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. So basically President Obama was tired and cranky

    And didn't want to her a businessman do his sales pitch

    October 4, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    You're certifiable, Gore... I'm cereal.

    October 4, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Fancy

    Brag if you will Romney fans the President is just setting you guys up. Wait until the next debate. The president will make you guys eat your words. Yes I am better off than 4 years ago. Yes we can!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Critical Thinking

    I think Al Gore has a point. The only problem is that it's on top of his head.

    The more likely reason President Obama didn't do well is because of President Bush.

    October 4, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. ExRepublican

    Obama did look tired, It seem like Romney was a angry man on stage.
    Romney was changing the narrator subject. Obama was looking confuse about Romney talking point because he attack big bird(PBS) that must had threw Obama off guard.
    Romney did win because he was lying about immigrant, taxes, obamacare.
    I bet you Obama going to kick romney butt in the next debate.
    I bet obama going to bring the 47% up and Bain capital.

    October 4, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. legalcld

    So it was a lack of oxygen to the brain that cause obama's poor performance? Maybe that's been his problem over the past 4 years!

    October 4, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. legalcld

    So it was a lack of oxygen to the brain that caused obama to perform so poorly? Maybe that's been his problem over the past 4 years!

    October 4, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. it must be said

    it ain't often you see a young black guy get beat up that bad by an old white guy. i think romney was channeling clint eastwood.

    October 4, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Ben M

    That was my theory and can see I'm not the only one that tough about. Come Romney supporters!! It's obvious that he was not ok that night, that is not Obama that we all know and something was up that night. 2nd debate we will know it....for sure...

    October 4, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. usa

    thank you romney for changing the questions from those gone over 25 times to something obama was not prepared for. obamas true arogance and egotistical nature coming threw like fog lights in the marsh. keep up the good work. dont let a teleprompter president get what he wants. change the subject as often as your brain can.

    October 4, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    I think there may be some truth to this, but I also think the president had something else going on (what I don't know). He also faced the possibility of coming across as "an angry black man", something Willard doesn't have to think about. I have every confidence the next debate will more than make up for this one and Willard better be ready because the president knows he let this one slip away.

    October 4, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Wanderer

    It was my first impression that Obama was not really himself in the debate and I did not know why. This will not, however, change his qualification as the POTUS. If people just judged him by his performance in the debate that lasted only 90 minutes, they have totally forgotten the 8 years under bush and they don’t know how long it is going to be of the 4 years under another Bush if Romney is elected. I have to admit that Romney did win the first debate but it does not guarantee his policy will bring any good to the 99%. Romney won the performance like an actor who performed a hero in a movie and deserves an Academy Award, but his performance does not at all make him real hero.

    October 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Dirk the Daring

    The last time I went to Colorado my nose became very dry and started bleeding.

    October 4, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. the REAL TRUTH...

    So nice to see Willard flip-flopping again, only this time on Nat'l TV. Now he cannot distance himself from what he said – and he said a lot – that will get him next time. The American people have heard his tax plan, the newest one since Mon, and now it's not the Ryan plan?¿???? Yet another flop.

    October 4, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Pat

    Obama looked like a little boy against a man. He was unprepared, dismissive, frustrated, flustered, just to name a few. Without a telemprompter and the mainstream media there to help him out, Obama was a true amateur.

    October 4, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. DENNA

    I think and I guessed it beforehand: 1) that President Obama's handlers spent so much time telling him not to appear arrogant, a charge that is unfairly leveled at him, and 2) to keep his answers short that he could not be natural. When his campaigning, he can be himself. I hope the next moderator is better than that crypt keeper Lehrer. What a stiff.

    October 4, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. eojsmada

    But having invented the internet, Al Gore should surely know that the reason why Obama appeared tired and worn out, was from the tanning that he received. Obama simply does not have any answers for all of his economic blunders and because there are so many of them, Romney has had an ample supply of ammunition from which to pick off Obama.

    October 4, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Jim

    I'm an Obama supporter. That said, he had no energy, no passion and very little game plan. One of the worst visual debate presentations in recent memory. Nobody can connect with a professor giving a lecture during a debate. He needs to add a little bit more Mick Jagger and a lot less rocket scientist.

    October 4, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. lfod

    Does anyone else need any further proof of Al Gore's irrelevance?

    October 4, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. dylanesq@msn.com

    I refused to watch this 'debate' , promoted as if it were one of those singing shows. I refused to watch it because I am an intelligent person and refuse to be insulted into thinking that this is a worthwhile event upon which to vote my choice of party. That was decided decades ago with Reagan and Bush, who, like Romney are incapable of an honest statement. It was also decided on Rep. Boehmer's statements (treasonable, in my view) that his party was going to refuse to help govern the nation but would spend it's time sabotaging any efforts that the Democratic Party made to govern.Over the years it has become obvious that Romney's ' 47%' statement is at the heart of their party's mandate and no carpet salesman is going to affect my rational view.

    October 4, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. NB

    We're running low on tin foil, folks!

    October 4, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. LarryD

    I have been to Denver. It didn't bother me. Visiting athletes do need to get acclimated to the lower oxygen before contests.

    October 4, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. n

    Romney was talking but he kept on jumping topic, he would start economy then jump to healthcare then school. Plus Romney was the governor of Massachusetts for 4 years he was not the one who made Massachusetts school one of the best in the country. Good school's has been there for ever, so u are wrong Mr Romney, u are not the one who made these schools the best, u want to lay off school teachers so how could u say u will be a better for president for education. As usual he flip and flops

    October 4, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Drew, if you listen to the majority of media channels and notice the Dem. campaign ads on TV, you get the wrong info and so it APPEARS that Romney reverses his opinion. Not so. Just listen to what he says, not what they TELL you he says."

    You can LITERALLY put video footage of Mittens saying he supports abortion, gay marriage, Romneycare for the nation and other things RIGHT NEXT TO footage of him saying the exact opposite. It's not a matter of the "telephone game" and things getting "lost in translation" or the "lamestream media's bias." IT IS PROVEN AND UNDENIABLE THAT HE HAS FLIP FLOPPED ON ALMOST EVERYTHING (the one exception being that he believes it is his "turn" to be POTUS).

    October 4, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. johnquepublique

    Uncle Al said so...so it has to be true. Are you going to argue with the guy that gave us "the internet", a band of psuedo-scientists promoting Global Warming and was almost President at one time???

    October 4, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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