MITT Romney, the Republican candidate for president of the US, has compounded his reputation for verbal gaffes by questioning why jet airliners do not have windows that open.
During a $6m fundraising event in California, Mr Romney brought up an incident at the weekend when his wife's aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing.
He mused that she would have coped better if she was able to breathe outside air during the fire.
"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," Mr Romney said, according to the LA Times. "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. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she's safe and sound."
The plane suffered an electrical failure and was forced to make an emergency landing.
Experts pointed out that opening a window would provide oxygen to fuel the fire and a loss of cabin pressure that could rip the fusilage apart.
Mr Romney was struggling to fend off criticism of leaked remarks that 47 per cent of Americans who did not pay taxes were dependent on the state and would vote for President Barack Obama.
Off-topic remarks run in the family.
The presidential bid by his father George Romney, once governor of Michigan, ended soon after he declared that he had returned from a trip to Vietnam "brainwashed" by the military.
By Damien McElroy Telegraph.co.uk