Joe and Bud, real to reel

Real Joe the Plumber just like in 'Swing Vote'

Talk about life imitating art.

Overnight, Joe the Plumber has become a national sensation and the biggest headline in the presidential race, just like Bud Johnson in the recent pic “Swing Vote,” starring Kevin Costner.

A week ago, Joe the Plumber— aka Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher — stopped Sen. Barack Obama to say that Obama’s tax plan would make it difficult for him to start his own plumbing business. The exchange was caught on camera, and quickly became fodder for the Republicans.

During Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Sen. John McCain seized on Joe the Plumber as a symbol of Mr. Everyman.

McCain mentioned him so much that the press kept a running tally. Soon, Obama was invoking Joe the Plumber as well.

In “Swing Vote,” the character of Bud Johnson is more of a Joe Sixpack (a line used by McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin) than a Joe Plumber. Either way, he too is thrust into the national spotlight when the presidential race comes down to one vote — his. Both candidates wine and dine him excessively.

Thursday morning, Wurzelbacher came home from an early-morning errand to find the media camped out on his front lawn, just like in “Swing Vote.” And just like Bud, Wurzelbacher is a single father.

“Swing Vote,” released by Disney, was a passion project for Costner. Film, which came out in early August, pretty much came and went, grossing $16.3 million domestically.

By Thursday afternoon, Wurzelbacher told the Associated Press he was feeling like Britney Spears. Sorry, Bud Johnson.

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