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October 25, 2008

<img src="http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/images/zope/extra.gif" border=0>'I feel like Joe the Plumber': New swing state advertising campaign launched in Joplin<font color="#ff0000"> w/video</font>

By Andy Ostmeyer

aostmeyer@joplinglobe.com

Joplin resident Dana Snodgrass has found himself thrust into a political experiment of sorts.

And it has made him a star.

“I’m like a celebrity ... I feel like Joe the Plumber,” Snodgrass said with a chuckle.

As part of the Local Voices for Obama project, three professional film teams spread out to key swing states: Nevada, Ohio and Missouri.

The latter team started in Joplin on Oct. 5 and filmed several short documentary-style political advertisements with area residents talking about why they support Barack Obama for president. Through a series of connections, they wound up with Snodgrass.



“I thought it would be a local deal but come to find out these guys are big-time players,” said Snodgrass, who is 51. “I thought it was a Podunk thing ... He’s the real deal.”

“He” is Lee Hirsch, an Emmy-winning director who also has taken a couple of awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and who led the Missouri film crew.

The advertising campaign is unlike others that have been tried in past elections, according to Hirsch and Eugene Hedlund. He founded truthandhope.org in 2004 to air independent television and radio spots for Howard Dean’s presidential bid, and he is supporting Obama’s bid this time.

Hedlund, a former mortgage banker and advertising executive, said the purpose is different than the political ads made by Hollywood and Madison Avenue types, which he likened to “messages from on high.”

“Why are we not talking to the people? They’re there,” Hedlund said. “Let’s have voices from the community.

“It is new,” he said of the concept of using local residents to influence others in a community through the ads, which are designed to appear on television, radio and online.

“We’re shooting in Ohio for Ohio, we’re shooting in Nevada for Nevada,” Hedlund said.

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