Tito the Builder jumps into politics 

Tito Munoz, the Virginia man who played a small role in the late days of the 2008 McCain campaign as "Tito the Builder," is forming a political action committee and exploring a run for the Virginia General Assembly.

Munoz came to the public's attention when he attended a McCain rally in late October 2008 in Woodbridge, Virginia.  The owner of a small commercial construction business, Munoz came to the event in work clothes, wearing a hard hat covered with McCain-Palin stickers, an orange high-visibility vest, and a sign that said CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FOR MCCAIN.

Munoz wore construction clothes to express his sympathy for Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio man better known as "Joe the Plumber."  Munoz felt that Wurzelbacher -- to whom Obama made the famous comment that, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody" -- had been savaged by the press for expressing skepticism about Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making more than $250,000.

After the rally, Munoz, a naturalized U.S. citizen who is originally from Colombia, sought out reporters. "I support McCain, but I've come to face you guys because I'm disgusted with you guys," he said.  "Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber?  Joe the Plumber has an idea.  He has a future.  He wants to be something else.  Why is that wrong?  Everything is possible in America.  I made it.  Joe the Plumber could make it even better than me….I was born in Colombia, but I was made in the U.S.A." (You can read my account of the event here.)

Munoz's statements came to the attention of McCain and Sarah Palin, who dubbed him "Tito the Builder" in later stump speeches.  In the years since the campaign, Munoz has founded a group called the Conservative Hispanic Coalition, hosted a Spanish-language radio program, "America Eres TU" (America Is You), and been active in the Tea Party and the Prince William County, Virginia Republican Committee.  He also serves on the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development, appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell.

Now, Munoz, who lives in northern Virginia's Prince William County, is forming an organization called TitoPAC and exploring a run for the legislature.  "I came to America for a better life and more opportunities to succeed," he says in a statement to accompany his announcement, which is planned for Thursday.  "While working with my Conservative Hispanic Coalition, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and the Tea Party, it became clear to me that there are many others who agree that government very often is an impediment to achievement and success.  Whether a natural born citizen or a legal immigrant, every Virginian and American deserves the same access I had: to be made in the United States of America."

About The Author

Byron York


Byron York is the Examiner’s chief political correspondent. His column appears Tuesdays and Fridays. He blogs throughout the week at Beltway Confidential.

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