John McCain’s "invisible friend," as Keith Olbermann of MSNBC dubbed him after the debate, was the run away winner last night. I’m talking, of course, about "Joe the Plumber" (AKA Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio plumber). John McCain and even Barack Obama mentioned "Joe" 21 times according to the rough estimate of political pundits after the debate. Reuters counted 13 times in the first few minutes of the debate alone. Even legendary NBC anchor Tom Brokaw broke precedent to declare Joe the winner last night:
I’m always reluctant, as you know, to declare a winner in all of these. Tonight I’m going to break with that precedent. And Joe, you’re the winner. Joe plumber.
He went on to add that he hopes Joe can can take his "15 minutes" and turn it into a business. Joe also impressed CBS and Katie Couric, who he joined for a live interview after the debate. Of course Joe’s "15 minutes" weren’t confined to the television.
People were buzzing about Joe across the Internet and within the Twittersphere. In fact, at one point last night, Joe the plumber was getting tweet’d more than Barack Obama. Joe may even be on Twitter himself, although I’m inclined to think it’s "Fake Joe the Plumber." He was the 9th hottest search term in Google Trends this morning, and roughly counting he was in over 5,000 online stories.
Getting back to Brokaw’s point on Joe making the most of his fifteen minutes - he could probably start by making a deal to purchase joetheplumber.com. I’m sure Joe from Texas, would sell it for the right price. He should definitely start getting a percentage of the royalties from those "Joe the plumber" T-shirts, which Google is selling nicely for Cafe Press when you search for our friend Joe. As for who Joe is voting for? Well, he’s undecided. I, for one, am considering a write-in for Joe.