Obama as George Costanza: Behind the scenes of Obama’s debate recovery

Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Political Punch

A recent Obama rally in the battleground state of Colorado turned into something of a Seinfeldian air. Not because it was about nothing, it wasn't. But because the president responded to attacks from challenger Mitt Romney in a way he had not done during Wednesday's debate -- when 67 million Americans were watching.

On that night, Romney told the president, "You said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant."

For all the talking by the Obama campaign about Romney's taxes and off shore accounts, the president didn't say anything. Not a thing!

Until 14 hours later.

"The guy on stage last night, he said that he doesn't even know that there are such laws that encourage outsourcing. He's never heard of them, never heard of them, never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. He said that if it's true, he must need a new accountant," Obama told supporters. "Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney, because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant."

To some clever folks on Twitter, the very late comeback reminded them of the Seinfeld episode 'The Comeback,' which opens with a scene showing character George Costanza stuffing himself with shrimp cocktails while another character, Reilly, looks on.

Reilly: Hey George, the ocean called. They're running outta shrimp.

(George drives along. He's fuming at Reilly's dig.)

George: (Angry, to himself) The ocean called. Running outta shrimp. Outta shrimp! (A thought occurs) Oh! Yes! That's what I shoulda said! (Frustrated shout) Dammit!

[New York Health & Racquet club]

Jerry: 'The ocean called, they're running outta shrimp'?

George: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But then, I said to him, 'Oh yeah? Well, the jerk store called, and they're running outta you.'

Jerry: (Smiling) Really? That's great. You said that to him?

George: (Confessing) Well, actually, I thought it up on the way over here.

Jerry: Oh. That's not quite the same.

The president came up with his own jerk store retort, wildly late.

"I like PBS, I love Big Bird," Romney said at the debate. But "I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from china to pay for."

Obama 14 hours later: "I mean, thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time," he told a cheering, laughing crowd.

On Twitter, Slate's Dave Weigel immediately took a dig at the president's slow comebacks.

"At speech in Colorado," Weigel tweeted, "President Obama tells Americans that the jerk store has run out of Mitt Romney."