Perhaps a supercharged political environment needs nonissues and nonsense to act as comic relief? This seems to be the case with presidential Mitt Romney’s seeming gaffe when he complained that airplane windows don’t open. The comment came after he reported that his wife’s plane had to make an emergency landing.
“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly.”
He identified the problem in that “the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”
Despite what Hollywood depicts, where an open window or door in an airplane creates an immense and turbulent vacuum, the true problem is that the air at cruising altitude is low in oxygen. Opening windows would of course be a mistake, so the internet had a laugh at Romney’s expense.
But there is some ambiguity if it was a mistake. Some of those present to the comment recognized it as an obvious joke. The New York Time’s Ashley Parker reported the event and when asked about it, she said, “Romney was joking.”
She claimed it was a self-evident joke. “The pool report provided the full transcript of his comments on Ann’s plane scare, and it was clear from the context that he was not being serious.”
William Everitt, who was also present, explained the situation, as reported in The Blaze:
“Basically he was retelling the story and when he said ‘I don’t know why they don’t have roll down windows on airplanes,’ he looked at the audience and everyone laughed. It was a clearly delivered joke…There were 1,000 people there that will tell you the same thing.”
There was some laughter at the remark, but the timing of the story tended towards the intentness of the story. Politically minded commentators love it when they can condemn this candidate or that without being immediately challenged for their remarks. Blatant mistakes make a heyday for such people. In this case, it is unclear whether or not Romney pulled a Bush. Watching him deliver the comment it seems he did make a gaffe regarding the quantity of oxygen at high altitudes.