Nov. 6 election too important to miss, 'Costanza' tells UF students


Jason Alexander, more commonly known for his role as George Costanza on the television sitcom "Seinfeld," speaks to students for the Obama campaign at the University of Florida Hillel on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla.

Matt Benson / Correspondent
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 6:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 6:51 p.m.

Actor Jason Alexander admits that he didn't vote when he was young, but told University of Florida students Wednesday that this presidential election was too important to sit out.

"You don't get the luxury of being idiots like I was," he said.

Alexander, who played George Costanza on "Seinfeld," campaigned for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign before a crowd of about 100 at the UF Hillel.

His speech was light on comedy and heavy on policy, with one of his few mentions of "Seinfeld" coming in a discussion of the economy.

Alexander said that the sitcom allowed him to join the top 1 percent of earners, so he would benefit from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's economic plan. But he said that workers like the camera man on the show wouldn't fare so well.

"Nothing Mitt Romney has ever built or destroyed has helped that guy, and there's much more of him than there is of me," he said.

Alexander said didn't vote when he was young because he was concentrating on being a star, but "woke up" when he had kids. He said he was thrilled that students at the event were involved.

Some students in the crowd said they came because they were fans of the show, or at least were in the room when their parents were watching it. UF undergraduate Joe Pardo, who has a fellowship with the Obama campaign, said the event was mostly a motivational tool.

"I think the people in the room are already committed to go out to the polls," but the event might lead them to volunteer, he said.

Alexander, who appeared earlier at Florida State University, spoke for about a half hour at the UF event. He answered audience questions that were as serious as his speech, with one student asking whether Alexander thought war was necessary to end a depression (He didn't).

Alexander's physical appearance was startling for some "Seinfeld" fans, as he wore a hairpiece that covered the bald head that was an occasional plot line on the show.

He said afterward that he wore the hairpiece because his wife liked it and it prevented light from shining on his head during plays. He's also trying to look different from the character who he made famous.

"I don't get offered the kind of roles that I would enjoy taking at this point because people don't think I played George, they think I am George," he said.

He also addressed the occasional appearance of Costanza in the campaign. Romney attempted to quote Costanza in a February debate and reporters referenced the character's "jerk store" line in describing Obama's late comeback to Romney's debate performance last week.

"To quote John Lennon, 'I am bigger than Jesus Christ,'" Alexander joked, before saying that the show had infused itself into the pop culture.

That the show and his character have endured "is a constant surprise and to whatever extent it humanizes this whole process, it's a terrific thing," he said.

Contact staff reporter Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com. Visit www.thecampussun.com for more stories on the University of Florida.

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