John Fetterman-Mehmet Oz debate: Democrat says stroke knocked him down but won’t hold him back

Democrat John Fetterman’s post-stroke auditory processing challenges were highlighted Tuesday during his first and only debate against Republican Mehmet Oz for the Senate.

Reading the moderators’ questions on large screens with captioning, Mr Fetterman immediately sought to answer what he called “the elephant in the room”.

“I had a stroke, he never let me forget that,” Mr Fetterman said, alluding to Mr Oz. “I might miss a few words during this debate, smash a few rods together, but it blew me away and I’ll keep coming back.”

“This campaign to me is about fighting for everyone in Pennsylvania who has ever been knocked down and needs to get back up,” he said.

As Mr. Fetterman had predicted, he often stumbled over words and spoke in incomplete sentences that were sometimes interrupted.

Mr. Oz, meanwhile, said he planned to bring civility back to Washington and said the race was about Mr. Fetterman’s radical vision.

“John Fetterman takes everything to extremes, and those extreme positions hurt us all,” he said.

The 60-minute showdown in Harrisonburg, Pa., was one of the most anticipated debates of the 2022 midterm election cycle, pitting Mr. Fetterman, bald, tattooed and 6ft 8in tall, against the famous doctor of Trump-backed television. .

It turned out to be a stark contrast in styles – and political views – between two men who first met on Tuesday.

The race between Mr. Fetterman, 53, and Mr. Oz, 62, to replace retired Republican Senator Pat Toomey is seen as the best bet Democrats have to flip a U.S. Senate seat.

The wind was at Mr. Fetterman’s back until mid-summer, when the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, began running ads attacking Mr. Fetterman for his softness on crime.

Mr Oz echoed that line of attack at the start of the debate, telling viewers that he was accompanied by the widow of a police officer recently killed in the line of duty.

“John Fetterman, during this crime wave, tried to get as many murderers – convicted and sentenced to life – out of jail as possible – including people similar to the man who murdered her husband. “, said Mr. Oz.

The race is now being billed as a toss-up with polls showing Mr. Fetterman and Mr. Oz in a neck and neck contest.


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