Things really aren’t going well for John McCain, but then he has only himself to blame. Take Joe the Plumber, whom McCain mentioned more than 20 times in Wednesday’s debate. For the record, Joe’s name is Sam, and he’s not a plumber.

McCain repeatedly claimed that Barack Obama would raise the faux-plumber’s taxes. Joe/Sam himself has been concerned about the possibility of a tax increase, but it seems that he would actually be entitled to a tax cut if Obama got his way.

It turns out that Sam/Joe may have good reason to be concerned about taxes, as he has had to deal with two liens, one outstanding.

Clearly, Joe/Sam is not someone with a tremendous command of tax matters.

It’s this kind of non-vetting and ignorance of the facts that led McCain to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Although, as Andrew Sullivan points out, Joe has now done more press conferences — one — than Sarah, so as far as McCain sidekicks are concerned, this is progress.

New York Times:

One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest ranch house near Toledo thinking about how to expand his plumbing business. But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block this weekend to ask about his taxes, he set himself on a path to being the newest media celebrity — and, like other celebrities, found himself under scrutiny.

Turns out that “Joe the Plumber,” as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, may run a plumbing business but he is not a licensed plumber. His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes a bit in back taxes.

The premise of his question to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts.

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