Gore: Altitude threw Obama off (no, really)
Former Vice President Al Gore on a high-stakes debate stage himself in 2000, debating then-Gov. George Bush at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
October 4th, 2012
01:50 PM ET
2 years ago

Gore: Altitude threw Obama off (no, really)

(CNN) - Former Vice President Al Gore's analysis of President Barack Obama's debate performance Wednesday: the Mile High City may be to blame.

Pundits and a CNN poll of those who watched the debate both found GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's showing to be stronger than Obama's, who some described as appearing tired and long-winded.

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"I'm going to say something controversial here," Gore began. "Obama arrived in Denver at 2 pm today, just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver.

"When you go to five thousand feet, and you only have a few hours to adjust, I don't know," Gore said, as other panelists in the post-debate discussion chimed in.

The video of Gore on his television channel, Current TV, was posted online by several right-leaning websites, as well as media-watching websites.

Obama flew on Sunday from Washington, D.C. to Henderson, Nevada, where he held a rally that evening. Between Sunday and his Wednesday flight to Colorado, Obama and his debate team prepared for the big night in a hotel ballroom there.

Henderson reaches just shy of a half mile up from sea level, according to the Henderson Executive Airport's website, while Denver stretches a mile above sea level.

Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod defended his candidate on a Thursday conference call with reporters, saying he would leave evaluation of Obama's "performance" alone because he is no "theater critic."

"While Governor Romney had a very crisp performance, both candidates got points across," Axelrod said. "Both candidates got something out of the debate."

Romney, meanwhile, arrived in Denver Monday evening and also held a rally before hunkering down with advisers for his preparations.

Both candidates rewarded themselves with field trips between study sessions. Obama visited the Hoover Dam on Tuesday and stopped by a Nevada office for his campaign on Monday. Romney and Sen. Rob Portman, who was aiding in his debate preparations, stopped in at a Chipotle restaurant on Tuesday.

– CNN's Jessica Yellin and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Al Gore • Colorado • Nevada
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. obsthetimes

    This is the most wretched pathetic excuse and the DC version of 'the dog ate my homework', I ever heard. LOL.

    I'm a 'Flatlander' myself' and have been to denver many times. Gone straight there from N Jersey (150 ft above sea level) and the slight headache i got, if any, did not make me fumble my words and appear defeated. :)

    October 4, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. mike

    Grasping at straws...

    October 4, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. allison

    This is Obama's 10th trip to CO, Travis, a recent visit to Golden which is higher in elevation than Denver. He seems to not have a problem as long as he's speaking to his enamored attendees.

    October 4, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Leede

    Only Gore could come up with that lame of an excuse. he knows Obama can never man up to anything as he needs a fall man so I guess he was trying to give him a hand.

    October 4, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Wayne

    That is this most pathetic excuse I've heard to date. Be accountable for your actions and don't blame the poor performance on anyone other than Obama....including George Bush!

    October 4, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Jay

    Awesome. Now that is the Democratic machine at its best...make any ridiculous excuse possible to explain why Obama looked as clueless as he is.

    October 4, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Am I the only intelligent person in America who believe that President Obama actually won the debate? First and foremost, I listened to what the critics on CNN and MSNBC had to say about the President's "WEAK and ineffective debate performance." However, in order to win the dabate, this is what I heard from these same critics a week before the debate..."to win the bebate, the President must not appear as being mean, rude and disrespectful to Mitt Romney." "The President has to be civil in the debate and not attack Romney for his success in business." "The President should be careful in going after Romney on Bain Capital and his leadership as Governor in MA and so on. Well guess what? The President was "civil" and appeared to be the nice guy, not attacking Romney on these issues and he did exactly what the pundits said he should do to win the debate. Now the pundits are accusing the President of being passive in the debate. Do you know what that is called? Its called journalism-etch-a-sketching.

    October 4, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. freddiebrown

    Another talking head in the form of Al Gore.... now he's blaming nature for Obama's dismal performance.

    When will the Democrats ever call a spade a spade. When will they stop coddling the president. One can only act for so long. At some point in time, your true colors shine... Obama's true colors was shining bright AND embarrassingly bright at that.

