Joe the Plumber, meet Joe the hedge fund manager.
The U.S. presidential election campaign’s version of class warfare took another turn yesterday, with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Democratic presidential nominee and beneficiary of vast hedge fund industry donations, alleging that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Republican nominee, is on the side of hedge fund managers.
“Let’s be clear who John McCain is fighting for,” Obama told a huge rally in Leesburg, Va., yesterday. “He’s not fighting for Joe the Plumber. He’s fighting for Joe the hedge fund manager. He’s fighting for Joe the CEO.”
Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio plumber, became a focal point of the final presidential debate between McCain and Obama after Wurzelbacher confronted Obama about his tax plan while the latter was campaigning in his Holland, Ohio, neighborhood. McCain has argued that Obama’s tax plan, which the Illinois senator says will raise taxes on those who make more than $250,000, but cut it for those making less, is an example of what he calls Obama’s socialism.
The debut of Joe the hedge fund manager in Virginia shows the trouble facing the McCain campaign: The Old Dominion State has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 44 years; polls show Obama with a small but clear lead in the state.
The McCain campaign shot back that Obama and the Democrats have enjoyed millions of dollars in donations from hedge fund employees. During the current election cycle, Obama has raised almost twice as much from people working in the industry than has McCain. Of course, Obama has raised almost twice as much as McCain from all sources.