In at least three debates now, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has referenced a quote from Seinfeld episode 172. The latest instance occurred on Tuesday during CNN's Arizona Republican Presidential Debate.
And this time, several sources are claiming that Romney's attribution was made in error.
On Tuesday, Romney followed Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in delivering his opening remarks. After he vowed to restore America's promise, the audience burst into applause. Rather than finish his comments, Romney cut himself short. As George Costanza would say, when they're applauding, stop, he said before turning the floor to Newt Gingrich.
Romney has used similar lines at a forum in Washington, D.C., and at a town hall in South Carolina.
Jason Alexander, who played Costanza, added his own two cents via Twitter. Thrilled Gov. Romney enjoys my old character, he wrote. I enjoyed the character he used 2 b 2. If he'd embrace that again, he'd b a great candidate.
They're talking about the third scene in an episode called The Burning. Costanza and Seinfeld are in the coffee shop, and Seinfeld advises his friend on how to maintain a good reputation. Showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off, he says.
It would seem that Romney has been mistaken all this time... or has he?
As it turns out, Costanza does have his own line on the subject later in the episode, and Romney could very well be referring to that. It comes after Costanza has impressed his coworkers by fleeing the scene after telling a well-received joke. Back in Seinfeld's apartment, he delivers the line: I knew I had hit my high note, so I thanked the crowd and I was gone.
So although Romney never got the quotation exactly right, he wasn't wrong about the attribution.
Still, Romney may want to heed the conclusion of this episode. Sure, Costanza impresses the boss by ending on a high note. But he gets more attention than he bargained for, and in the final scene, he's stuck with a job he isn't prepared to handle.