UK & World News
Election: Joe The Plumber Slams Barack Obama
The man who became known as Joe The Plumber after famously challenging Barack Obama at a campaign event in 2008 has told Sky News the President is making the US "even more divided".
Samuel Wurzelbacher, who prefers to go by his middle name, Joe, had a run-in with then-Senator Obama just outside Toledo, Ohio, when he asked whether his tax policies would harm his plans to buy a small plumbing business.
Mr Obama responded by saying: "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody" - a remark Republican rival John McCain seized to paint the Democratic candidate as a socialist.
Video of their chance meeting went viral and Mr Wurzelbacher emerged as a household name in the US, with the Republican campaign making him a symbol for middle-class America.
Four years on, and again on the outskirts of Toledo, Sky News had a chance encounter of our own with the 38-year-old, who has since worked as a conservative pundit and motivational speaker.
With days to go until the election, the economy and jobs are the big issues for Mr Wurzelbacher, who lives a short drive from Toledo, one of the main cities in this key battleground state.
He is siding with Mitt Romney partly because of his success in business. He believes the US has suffered with Mr Obama in charge of the economy and that the President's controversial healthcare reforms - known as Obamacare - have split the nation.
"In my neighbourhood alone six people have had to move and go out of state to work," he said.
"A lot of people are leaving this area in general just because there's no jobs here.
"This area of the country should be booming. But unfortunately, because of the high tax rate that we have and the regulations that are imposed upon us ... it's just too much, the private market can't compete with the federal government."
Mr Wurzelbacher is now running for Congress on a Republican ticket and his campaign is based on opposing Mr Obama's policies, which he says are hitting middle-class families with job cuts and high taxes as well as harming the country's long-term economy.
Mr Obama and Mr Romney have been focusing significant spending and manpower in recent weeks in Ohio, one of a handful of swing states where the election will be won or lost.
Mr Wurzelbacher was speaking to Sky News after showing up at a giveaway of signs promoting Mr Romney, would-be vice-president Paul Ryan, and conservative candidates in local elections.
It was staged by a mix of Republican Party-backers and Tea Party activists in Maumee, Lucas County, which is a Democratic-leaning area of the state but somewhere organisers say there is growing support for Mr Romney.
Hundreds of Romney placards - designed to go on show in front gardens - were handed over to a steady stream of passers-by in about an hour.
Some showed support by honking their horns as they drove past. A group of twenty-somethings who shouted, "Obama, Obama", from one car were quickly silenced when some of the organisers - most of them aged over 50 - echoed the chant in jest.
Truck driver and lifelong Republican Juan Gonzalez, 51, who lives in west Toledo, picked up some Romney-Ryan signs for his garden.
"I'm supporting Romney because this country is going in the wrong direction, and we're leaving a mess for our kids," he said. "In four years Obama's managed to completely ruin the economy."
Retired police officer Tom Gulch, 67, who lives in nearby Sylvania, said he was backing Mr Romney because he is "appalled" by Mr Obama, whom he suspects could be a Muslim. Or a communist.
"The man does not tell the truth," he said. "He's radical."
Volunteer organiser Larry Boday, 58, believes Mr Obama is an "anti-colonialist" who "thinks America has stolen our greatness from the rest of the world - and we need to pay for that in his eyes".
"He wants to run our economy into the ground and bring us down to the level of everyone else," he said.
"He wants to bring us down to the Third World, to make us pay for things we've done in the past.
"Everyone says his policies aren't working - but they are working to his end, to destroy America."
Tom Bridges, 31, an Obama-supporting Toledo barman watching from the sidelines, told Sky News: "People can put up as many Romney signs as they want in their yard. I know from what I hear at work, Obama will win here."