    I bet Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are secretly pleased that Obama fell on his face in front of the nation last night.
    Hillary vindicated...thank you Romney.

    October 4, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. K from AZ

    It was 'climate change'!

    October 4, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. freddiebrown

    Another talking head in the form of Al Gore.... now he's blaming nature for Obama's dismal performance.

    When will the Democrats ever call a spade a spade. When will they stop coddling the president. One can only act for so long. At some point in time, your true colors shine... Obama's true colors was shining bright AND embarrassingly bright at that.

    I bet Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are secretly pleased that Obama fell on his face in front of the nation last night.
    Hillary vindicated...thank you Romney.

    October 4, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Josh

    He did spend his preparation days in Vegas....I mean come on...Vegas! Who can concentrate in Vegas?

    October 4, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Really Al? Just retire from politics, please.

    October 4, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. smendler

    Actually, Gore's idea makes a lot of sense – and conservatives shouldn't ridicule it, since it would indicate a serious planning failure on the part of Obama's campaign staff. One also has to wonder about whether Romney's smoke-free lifestyle gave him an advantage!

    October 4, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. bill

    I honestly thought he looked sick and ashen from the get go. Before he was announced the big loser. No straw grasping here.

    October 4, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Bill P

    It should also be noted that, given the typical 10K elevation effective pressure for a jet like Air Force One, if Obama had an issue with elevation changes (like going from Wash, DC's 400 ft max elev. to 10K ft), he would already be aware that he had such an issue. His doctors would know. He has flown on Air Force One hundreds of times (short trips and long trips) AND he is a very fit individual. Gore's theory is simply stupid. Obama was over-confident. He was unprepared. And Sen. John Kerry was a poor choice for a debate coach. Obama should now know two things: 1) Romney is a capable opponent and 2) Preparation is key. We'll see what he does next time. 16 October in Hempstead, New York: ELEVATION 66 ft. He should be able to handle that – unless the elevation change of -350 ft would be too hard on him.

    October 4, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I fully agree that the President was too passive in the debate but Romney's arrogance and lies were simply outrageous and appalling to say the least. For example, did anyone recalled Romney saying at one point in the debate that his economic plan "is like no other economic plan that's ever tried before?" I must say that I was angry as hell when the President didn't respond by asking Romney if that economic plan he was referring to was the same plan that left MA 47th in job growth. O if it was the same economic plan that said it was "a risky gamble and a waste of stimulus money" or that it was unwise saving the auto industry." Yes, the President blew it but we the American people won't blow it on election day.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    October 4, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. mmiller85

    I think its just as likely that global warming (an inconvenient truth) caused Obama to screw this up. Any other harebrained ideas?

    October 4, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. rla

    Biden – Obama and this loser??? Makes one wonder!

    October 4, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. JJMcD3

    Right! Let's not forget to blame the President's debate performance on global warming.

    October 4, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. ForGoodOfAll

    This one debate does not define the presidential candidates. That is why there are more debates scheduled. I advise citizens to listen to all the debates as well as research where both candidates stand on the important issues. Then make an educated and informed choice come November.

    October 4, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. David Lynch

    How can CNN report this stupid, idiotic and pathetic story from, of all people, Al Gore? What is happening to CNN? When CNN reports this preposterous story, it gives it legitimacy and Al Gore surely isn't unbiased or legitimate.

    Report the facts CNN not a gossip column!

    October 4, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. BigbirdChrisChristie

    Obsthetimes ....ever tried that with the weight of the mind of a world leader?
    However small a part I believe that would've played, Romney was fully prepped, having recently participated in at least 20 of these debates, and my President Obama under estimated the threat that "articulate packaging of distorted truths, half truths and lies" posed, but never again! The outcome of subsequent debates will be different,

    October 4, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. saint

    Wasn't that comment subliminally racist too ?

    October 4, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. j

    Obama made Obama lose! He's a liar, a foreign citizen and his "reign" is a sham. He deserves nothing less than losing and fading into the woodwork. I wish all the Liberals would just follow him off the cliff! It would be a far better country for it!

    October 4, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Dion

    Did i miss something,.. i didn't know it was held on the summit of Everest.

    October 4, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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