By CNN Political Unit
(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.
“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