Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryKerry: Trump's rhetoric gave North Korea a reason to say 'Hey, we need a bomb' Russian hackers targeted top US generals and statesmen: report Trump officials to offer clarity on UN relief funding next week MORE (D-Mass.) joined Al GoreAl GoreDem Murphy wins New Jersey governor's race CNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill GOP gov hopeful veers to right in New Jersey 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 Trevor HeinrichSenate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks, background checks Senators propose closing 'domestic violence loophole' after Texas shooting Week ahead: DHS nominee heads before Senate | Ex-Yahoo chief to testify on hack | Senators dig into election security 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."