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CNN's Zoraida Sambolin And 'Joe The Plumber' Clash Over Gay Comments On 'Early Start' (VIDEO)

Posted: 03/ 8/2012 9:10 am Updated: 03/ 9/2012 10:46 am

Cnn Joe The Plumber

CNN host Zoraida Sambolin managed to get on the wrong side of Samuel Wurzelbacher -- the man formerly known as "Joe the Plumber" who is now a Republican nominee for Congress -- on Thursday's "Early Start."

Wurzelbacher shot to fame after confronting then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. On Tuesday, he narrowly won a primary in Ohio, and will now challenge incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur.

His appearance on CNN got off to a rough start when Sambolin asked him what he'd been up to in the four years since. Wurzelbacher said that he'd "gone around building houses, taking trees down, plumbing, and speaking at different events around the country encouraging Americans to really get informed on who they're going to vote for."

"And what do you think or how do you think that qualifies you to run for Congress?" Sambolin asked.

"I guess my question would be, what qualifies the current politicians who are killing our country, Republicans and Democrats alike?" Wurzelbacher said. "I'm sorry, it just seems like a silly question."

After discussing his chances in his district, Sambolin brought up comments Wurzelbacher made in Christianity Today magazine in 2009, when he said, "Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that," and added that he wouldn't have gay people "anywhere near my children."

"Have you changed your positions on this at all?" she asked. Wurzelbacher immediately bridled. "So, this is TMZ," he said. "This isn't CNN is what you're saying."

"Of course, it's CNN," Sambolin said. "These are things you said that I would like to know if you still stand by them or if you have changed your positions on them." Wurzelbacher tried to move the conversation back to jobs, but Sambolin cut him off.

"What about these comments that you made? Do you stand by these comments?" she asked. "Listen, in my dictionary and in everyone's dictionary from the 1970s, the word queer did mean strange and unusual," he said. "There was no slur to it. Do you challenge that?"

"No, I'm just -- I'm questioning whether or not you still stand by these positions on homosexuality --" Zambolin said, as she and Wurzelbacher began talking over each other.

"You're trying to do a gotcha moment, it's quite obvious!" he said.

"No, no, it's not a gotcha moment," Sambolin said. "These are things that you said and I think people voting for you should have an opportunity to understand whether or not you have changed your positions on these two issues here."

Watch above: the conversation starts at 4:10.

CNN's lineup.
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  • 5-7 AM: Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin

    Banfield (shown here) and Sambolin are set to host a new morning show starting in early 2012).

  • Zoraida Sambolin

    Sambolin has been a host for a local Chicago station.

  • 7AM-9AM: Soledad O'Brien

    O'Brien is slated to start her new morning show in early 2012.

  • 9AM-11AM -- CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips

  • 11AM-1PM -- CNN Newsroom with Suzanne Malveaux

  • 1 PM- 2 PM: Randi Kaye

  • 2PM-4PM -- CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin

  • 4PM-6PM -- The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

  • 6PM-7PM -- John King USA

  • 7PM-8PM -- Erin Burnett

  • 8PM-9PM -- Anderson Cooper

  • 9PM-10PM -- Piers Morgan Tonight

  • 10PM-11PM -- Anderson Cooper (Repeat)

  • 6AM-7:30AM -- CNN Saturday Morning (Formerly with T.J. Holmes)

  • 7:30AM-8:00AM -- Sanjay Gupta MD

  • 8AM-9AM -- CNN Saturday Morning (Formerly with T.J. Holmes)

  • 9:30AM-10AM -- Your Bottom Line with Christine Romans

  • 10AM-1PM -- CNN Saturday Morning (Formerly with T.J. Holmes)

  • 1PM-2PM: Your Money

  • 2PM -- CNN Newsroom

  • 6AM-7:30AM -- CNN Sunday Morning (Formerly with T.J. Holmes)

  • 7:30AM-8:00AM -- Sanjay Gupta MD

  • 8AM-9AM -- CNN Sunday Morning (Formerly with T.J. Holmes)

  • 9AM-10AM: State of the Union with Candy Crowley

    Correction: A previous version of this slide misspelled Crowley's first name.

  • 10AM-11AM: Fareed Zakaria GPS

  • 11AM-12PM -- Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz

  • 12PM-1PM: State of the Union with Candy Crowley

    Correction: A previous version of this slide misspelled Crowley's first name.

  • 1PM-2PM -- Fareed Zakaria GPS

  • 2PM-3PM -- The Next List

  • 3PM-4PM -- Your Money

  • 4PM: CNN Newsroom

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |