"Average Joes" Who Were Thrust Onto the Political Stage

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  • Big Bird, Sesame Street
  • Richard Hayes, Mitt Romney
  • Sandra Fluke
  • Velma Hart, Barack Obama
  • Joseph Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber, Barack Obama, John McCain

Joseph "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher

In 2008, plumbing contractor Joe Wurzelbacher asked then-Sen. Obama point blank if his policies would raise taxes for small businesses, perhaps becoming the most well-known, small-town surrogate of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. Earning the nickname "Joe the Plumber," Wurzelbacher was used often as an example of the millions of small business owners that would be hurt by Obama's policies. 

(Photo: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)