Joe the plumber is apparently not ready to leave the political stage now that the election is over.
While Samuel J. Wurzelbacher quashes speculation that he plans to run for Congress, he tells Newsmax.com, a conservative website, that he is launching a government watchdog group to keep President-elect Barack Obama and other politicians accountable.
In the telephone interview posted today, Wurzelbacher says rather being just one voice among 435 in Congress, he hopes to be more vocal and do more good with his watchdog group.
Because of the "unique position that I've been put in," he said, he has decided he "might better serve my fellow man" with watchdog group. (The group's brand-new website also promotes his forthcoming book, "Fighting for the American Dream.")
He said he's putting his dream of owning his own plumbing business on hold. "The nice thing about being a plumber, I can always go back to being a plumber," he says.
It was his plumbing business plan, of course, that first put him in the public eye. He confronted Obama while the Democrat was campaigning in northeast Ohio and said his tax plans would get in the way of his dream. Obama famously replied that with the struggling economy, he wanted to "spread the wealth."
Republican John McCain made that comment his major campaign theme for the final weeks and made Wurzelbacher a symbol of small business owners and would-be owners who he said would be hurt by Obama's plans.
Reporters quickly uncovered that Wurzelbacher wasn't actually licensed to be a plumber and owed back taxes.
In the interview, he said he was disappointed by the scrutiny and suggested that might discourage others from asking tough questions.
Wurzelbacher said he was also disappointed by McCain's loss on Tuesday and said it's now up to Obama to prove himself.
"He's got a lot of work to do," he said.
But he said the new watchdog group, he said, will show that he's not "in the tank" for McCain, or completely against Obama.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.