McCain.
    Don’t make fun of him as he is very much like a lot of good people in Ohio (Kansas, etc) who voted for Reagan, Bush, etc. Take him very seriously because I still worry about how Ohio will go.

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    SamJoe the Plumber is the personification of a deeply held American fantasy that there are people out there who want to steal everything that matters from ME (whoever “me” is). It’s a Hobbesian fear (yup, that again!) of loss of life and property — which are the same thing. It’s taken up in Lacanian psychoanalysis as the theft of enjoyment (to the best of my very limited time with Lacan’s work). It’s all over American culture — some piece I came across this morning about the California Nurses Assn. — at some Repub rally, it was announced that Obama wants to steal YOUR tax money the way people steal flat screen tvs — the CNA had a van at the rally grading the candidates on health care. The rally goers were mightily pissed. So THOSE people (and we know who they are) are going to steal money, tvs, life, safety, identity (all the barbecues on the front lawn of the White House). This panic about theft is deep.
    So here’s SamJoe the not-plumber who ONE DAY WILL be a)a plumber b)a capitalist owner with a huge income (he’s apparently in the 40K range right now — not a ton of money and the month is probably hard to get through c) free of all debt and hassle and government — Obama threatens all of these possible future identities even if he might make the present easier to bear.
    We don’t, though, live in the present, we live in future fantasy. When I’m really rich, when I’ve MADE IT, I won’t want to pay taxes. And of course, I will make it.
    Fantasy isn’t very pragmatic, is mostly delusional, but is at the same time what gets us through the day. Don’t sell the fantasy short. Better to show how a more progressive politics actually supports the fantasy than to say “Hey, you’re deluded.”
    And as a side note, some group in CA (?) is distributing “food stamp” “bills” with a picture of Obama and watermelon…. So THEY are going to steal OUR money to buy watermelons and replace white food with THAT stuff. The distibuters claim not to have known about the stereotype — we just thought of it as food, so they say.
    Even our regular food will be stolen if Obama wins. Nothing will be the same. This is the world of fantasy fear that one, and one’s practices, are so valuable that there are always people ready to take it all away.

    Reply

  24. Zathras says:

    I can understand why Steve Clemons takes some flak for being such a creature of the world inside the Beltway. He’d be pretty upset if someone he knew from that world were jumped on in this way, but this guy’s a nobody from Toledo and doesn’t know anyone he knows, which makes it OK.
    I don’t have a problem with politics being a rough game at this level, but let’s exercise some common sense. This contractor is not a professional campaign operative, and he’s not a candidate. He’s just a citizen with some views on politics who got drawn into the national spotlight for a few minutes by the Presidential candidates. To do and say what he did, he didn’t have to be a saint, and his professional credentials aren’t relevant either. I understand that what he said to Sen. Obama was marginally awkward for Obama’s campaign, but so what? The race isn’t close, and the guy isn’t even endorsing Obama’s opponent. Leave him alone.

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  25. Carroll says:

    According to the Politico..
    “Joe” not only has no license, he works for a plumbing company that only grosses 150k a year. He himself makes 40K or less and he has a $1,800 tax lien against him for unpaid taxes. So he really doesn’t believe in paying taxes…any at all evidently.

    Reply

  26. carol says:

    Good old Joe the plumber apparently knows folks from the Keating 5 who…guess who…used to “pal around with”…..yes you guessed it John McCain.
    Isn’t that ironic that McCain is using this guy in his jokes…and here is Joe knowing some folks that John McCain knew when he was involved in that Keating 5 scandal.

    Reply

  27. Matt says:

    Shoot, that’s not the right video. I guess they haven’t put it online yet. Anyway, they basically called “Joe the Plumber” John McCain’s imaginary friend…

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  28. Matt says:

    I think it’s off the mark to focus on this guy – that’s actually what he’s there for, for all of us to focus on him like imbeciles. It’s straight out of the Nixon playbook.
    Instead, what needs investigation is how this series of events was orchestrated and allowed to materialize into a news event. This must have taken 4-5 days of immediate preparation, prior planning, and the cooperation of numerous parties. The internet is central to this whole charade, and yes, it’s a redux of the Disney movie Matt Damon joked about. If the media tricks are laid bare, the fabrication of this guy’s posturing, and possibly of his identity, is sure to come out of the woodwork.
    By the way did anyone see the SNL Weekend Update they just aired? Here it is:
    http://tinyurl.com/4v69xj

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    “My understanding of this is that Joe’s income is nowhere near
    $250k, but he’s concerned how Obama would tax him if he gets
    there.”
    If he gets there?
    A worried optimist then?
    Funny. Now he`s a celebrity on a planetary scale, so he`ll
    certainly earn much more than 250k.
    Thus he has even more reasons to bash Obama, who will tax
    him severely. Irony of life.

    Reply

  30. Kindlingstick says:

    Joe the Plumber? More like Joe the Keating Family Operative
    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/joe-plumber-more-joe-keating-family-
    [keywords: McCain Joe the Plumber McCain CBS News Schieffer McCain Wurzelbacher Keating McCain GOP Keating Five Joe Six-Pack Keating Republican Wurzelbacher McCain CBS News GOP Schieffer $250,000 Keating McCain Joe the Plumber Ohio battleground Holland Ohio $250,000 Joe Six-Pack McCain $250,000 Keating Joe Six-Pack over-used populist trick Samuel Wurzelbacher Schieffer CBS News Keating]

    Reply

  31. Spunkmeyer says:

    My understanding of this is that Joe’s income is nowhere near
    $250k, but he’s concerned how Obama would tax him if he gets
    there. This seems like the old saying of killing your parents and
    pleading for mercy from the court because you’re an orphan.

    Reply

  32. Paul Norheim says:

    “The poor oaf had no idea he was facing a nation when he
    fabricated his own importance.”
    Not only a nation. He`s on TV news everywhere in the world,
    including Norway.

    Reply

  33. Bill R. says:

    Off topic from the subject of Joe (real name is Sam) the non-plumber.
    In tomorrow’s edition the Washington Post is endorsing Barack Obama:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/16/AR2008101603436_pf.html
    “Mr. Obama’s temperament is unlike anything we’ve seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.”

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    No problem, if he’s got a butt crack odds are Uncle Johnnie considers him a certified plumber.
    However, I suggest he hitch those trousers up a knotch if Joe Six Pack has had a twelve pack.
    The poor oaf had no idea he was facing a nation when he fabricated his own importance. Now he’s surrounded by people that see him as a bullshitting buffoon. The irony is that he dovetails in so perfectly with this winking wacko Palin. What a perfectly apropos mascot this guy is for the McCain campaign.

    Reply

  35. Whskyjack says:

    Steve
    The plumber is the hired help. All I need is one and I can have a whole crew work under him. I only need him to pull permits.
    Jack

    Reply

  36. Matt says:

    The only person who “vetted” this guy was Matt Drudge!

    Reply

  37. jon says:

    You don’t need a plumbing license to do plumbing. You need to
    work under the supervision of a licensed plumber, which is
    probably the current owner of the firm.
    There’s a lot of tantalizing rumor and innuendo about him floating
    around right now. None of which, regardless of accuracy, is likely
    to benefit McCain in any way.

    Reply

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