It seems that just as McCain spent little time looking into the qualifications of Gov. Sarah Palin, he may have jumped to fast when hitching the fate of his campaign to the working man's new idol known as "Joe the Plumber".
Story of Joe the Plumber springs many leaks.
(10-16) 19:15 PDT --
A couple of things about Joe the Plumber, the icon of the authentic working-class voter who was declared the "winner" of the final presidential debate.
His first name isn't really Joe. It's Samuel.
He's not really a plumber - at least, not a licensed one.
He's concerned about increased taxes - but hasn't paid his own income taxes.
And he's not exactly just a guy from Ohio.
He's lived in Arizona ... and Alaska.
And as for that unscripted moment that ended up on Fox News, the one at a rally where he questioned Sen. Barack Obama about the American Dream - and whether he'd have to pay higher taxes under Obama's plan?
Seems Joe, who is actually Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, told the conservative Web site familysecuritymatters.org that catching the Democratic presidential candidate off guard "was actually my intent."
"Looks like there's a crack in Joe the Plumber's story," said Bob Mulholland, the Democratic party activist and adviser, after some details of Wurzelbacher's life emerged Thursday.
In an election that has starred all sorts of celebrities - remember Paris Hilton? Britney Spears? - Wurzelbacher got his 15 minutes of fame after being referenced 26 times during Wednesday's presidential debate, 21 times by Sen. John McCain.
On Thursday, McCain even happily declared "Joe the Plumber" to be "the winner" of the debate.
Not so fast.
"Joe the Plumber's story sprang a few leaks Thursday," said an Associated Press story.
That's after the AP, bloggers, investigators and librarians - and The Chronicle - turned up court documents and birth records.
For one, Wurzelbacher's expressed concern about paying more taxes looked a bit tarnished with the revelation that he owes Ohio about $1,200 in personal income taxes, according to the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records. And there's a 2007 civil filing that shows a record for a $1,200 owed to a creditor, St. Charles Mercy Hospital.
So Wurzelbacher has an active lien on his property filed in January 2007, records from the Ohio Department of Taxation show.
The Toledo Blade, examining Lucas County Building Inspection records, reported that his employer, the A.W. Newell Corp., "does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license."
"Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell's license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work," the newspaper said. "He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio- which means he's not a plumber."
What else did Americans learn about Wurzelbacher this week?
Among the factoids gleaned from state and county records:
-- He is registered as a Republican, and voted in the state's GOP primary in March, county elections records show. But he was previously registered, dating back to 2007, in the Natural Law Party.
-- He has lived in McCain's home state of Arizona - in both Mesa and Tucson.
-- He lived in GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska - in North Pole, from September 1992 to July 1993.
And as comic Bill Maher pointed out, in his 15 minutes of fame, Wurzelbacher has already done more interviews than Palin.
E-mail Carla Marinucci at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looks like it was all just a setup.