The Washington Post

Al Gore’s altitude problem

For a man who has made a career out of appearing to understand atmospheric conditions... (Eric Lee/ERIC LEE)

Accounting for President Obama’s performance at the Denver debate, he noted: “Romney did his debate prep in Denver. When you go to 5,000 feet and you have only a few hours to adjust, uh, I don’t know, maybe...”

That was it. The debate was too dang high.

And to think this man was our Vice President. And to think that his subsequent career has revolved around his understanding of how the atmosphere does what it does.

Maybe the reason Romney wants airplane windows to open is that all his training has enabled him to breathe at freakishly high altitudes. Or maybe he doesn’t need to breathe at all!

Even “The President had too good a time in Vegas” is a marginally more reasonable explanation than “Well, you see, it is very challenging to get enough oxygen in Denver, and no doubt his focus was elsewhere. It is difficult to breathe and debate at the same time, even indoors.”

Mitt Romney has been practicing in extremely high altitudes, like Denver, where the air is so thin that humans can barely dwell there and sometimes they are so dazed from want of air that they come up with bizarre conspiracy theories about the shape of the airport. He has been running in high hills, reciting zingers. Al Gore knows how these things work.

It all comes down to altitude. How high was Gore when he answered this question? It might explain things.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".

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