NPR logo Gary Johnson 'Shovel-Ready' Joke Dates Back To 2009

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson 'Shovel-Ready' Joke Dates Back To 2009

Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson's joke about his neighbors' two dogs creating more shovel-ready jobs than the Obama administration has is at least 21 years old (in dog years.) It actually seems to date back two human years.

Johnson evidently got the joke through an old-fashioned form of crowdsourcing. (A radio host put the word out to listeners.) The Hill reports:

"I got emails yesterday from everybody I know giving me suggestions of what I should or shouldn't say, and included in those emails was an email from the leading radio talk show host in New Mexico on AM Radio who said for two days he had conducted a call-in ... 'let's give Gary some zingers that he might use in the debate,' so this was among the list of 14 zingers that were sent to me, apparently by call-ins to that show," the former governor of New Mexico said on Fox News. "I think it was kind of a collective New Mexico effort that gave me that line."


After the joke became the most memorable line at Thursday's Fox News/Google Republican debate, Rush Limbaugh claimed credit for it.

But Talking Points Memo found a photo gallery of 2009 protest signs with what appears to be a Labradoodle fitted with a sleeveless top with the same joke appearing on it. Maybe the dog's owner listens to Limbaugh.