Elections 2012: Mitt Romney Wonders Why Airplane Windows Don’t Open

Speaking at a fundraiser this week, Mitt Romney mentioned his wife’s sad experience on an airplane when it filled with smoke.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney seemed shocked with that airplane windows don’t roll down. Photo: Mitt Romney/Flickr

His wife’s plane made an emergency landing Friday because of an electrical malfunction. Discussing the incident at a fundraiser at Beverly Hills the next day, Mr Romney said:

“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 continued: “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because 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.”

The plane’s windows don’t open because there isn’t enough oxygen at cruising altitude to keep passengers alive, The Huffington Post reports. In cases of window or cabin failures, which would lead to potentially fatal hypoxia, many airlines equip their plains with emergency oxygen masks.

Romney seemed to acknowledge the importance of oxygen later in his comments. “Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver,” he said.

“I hope that Mitt was joking about why airplane windows don’t open (you certainly wouldn’t want to be able to open them at 20,000 feet!) but I’m reserving judgment,” writes Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post.

“At this rate, I look forward to hearing from him on other safety topics,” she adds. :”No wonder he keeps suggesting you let your pet ride on top of the airplane, “where there is abundant oxygen.”

“It would be so much easier to get people out of wrecks if it weren’t for those durned seat belts they have in cars now. I don’t know why they have them.”

“They should make it easier for you to use a hair dryer in the bathtub.”

“Why do we need so many stoplights? I’m serious, now. They take up so much space and they’re so easy to walk into when you aren’t paying attention,” Petri suggested.

“Forget airplanes. Why can’t you open the windows on a space shuttle? This is America.”

Petri was not the only person to mock the former Massachusetts governor. His words were highly discussed and quoted in social networks.

“Romney wants to know why airplane windows do not open! Yes Mitt nothing like having fresh air at 35,000 ft. This man is dangerous. :)” a Twitter user writes.

“I also like how Romney wants to get more oxygen into a burning airplane, it’s known for its calming effect on flames after all,” says another one.

His aides were later explained that the former Massachusetts governor was just joking. Ashley Parker, a New York Times reporter who filed on the comments, said that “it was clear from the context that he was not being serious.”

However, the candidate’s general track record with humor, as Tim Stanley writes in The Telegraph: “It’s worth noting that Romney has a habit of throw away lines that suggest a barbed sense of humour that no one else quite gets.”

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