America's Overnight Sensation Joe the Plumber Owes $1,200 in Taxes

The state of Ohio has a lien on Joe the Plumber for nearly $1,200 in taxes.

ByABC News via GMA logo
October 16, 2008, 8:29 AM

Oct. 16, 2008 — -- And the winner of the final presidential debate was Joe the Plumber.

The suddenly famous Joe the Plumber, whose real name is Sam Joe Wurzelbacher, was invoked 23 times by John McCain and Barack Obama as they battled for the hearts and minds of voters during Wednesday night's debate.

"It floored me. It's not something I expected ever," Wurzelbacher said in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America." "My son is digging it. It's kind of neat."

Wurzelbacher has become the focal point of the presidential election because of his objections to Obama's plan to boost taxes on people who earn more than $250,000. Ironically, the plumber currently has an income level that would make him eligible for Obama's proposed tax cut rather than the tax increase.

Wurzelbacher said he didn't give any interviews before Wednesday's debate because he was busy fixing a water main break at a gas station and "I was muddy and soaking wet."

Wurzelbacher said he had a couple of plumbing jobs scheduled for today and hoped he would get more calls before the day was out.

He will need the money. Wurzelbacher's new notoriety has brought to light the fact that he owes nearly $1,200 in unpaid taxes.

"There is a judgment lien against him for nonpayment of income tax," Barb Losie, deputy clerk of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, told "The state files hundreds of liens a day. It means he owes that money."

Losie said Wurzelbacher owes $1,182 from January 2007, but no action has been taken against him outside of filing the lien.

"There is no judge pulled, there is no attorney assigned... There is a 99 percent chance he doesn't know about the lien, unless he did a credit report or was ready to pay his taxes," Losie said.

A second lien has been filed in the courhouse against Wurzelbacher for $1,261 that he apparently owes St. Charles Mercy Hospital. That lien was filed in March 2007.