Former presidential hopeful and environmentalist Al Gore is coming to President Barack Obama's defense and blaming Denver's high altitude for the president's dismal debate performance.
By most accounts, Obama lost the first presidential debate, held Wednesday night at the University of Denver in Colorado, to Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Pundits said "he choked," and some went so far as to question whether his performance will cost him the election. Many noted Obama's unorthodox demeanor. Chris Matthews asked, "Where was Obama tonight?!"
Still, Gore does not think Obama should be to blame for his lackluster debate. He thinks it may have been the altitude.
During a post-debate analysis on Current TV, Gore went out on a limb and questioned if Denver's environment had something to do with the president's flop.
“I’m going to say something controversial here,” Gore started, “Obama arrived in Denver at 2 p.m. today, just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver. When you go to 5,000 feet, and you only have a few hours to adjust. I don't know... Maybe."
Current TV host Cenk Uygur interjected saying he came in from Los Angeles and was able to just guzzle some coffee, but comedian John Fugelsang did not think Gore's theory was that far-fetched.
"It's really different. The first time I ever did stand-up in Denver I had the same exact effect," Fugelsang said. "I flew in that day and when your lungs aren't acclimated to that kind of air, yeah, it makes you drawn, it makes you off. The president had an off night."
Altitude sickness is a proven illness.
Denver, nicknamed the Mile High City with an altitude of 5,280 feet, does have 17 percent less oxygen than cities at sea level, the Denver Post reported in a piece about preventing altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness include shortness of breath, throbbing headaches and fatigue. Many people, however, are unaffected by altitudinal changes.
Is Al Gore's altitude theory poppycock, or is it possible?