Joe the Plumber

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For whatever reason, I've never watched the entire Joe the Plumber tape. I should have. It really says a lot about Obama as a politician. I don't think John McCain could have handled that situation. I'm almost certain Sarah Palin couldn't do it. Barack looks him in the eye, is respectful but direct, and makes his point. This is the difference between true toughness and bluster. Watch the tape--it's why Obama is winning. It doesn't matter that Joe isn't voting for Obama. Other people are watching--people hear that "Joe the Plumber" crack from McCain, but unlike in the past they can go see the tape.. That's what the McCain guys never get--there are other people watching these exchanges besides their fans.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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