Bottom-line: it's not entirely clear what the real story of Joe The Plumber is. But it is entirely clear that he's not just some undecided voter. He supports McCain, and the McCain campaign sure seems to support him.
Speaking with Katie Couric, "Joe" said that he "wasn't swayed" by the debate last night, yet pretty much knew who he was going to vote for. So if (a) he wasn't swayed by the debate and (b) knows who he is going to vote for, then (c) he had already made up his mind before the debate.Here's video.
Unfortunately, the national media has had a field day with Joe, almost universally reporting that he is an uncommitted voter, even though he doesn't make the same claim. He certainly is a nice little story for them, but it's a story they might want to ask some questions about, especially now that they've invited a relative unknown to appear on the morning shows.
For starters, according to Ben Smith, he's not registered to vote. It's hard to believe that this could be the case; it seems likely that there is some sort of clerical error. For example, his name could be mispelled as Worzelbacher instead of Wurzelbacher in the Lucas County file.
It also seems odd that he just happens to be buying a business that would earn exactly the amount of money that would qualify it to be a McCain campaign talking point -- $250,000. Even more intriguing, McCain-land said they had never spoken with Joe before, but also made the following statement to Ben Smith:
McCain aides say there was no heads-up for Joe the Plumber, who's headed out to the morning shows tomorrow.
"Joe didn't know" that he'd be at the center of the debate," said Matt McDonald.
"We tried to call him during the debate, but his phone was busy," he said. "We're not going to put him through media training."
So the McCain campaign says they never contacted Joe the Plumber...but they also had his phone number. Now it's very possible someone in the media gave them his phone number, but if you can find any listing for Joe Wurzelbacher in Holland, Ohio, you're more industrious than I am.
The last thing that struck me as odd was that when talking with Katie Couric, Joe was totally on message for McCain (except the part where he said that he had already made up his mind on who he was voting for).
This wouldn't be a story worth mentioning if the media wasn't so excited to put him on all the morning shows, but since they are, they have a responsibility to get the story right. So far, there's little indication that they will.