Sen. John KerryJohn KerryFBI Director Comey sought to reveal Russian election meddling last summer: report Congress, Trump need a united front to face down Iran One year ago today we declared ISIS atrocities as genocide MORE (D-Mass.) joined Al GoreAl GoreOvernight Tech: Trump's tech budget - Cyber gets boost; cuts for NASA climate programs | FTC faces changes under Trump | Trump to meet with Bill Gates Trump's NASA budget cuts earth, climate science programs Obamas sign with agency for speaking gigs MORE this week in blaming Denver's altitude for President Obama's poor performance in the first presidential debate.

"I personally really do believe that the altitude may have had something to do with it," Kerry told the Sante Fe New Mexican.

Gore previously blamed the high altitude for Obama's showing, a claim mocked widely by Republicans and comedians. 

Kerry also attributed Obama's "bad night" to indecision on his strategy for his first match-up with GOP nominee Mitt Romney. 

"I … think he wasn't settled in his own mind completely on his own strategy," Kerry said. "And I think that held him back. I was surprised, obviously."

Kerry, who played Romney in mock debates against the president, seemed to imply that Obama might have been considering other last-minute approaches to the first debate, since Obama had been on his game the night before. 

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"I thought we had a terrific night the night before when we went through it all, and everybody was a little surprised, and he was surprised," Kerry said. "But look at what he did. He came back and he won both [subsequent debates] convincingly and he won the last one more convincingly than Romney won [the first] one."

Kerry was in New Mexico this week to help Rep. Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichLawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities The Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Senators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal MORE (D-N.M.) campaign for the Senate. He said keeping control of the Senate in Democratic hands is critical to preventing the Tea Party from pushing its agenda through Congress.

"The Tea Party is setting the agenda of the United States Congress through [Sen.] Jim DeMint in the Senate and the fear they put into the hearts of their Republican colleagues," he said. "And they block everything. They blocked the farm bill, they blocked the highway bill, they blocked the infrastructure bill, they blocked the veterans' jobs bill recently."