You could almost see reporters, producers and editors collectively jump out of their seats when John McCain introduced (and then mentioned ad nauseam) his version of the Everyman in the debate Wednesday night.
Two days later and the press coverage of Joe shows no sign of abating.
Have voters like this starred in cameo campaign appearances in the past? Yes. Has the the press treated them as Wildy Important News Stories? Not quite like this.
We think that's because each election cycle the press becomes more and more enamored with trivia and symbolism and tactics. And since Joe the Plumber combines all three, the press has all but ignored all the other issues and topic discussed at the debate and focused its attention on the part that really didn't matter much.
Here's a view taste of the media's overkill (not even including the TV coverage), via ABC's The Note Must-Reads:
2008: 'JOE THE PLUMBER':
ABC News' Imaeyen Ibanga and Russell Goldman: "America's Overnight Sensation Joe the Plumber Owes $1,200 in Taxes" LINK
The Washington Post's Robert Barnes: "After Debate, Glare Of Media Hits Joe - Plumbers Union, Tax Collectors Notice" LINK
The Boston Herald's Katy Jordan: "Debate flushes out fans in regular Joe pipeline" LINK
Bloomberg's Ryan J. Donmoyer and Kristin Jensen: "McCain's Focus On 'The Plumber' To Repair Campaign Has Pitfalls" LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman: "As Joe The Plumber Grows Famous, The Politics Get Murkier" LINK
USA Today's Dennis Cauchon and Peter Eisler: "Press Vets 'Joe The Plumber' After Last Debate" LINK
The Washington Times' Donald Lambro: "Joe Exposes Candidates Sharp Divisions" LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Robin Abcarian and P.J. Huffstutter: "Joe the Plumber Can Relate to The Britney Thing" LINK
The Hill's' Chris Good: "Plumbers union rips McCain on 'Joe the Plumber'" LINK