A Brief History
On October 16, 2008, Ohio handyman Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher was all the rage among supporters of Senator John McCain’s bid for the presidency. McCain mentioned this “average Joe” several times in the previous night’s debate, and “Joe the Plumber” became an instant national celebrity.
As it turned out, Wurzelbacher’s first name was not Joe, and he was not even a licensed plumber in Ohio. Wurzelbacher had told candidate Barack Obama that he was a plumber thinking about starting his own business, a patently false scenario. Joe the Plumber was not even employed at the time! McCain and his team adopted Wurzelbacher as the poster child for the “victim” of Obama’s proposed economic policies.
Obama had his own famous groupie, a young lady named Amber Lee Ettinger who worked as a model and actress that starred in a video as “Obama Girl.” Ettinger also became an instant celebrity and the subject and star of many parody videos, TV pieces, and even made records.
Question for students (and subscribers): What other non-candidates became famous during political campaigns? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
University Press. Barack Obama Book: The Biography of Barack Obama. Independently published, 2021.
Wurzelbacher, Samuel J. and Thomas Tabback. Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream. Pearlgate, 2009.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Rona Proudfoot from Lorain, Ohio of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber) and 2008 United States presidential candidate John McCain in a joint campaign appearance in Elyria, Ohio, U.S., is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
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