Palin Touts ‘Tito the Builder’

By Lee Speigel

Oct 27, 2008 11:39pm

ABC News’ Imtiyaz Delawala reports: Move over, “Joe the Plumber.” “Tito the Builder” is on the trail.

Campaigning across the state of Virginia today, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was introduced at three rallies by small business owners concerned about Sen. Barack Obama’s tax policies — including Tito Munoz, a northern Virginia construction company owner who has become a staple of Palin’s speeches across the country.

“Good morning, Virginia. I am Tito Munoz, but you can call me Tito the Builder. That’s what I have been called by two great Americans who stand for freedom, and they are John McCain and Sarah Palin,” Munoz told a crowd in Leesburg, VA this morning. “I am very proud to be here today. I’m proud to be an American citizen, a hard worker, a McCain-Palin supporter.”

Munoz met McCain at a rally last week in Woodbridge, VA where he complained to the Republican presidential nominee about what he considered the media’s unfair treatment of Joe Wurzelbacher, made famous in the final presidential debate as “Joe the Plumber.”

Since then, Palin has mentioned Munoz on the trail in most of her speeches, dubbing him “Tito the Builder” and using his story to expand her argument over the impact of Obama’s tax plans other everyday Americans.

Munoz, wearing an orange construction vest and yellow hard hat plastered with McCain campaign stickers, told the Leesburg crowd, “I have so much things to say about this great country. I have so much things that I want to say about free enterprise and hard work. Everything we stand for is in danger by higher taxes and less freedom. Everything we stand for is made stronger by people like you, like John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

Palin thanked Munoz for his introduction, joking that “not since the Jackson Five has the name Tito been used so often.”

Palin explained Munoz’ story of meeting McCain and his criticism of the treatment of Wurzelbacher, saying, “Tito wants to know, and I quote, he asked, he says, ‘Why the heck are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that so wrong?’”

“So Tito, a U.S. citizen who’s an immigrant from Colombia, he had this reminder for us,” Palin added. “He says, ‘Everything is possible in America. Joe the Plumber could make it even bigger than me.’ Tito said, ‘I was born in Colombia but I was made in the USA.’”

Today was the first time that Munoz appeared in person with Palin. Wurzelbacher has yet to appear on the campaign trail with McCain or Palin, but will campaign for the ticket in Ohio on Tuesday alongside former White House Budget Director Rob Portman.

At two outdoor rallies later in the day, Palin was introduced by other small business owners who expressed concerns over Obama’s tax proposals. Palin soldiered on through a steady rain that started falling halfway through her rally in Fredericksburg, VA this afternoon, and braved chilly temperatures in Salem, VA this evening.

“And Virginia, by the way, this is so beautiful out here tonight and I love the weather because it reminds me of home,” the Alaska native told a crowd of thousands filling a high school football stadium in Salem, VA this evening.

After her swing through Virginia, Palin will spend Tuesday campaigning across western Pennsylvania, holding two solo rallies and two joint rallies with McCain.

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