Joe the Plumber: Next Pop Culture Sensation?

Man made famous by John McCain has book in the works.

November 2, 2008, 6:28 PM

Nov. 3, 2008 — -- Tired of Joe the Plumber?

Either way, you'll be seeing a lot more of him. It seems Joe the Plumber, whose real name is Samuel J. "Joe" Wurzelbacher, has not tired of the spotlight. He's hired himself a publicity team to handle the flood of media and appearance requests that have poured in since the presidential debate made him a household name.

"I have 300 requests on my desk today," his Nashville-based publicist, Jim Della Croce, told on Friday, "personal appearances, endorsements, interviews -- anything a celebrity would expect."

And like any good celebrity these days, Wurzelbacher already has a book in the works. Della Croce confirmed that "there is a person working with him on the book," but would not offer up any details.

So what will Wurzelbacher write about? Attacking tough clogs?

Wurzelbacher wasn't available to speak with on Friday – "he's with his son for Halloween," Della Croce said – but he told USA Today on Wednesday that his book will be a "dignified" story of how his campaign-trail encounter with Democratic nominee Barack Obama brought him national attention.

Joe the would-be Author will also elaborate on his views of the world, and he said people would listen because "I speak straight."

One thing Wurzelbacher will not be doing, contrary to rumors, is cutting a country album. The rumors grew out of his recent association with country music star Aaron Tippin ("Drill Here, Drill Now"). After Tippin met Wurzelbacher on the set of the "Huckabee" show, hosted by former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Tippin introduced him to his publicist, Della Croce, and his manager, Bobby Roberts.

Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, has low expectations for a book by Joe the Plumber.

"I think a publisher would be ill-advised to spend more than four figures for a book from Joe the Plumber," Nelson told "No matter what happens Tuesday, Joe the Plumber will be at best a footnote or a trivia question. I'm sure Joe the Plumber's family and friends will buy this book. It seems unlikely that his experience with 15 minutes of fame is going to compel large numbers of readers."

Joe the Plumber Wants 15 More Minutes

Della Croce defended his client's right to extend his 15 minutes of fame. "With the notoriety that came with his gratuitous meeting with Obama, he was thrust into this spotlight," he said. "It's no different than the underwear model [Juston Gaston] dating Miley Cyrus. He becomes a celebrity overnight. America does that to people."

Donna Rice Hughes is one person who would know. She came under the national spotlight during the 1988 presidential campaign when the press alleged that she was having an affair with Democratic nominee Gary Hart.

"I used to say I felt I was caught in the crossfire of the press, politics and public opinion," Hughes told "People are not prepared for that, even the most savvy.

The former model and actress was offered television movies, the covers of Time and People and a blank check to tell her story to Playboy. She turned them all down and, after a brief endorsement of No Excuses jeans, Hughes dropped out of the public eye for seven years.

"I was characterized and vilified as an opportunistic scandal queen and that wasn't who I was," she said. "I wanted to make decisions that actually countered the media's perception of me."

After working on Internet safety for 15 years through her organization Enough is Enough, Hughes said she is now seen as a credible, intelligent person. She even works on a regular basis with the politicians who once skewered her.

Wurzelbacher's situation, she said, is different because he's not associated with a scandal. "He's got an opportunity to be an everyday guy and share who he is," Hughes said. "And I say, hey, more power to him."

Her advice: "Just continue to speak the truth and hold your head high. It will be over in a few days."

And Hughes brings up a point that Wurzelbacher must have thought of himself – more fame will likely bring a higher tax bracket.

"How much is he going to have to pay to the government?" Hughes joked.

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