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Seinfeld actor stumps for his 'man-crush' as early voting begins in Iowa


ADEL, Iowa -- A pizzeria in this small city west of Des Moines was the setting for a celebrity visit Thursday from an actor once famous for talking about nothing.

But these days, Jason Alexander -- who played George Costanza on the TV series "Seinfeld" -- is a surrogate for Barack Obama, and he insists he has a lot on his mind.

"I am hardcore middle class.  And I stepped in a puddle.  And that puddle was called, 'Seinfeld,'" Alexander told about 50 supporters of the president.  He said the job put him in the upper echelons of society.

"I do not want to live in that 1-percent.  I don't believe in it," he continued.  "I don't think our country, or any country, runs well when the 1-percent is thriving and the rest are suffering and struggling."

The supporters were gathered to listen to Alexander and then walk to a nearby elections office to cast early votes for President Obama -- just one of a number of statewide events marking the start of early voting Thursday in Iowa.

Alexander told the crowd he has a "man-crush" on Obama, who he said he has met several times.

Later, in an interview with NBC News, Alexander praised Obama as a man of "conviction" and "principle," though he allowed that such lofty considerations would be beyond the reach of the man he played on television during the 1990's.

"George would probably think he was the only savior for this entire race.  He would step forward as a write-in candidate," Alexander said.

Both campaigns seem to be hoping their supporters will step forward, too -- and stick to the script.

In downtown Des Moines earlier Thursday, officials said foot traffic at the elections office had reached about 250 people by late morning -- more than double the first day of early voting in 2008.

"This was by far the busiest opening day we’ve had in the ten years I’ve been in the office," said Jamie Fitzgerald, the commissioner of elections in Polk County.

An Obama campaign volunteer waiting to vote there, Kathy Stuart, said the campaign made a push to gather supporters.

"They were trying to get people to come to breakfast, and then come to vote early," she said.  "They were really interested in getting as many voters to the polls as possible."
Iowa Republicans also threw events Thursday focused on early voting.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas rallied Mitt Romney supporters in Cedar Rapids, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad held a conference call with volunteers Thursday evening.