NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Like all good celebrities, Joe the Plumber has hired a publicity team.
The Press Office in Nashville, where clients include rockers Grand Funk Railroad and Eddie Money, will help him handle the flood of interview and appearance requests that have poured in since he was mentioned during a presidential debate and quickly became a household name.
"It's like any other celebrity who is in the public eye," said Jim Della Croce, who owns the agency. "There needs to be someone acting as a clearinghouse and interpreting the opportunities and coordinating the media requests, and he truly is being inundated."
Despite rumors to the contrary, he's not planning to release an album, though a book is in the works.
"He's not doing a country record," Della Croce said flatly yesterday. "I think that was an angle that was presumptuous."
Joe the Plumber, whose real name is Samuel J. "Joe" Wurzelbacher, 34, of Ohio, gained national attention when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told him during a campaign stop that he wanted to "spread the wealth around."
Their exchange about Obama's tax plan aired countless times on cable news programs. Republican nominee John McCain repeatedly cited Joe the Plumber in a debate, saying Obama's plan would hurt people like him who want to own their own businesses.
Wurzelbacher campaigned for the Republican ticket on his own bus tour around Ohio this week and appeared with Sarah Palin on Wednesday. His name comes up at just about every GOP rally.
But with the election next week, what's next?
A lot of things are too premature to talk about, Della Croce said, but a book is already planned.
"Certainly Joe will go down in history and will be a celebrity regardless of which way the election turns," Della Croce said. "He is a curiosity. He's touched a nerve with the common man, and people are curious as to what's on his mind. I think he speaks for a lot of people."
So many, apparently, that he needs three managers at The Press Office, among them country singer Aaron Tippin. Wurzelbacher met Tippin, also a McCain supporter, when they appeared on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's Fox News talk show.
The media scrutiny hasn't always been kind to Wurzelbacher, who turned out to be an unlicensed plumber with unpaid back taxes.
At first, Wurzelbacher insisted he wanted no part of the spotlight and predicted he'd be a small footnote in the campaign.
"I'm a flash in the pan, a novelty. It's going to be a fun couple of days," he said.
It has lasted much longer.
Della Croce has managed rock stars, but Joe the Plumber is a special case.
"Never in 25 years have I seen this level of interest in a celebrity," Della Croce said.
-- The Associated Press
— privately — that the ideological makeup of the country probably