"It was Mr. McCain’s last chance to cast doubt on his opponent’s character and credentials, and he threw the kitchen sink at him — along with the plumber," writes Alessandra Stanley at the NYT.
Seems like everybody saw that joke and went for it. Except maybe Newsweek's Andrew Romano, who kind of just tripped over it in the dark:
Hey, Newsweek, make the punchline. Get Joe the Plumber working on that kitchen sink!The Kitchen Sink Debate
That loud clanging you heard coming from Hofstra University tonight? It was the sound of a kitchen sink soaring from stage right, where Republican nominee Sen. John McCain was seated, and landing stage left. Depending on where you sit and who you support, the unwieldy washbasin either knocked Sen. Barack Obama off his perch or shattered in pieces on the floor....
The answer was immediately apparent to anyone with a pulse. Over the course of 90 minutes--and I apologize if my count is not complete; my fingers can only type so fast--McCain accused Obama of being a) a craven wealth-spreader (at least eight times), b) an abject tax-raiser, especially on folks unfortunate enough to make $42,000 a year, c) a lily-livered coward who's never once stood up to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, d) a town-hall avoider, e) a public-financing flip-flopper, f) the most avid negative advertiser in American history, g) a befriender of "washed-up terrorist(s)," h) an enabler of "one of the greatest frauds in voter history" (which just so happens to be "destroying the fabric of American democracy"), i) an "eloquent" dissembler, j) a support of infanticide and, finally, k) a guy who wants to do all kinds of unspeakable things to someone named Joe the Plumber, up to and including raising his taxes, redistributing his money and fining him for choosing the wrong kind of health care. (No word yet on whether Obama plans to spit in Joe's beer when he's looking in the other direction.) After all that, McCain's claim that his "campaign is about getting this economy back on track, about creating jobs, about a brighter future for America" seemed like a punchline.
... And I kind of liked the Joe the Plumber concept--even if the senator spoiled it by saying "Joe the Plumber" 21 times and unleashing lines like this one: "You were going to put him in a higher tax bracket which was going to increase his taxes, which was going to cause him not to be able to employ people, which Joe was trying to realize the American dream." Who knew McCain's talking points were written in Swedish then fed through Google Translator.D'oh. Wrong punchline.