Gary Johnson’s ‘Shovel-Ready’ Joke Stinks of a Stolen Line

Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson scored some laughs at the GOP debate Thursday with a joke about shovel-ready jobs and his neighbor’s dog. It was a bright spot for Johnson  - up to now, the candidate had flown under the radar of most national media – but in the hours since the debate, a better-known Republican has claimed the joke as his own.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh used a very similar line Thursday on his program.

Compare for yourself.

Limbaugh : “My dogs have created more shovel-ready work than Obama has this week alone. The new puppy. Honest to God. More shovel-ready work for me this week than Obama has created in all two-and-a-half years.”

Johnson : “My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”

Johnson told the Huffington Post that he had gotten the joke from former “Tonight Show” writer Jim Villanucci.

After the debate, Johnson tweeted:  “Re: the dogs, I understand Rush Limbaugh made the same point. Credit to Rush for a great and very true line.”

As it turns out, Limbaugh wasn’t the first to compare pooper-scooping to shovel-ready jobs.

Earlier this week, political blogger Jeff Carter wrote : “As many have said, ‘ My dog has created more shovel- ready projects than Obama’.”

Unlike the jobs, it appears the joke has come shovel-ready.

UPDATE: Johnson stuck by his version of the joke Friday at a speech in Florida that he was now the most googled name on the planet because at the debate he came up with a “witty” line on “poop.”

While “Gary Johnson” was Google’s number one “Hot Search,” this does not mean he was necessarily the most googled term on the planet. Hot Searches includes those search terms that are most popular in that hour.

From Google :

“Rather than showing the most popular searches overall, which would always be generic terms like ‘weather,’ Hot Searches highlights searches that experience sudden surges in popularity, and updates that information hourly.”