Samuel ‘Joe the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher is lashing out at CNN for asking if he still holds negative views about LGBT people even though he is seeking to represent them in Congress.
On Thursday, Wurzelbacher appeared on CNN’s morning show to plug his campaign for office in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, but he apparently wasn’t prepared to be face questions about the homophobic comments in his past.
CNN host Zoraida Sambolin pointed to an interview with Christianity Today where he had said he would never let “queer” people around his children.
“I personally still think it’s wrong,” Wurzelbacher opined in 2009. “People don’t understand the dictionary—it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do—what man and woman are for.”
“I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual,” he added. “And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children.”
“Have you changed your positions on this at all?” Sambolin asked the GOP candidate on Thursday.
“So, this is TMZ. This isn’t CNN is what you’re saying?” Wurzelbacher complained. “No, I want everybody to have a job.”
“What about these comments that you made?” the CNN host pressed. “Do you stand by these comments?”
“Listen, in my dictionary and in everyone’s dictionary from the 1970s, the word queer did mean strange and unusual. There was no slur to it. Do you challenge that?” Wurzelbacher shot back. “Come on. You’re trying to do a gotcha moment, it’s quite obvious.”
“No, no, it’s not a gotcha moment,” Sambolin replied. “These are things that you said and I think people voting for you should have an opportunity to understand whether or not you have changed your positions on these two issues here.”
“I’m allowed to have my opinion as an American but it seems the left becomes very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state,” Wurzelbacher insisted. “My opinions are mine.”
Later on Thursday, he told Politico that CNN’s questions were “seventh grade shenanigans.”
Wurzelbacher, who became widely known as “Joe the Plumber” during the 2008 election, will face Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) in November. The Human Rights Campaign rated (PDF) the incumbent congresswomen at 83 percent in 2010 for her support of LGBT rights. She supported the repeal of the military’s ban on gay and lesbian service members, but has also voted in favor of the federal ban on same sex marriage.
Kaptur has defeated every Republican challenger in her district since 1983.
Watch this video from CNN’s Early Start, broadcast March. 8, 2012.