Some of the buzz coming out of Thursday night’s GOP debate in Orlando was that Gary Johnson “stole” a joke from Rush Limbaugh. Did he? Well, sort of. But not really. Let me explain.

First, here’s what Johnson said last night:

Now that might sound familiar to fans of Rush Limbaugh. Why? Because Rush used the same joke during his radio show Thursday.

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

Uh oh. That seems to be the same thing. And even Rush thinks so.

“I guess I’ve become show prep for the GOP debates now, too,” Limbaugh told The Huffington Post in an email. Limbaugh said he thought he used the line yesterday, “but the days run together, so I’m not really sure.”

So do we have a controversy brewing? Maybe not. HuffPo caught up with Johnson after the debate and gave him a chance to explain himself, and he does have a plausible story. Johnson told HuffPo that he received several jokes later Thursday afternoon from  former “Tonight Show” writer and current radio host on Albuquerque’s KKOB station, Jim Villanucci.

“He texted me about eight one-liners that maybe I could use so it was one of those things that, ‘wow, that was really funny,” Johnson said, adding he didn’t know about Limbaugh telling the joke earlier in the day:

Case closed, it seems.

UPDATE:

In an appearance on Fox News Friday, Johnson explained that Villanucci actually solicited jokes from his audience as part of a contest. It seem, then, that a listener could be responsible for Johnson’s use of the joke. Watch him explain: