Obviously, the big draw in Leesburg this morning was Tito the Builder, aka Tito Munoz, aka defended of Joe the Plumber. If you had ever wanted to hear a crowd of Northern Virginian White People chant “Tito! Tito! Tito!” who weren’t looking for a Jackson brother encore, well, you missed your chance. But I managed to grab a few minutes with the guy after the crowds departed — after he finished posing for pictures and signing bumperstickers — and he was perhaps the most articulate and on-message McCain spokesman I’ve ever talked to that is still talking to the press. Transcript after the jump. I’ve sent the audio to HQ to see if they can post it as well.
He as actually quite thoughtful and, despite his “Solinksy” bumpersticker, apparently pretty well-informed. At least about Joe the Plumber. His views on Constitutional issues were, while not standard, passionately presented. His views on plumbing were all of the above:
I have a construction license. I do heavy construction. I do a lot of piping work. Sewer pipe. But I don’t need a plumbing license to do the work. So you guys are going to extremes to silence a person and I think that’s dangerous to do because you are stealing my first amendment.
UPDATE: Audio here.
We join Tito in mid-interview…
Tito: The principles of Adams, the principles of Madison, the principles of Jefferson. Those principles are the foundation of this nation
Local TV Reporter: What are those principles?
The principles of freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All to the individual… not to the community, and not to the individual being a part of the community
Me: How did you get here today? When did the campaign contact you?
Tito: Well, uhm, I saw the — are you a reporter too?
Me: Ana, hi, with Time Magazine.
Tito: Ah! What has happen is, I think, most of the media has been a little, kind of biased, and in that regard I thought that going after Joe the Plumbers’ personality or his life was something shameful from the media. I think that was something you guys shouldn’t have done. Because Joe the Plumber is not going to be our president. Joe the Plumber is just going to be Joe the Plumber. Just like me, I’m going to be “Tito the construction guy.” I’m not going to be running the country. McCain and Obama are going to be running the country.
But the media was a little hard on finding details to destroy his life. And that reminds me of Chavez. That reminds me of what Chavez does in Venezuela. And that reminds me of how Chavez uses the media in Venezuela to attack his opposition and it also reminds me of the way Chavez controls his propaganda to control the power and it also reminds me of the Obama campaign. And it also reminds me of Congressmen like Murtha who is telling people that they are racist. That’s not right. That is sometimes the same message Chavez uses in Venezuela with the ethnicity and the indigenous population and the colored people there. And I think that’s very dangerous when a politician uses those clashes in order to accomplish a goal which is the power. And we the people cannot let when he uses and manipulates the system in order to maintain the ultimate power which is everything.
Me: So, did you contact the campaign or did they contact you?
Tito: Well I told them that I would support Sen. McCain in whatever they need me and they have asked me a couple of things to help and I am going to help as much as I can.
Me: I saw your interaction with the reporter from Mother Jones
Tito: With David Corn
Me: I’ve had a couple of fights with David Corn myself. How do you think that went?
Tito: I don’t know, because I did not see the video. I did not know what he would write. But I will tell you something. People… I am not an intellectual. I am not an intellectual. I am not a bureaucrat. I am not also an elitist. I am just a hardworking person who believes in America and who believes in the American dream. And for that I want nothing less for me than for any other person in the way that some people who has quote-unquote a degree in a particular science thinks about a construction worker or thinks about Joe the Plumber and they diminish the person to a point which is not good. That is something people should not do..
Me: You talked about how rights are something the government cannot take away.
Tito: Correct. Because what happens is if the media attack an individual like Joe the Plumber, and the individual cannot ask a question, because be of the feeling he has of being exposed to all this scrutiny then what you guys are doing is inflicting in our First Amendment, meaning that we will lose our First Amendment — you guys are oppressing our ability to ask a question when we are not relevant in the game or in the politics. When we are just citizens. And that is something you guys have to look at in a different perspective. Because the way you have to act is, you know, impartial, and being going to the point which is: it’s Obama, it’s John McCain, it’s not me, it’s not Joe the Plumber, it’s not anybody else
British reporter guy: You said you met John McCain at a rally
Tito: I didn’t meet him. I went to the rally, I dressed like this, I had a construction worker sign and they put me in the background
Mike Madden, Salon: Just when you got there, they said, come stand in the background?
Tito: Yes, come stand in the background And then I when I finished and talked to the media because I was very angry with the media… one of the questions is: what is relevant that Joe the Plumber has a license. Do you know about licenses? Do you know? You first have to find out about us. You have find out if he really needs a license to do the work or he doesn’t.
I have a construction license. I do heavy construction. I do a lot of piping work. Sewer pipe. But I don’t need a plumbing license to do the work. So you guys are going to extremes to silence a person and I think that’s dangerous to do because you are stealing my First Amendment.