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
10 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. Doug

    Living here in Denver that's Gore's comment isn't that off. I have picked up friends from the Airport and a few hours later they are ready to rest. Some people it bothers, some it doesn't.

    October 4, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Shaner

    Perhaps Obama wore the wrong socks... we all know how the wrong socks can certainly screw up a debate. I'm sure Obama would've won if he wore thicker socks, for sure.

    October 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Jim Niner

    Okay, I may be a little jaded ... but wasn't Romney there too? What, was his altitude lower on the other side of the stage?

    What other excuses will the left come up with for why the President stalled in flight last night? Here's the truth, Romney came prepared, and the President thought he could wing it (like he usually does). That's the real story.

    Obama's answers weren't answers. Romney called him on it every time he spouted talking points, and Obama had no answer for the challenge.

    End of story.

    October 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Jack1493

    I think he meant "attitude," not "altitude." The president resents anyone who doesn't simply accept his edicts without question.

    October 4, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. gman

    Gee Al... maybe you can blame it on global warming. 🙂

    October 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Justanotheranimal

    I think the former Vice-President is confusing "lightheadedness" with "airheadedness" (both of which he seems to suffer from more and more as time goes by).

    October 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. john w.

    Wasn't the altitude the same for both men? Do Dems always have to have an excuse for failure?

    October 4, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Jaim

    I have a question to ask because frankly I'm completely baffled...back in 2008, or perhaps earlier, what in the he** did then Senator Obama promise to millions of people that appears to be so valuable, so precious that they will say and do anything to defend anything our now President says or does? Can this individual do anything wrong. Are we to assume that President Obama is infallible? Really, I mean what is it? Why is so much praise and adulation heaped upon a man who has had less experience in business, government or problem management than probably most of you reading this. Why? Answer please...

    October 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. john w.

    Wasn't the altitude the same for both men? Must Dems always have an excuse for failure? Even Nixon didn't cry about it when he lost the Presidential Election to JFK-despite the fact that many thousands of dead people voted for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket in Chicago and Texas. In Chicago, some voted more than once. Sheesh. Grow up, Al. What a whiner.

    October 4, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Borderless

    Al Gore is cereal people! It was altitude sickness. Also, man-bear-pig. Man-bear-pig and Bush. They are to blame.

    October 4, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. rrd

    Al who?

    October 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. John

    ..... or the unusually warm weather as a result of global warming caused by George Bush.

    October 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. jbd2

    II do not like Gore or Obama that much. But he may be on to something. Athletes who compete in the high altitude of Denver are at a disadvantage unless they are in top shape or have spent time getting accustomed to the thinner air. Look at the home record of the Broncos.

    October 4, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. steve

    it was the altitude?


    did gore just get up off the massage table?

    October 4, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. George

    thats the biggest bunch off bull i'veever heard. i fly and 5000' isnt close to where the lack of oxygen would mess you up. the guy was outclassed plain and simple.

    October 4, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. becky

    They blame anything but his incompetence!

    October 4, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. General Electric's BIG DOG

    Yeah, I'm going to go with the fact that Romney was better prepared and Obama thought he could wing it. That beat down had nothing to do with altitude.

    October 4, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. NotFondOfLibs

    Sounds like Al Gore's brain is not getting enough oxygen.

    October 4, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Turboscus

    Cue laugh track.

    October 4, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. djv01

    Good question Jaim, good question, scary isnt it, cult of personality, celebrity.

    October 4, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Stewart

    This is brilliant. "He's not free of good ideas or any positive Presidential record – he's got altitude sickness. It's Denver!"

    October 4, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Telluride Greg

    The altitude? Really? Maybe up here in Telluride at 13K feet. But at 5K feet? Give me a break. It was his attitude, not altitude. The media hasn't asked a tough question of him in over three years. He finally gets confronted with his failed policies and he couldn't handle it. We want to hear the tough questions asked to both candidates. Romney was prepared. Obama wasn't. He was hoping his liberal commentator was going to ask "Boxers or Briefs?" He wasn't prepared for substance and it showed. He just looked annoyed that anyone would question him like a college professor living in a bubble.

    October 4, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Tom

    Altitude? Is Gore back on the bong party circuit. Yo, Al Baby you got the Oscar and the Nobel prize, it's time to stop thinking. And why, would any person of sound mind listen to this Mensa scholar?

    October 4, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Ed

    Mr. Gore , like most of his statements, is off the mark. Unless the president walked to the debate, aircraft cabins are pressurized to between 5k and 8k feet, so he should have been 'climatized'. Nice try, from the King of Psuedo science!!!

    October 4, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Richard A Brown

    Surely you jest-the altitude made me do it! Give me a break and someone finally take responsibilty for their actions
    or what they say.Joe Biden just blamed the Republicans for the actions of the current administration in repressing
    the middle class for the last four years. Guess who has been in office the last four years. It's time we all get together
    and find answers for our depressed economy-and quit blaming each other. This hasn't been a government "of and
    by the people" for so long. Leaders come to the people only when thay need to-for more tax monies, and to be

    October 4, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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