Samuel Wurzelbacher, the GOP House candidate better known as "Joe the Plumber," accused Vice President Biden of perpetrating class warfare by suggesting that plumbers don't have the requisite experience to be president.
"I definitely have a problem with it," Wurzelbacher told The Hill.
"Your job as president is to promote the common good. That doesn't mean the private-equity guys are bad guys. They're not," Biden said. "But that no more qualifies you to be president than to be a plumber."
Biden quickly reassured his audience that he meant no disrespect to the profession.
"And by the way, there are a lot of smart plumbers," he said. "All kidding aside, it's not the same job requirement."
In an interview shortly after Biden finished speaking, Wurzelbacher said Biden's comments were divisive and amounted to pandering.
"I have a question to Biden: Why does he think he can decide who can be president and who can't? It very much seems like he's practicing class warfare," he said.
Biden seemed to preempt claims that Obama's reelection campaign is waging class warfare in his address, maintaining that the campaign's focus on the middle class is neither a class argument nor a political argument.
“Our focus on the middle class is not a class argument, nor is it a political argument," "Our focus on the middle class is a reflection on the fundamental economic story of the journey of the history of this country," Biden said. "That's what built this country.”
Wurzelbacher was an unknown plumber's assistant with no political background in 2008 when the McCain-Palin presidential campaign gave him the nickname "Joe the Plumber" and brought him on the campaign trail to symbolize blue-collar opposition to Democratic economic policies.
Two years later, Wurzelbacher is a Republican candidate for Congress challenging Rep. Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat who has served in the House for 15 terms.
Wurzelbacher said the Founding Fathers envisioned a nation where citizens could be represented by those who reflected their life experiences and values, not those of a separate political class. He called the focus on candidates' personal lives by both parties disgusting, and said comments such as Biden's have the effect of driving good people out of politics.
"We're supposed to be bringing people together," Wurzelbacher said. "He seems intent on strengthening his party, rather than strengthening America."
- This post was updated at 5:36 p.m.