ABC News’ David Wright reports: His 15 minutes of fame are officially over, but Joe the Plumber seems not to have gotten the memo.
Samuel Wurzelbacher is now in Israel as Joe the War Correspondent, hoping to turn the notoriety he gained during the 2008 campaign into an international franchise for a conservative online outfit called Pajamas TV.
The toughly posed question is, after all, what made him famous in the first place. Republican John McCain practically hinged his entire campaign on a question Wurzelbacher happened to ask Barack Obama.
But it appears that in a war zone, the plumber is out of his depth.
“Shoot, I got a lot of questions, I’m just trying to find the right one,” he admitted, as he spoke with an Israeli police spokesman in front of a pile of Hamas shrapnel.
Visiting the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which is close enough to Gaza for Hamas rockets to have become a deadly nuisance, Wurzelbacher explained a conflict that has vexed presidents, prime Ministers and Nobel laureates –- not to mention generations of Palestinians and Israelis — as though it were a particularly tricky plumbing job.
"The people of Sderot can’t do normal things day to day, like get soap in their eyes in the shower, for fear a rocket might come in," he said. "I’m sure they’re taking quick showers."
Asked about Israel’s ban on foreign journalists entering the Gaza Strip, Wurzelbacher made it clear he has no desire to see the front lines himself or to investigate both sides of the story.
He said: "To be honest I don’t think journalists should be anywhere around war. You guys report where our troops are at, you report what’s happening day to day, you make a big deal out of it. I think it’s asinine.
"I like back in World War I and World War II, where you’d go to the theater and you’d see our troops on screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for them," he said. "I think media should be abolished from reporting."
The New York Daily News was quick to point out, "It seems he skipped a key chapter in the newsman’s manual." After his first big day on the job, Joe the War Correspondent didn’t bother to file a story.