Fetterman flubs his sole debate in Pennsylvania's Senate race
John Fetterman obviously hoped that by lowering expectations for last night's debate with Dr. Oz and by having a closed captioning system with two 70-inch monitors, he could convince Pennsylvania voters that he is healthy enough to discharge the duties of U.S. senator. But he equally obviously failed.
He opened his remarks with an inappropriate greeting: "Hi. Goodnight, everybody."
Fetterman opens the debate:— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 26, 2022
"Hi. Good night everybody." pic.twitter.com/mg0X3Iwf5D
...and went on to quickly acknowledge his stroke and portray himself as the plucky underdog:
John Fetterman’s Opening Statement: "Let's also talk about the elephant in the room. I had a stroke. He never let me forget that. pic.twitter.com/rqFwk850hV— PoliticsVerse 🇺🇸 (@PoliticsVerse) October 26, 2022
Although he accused Oz of never letting him forget his stroke, the physician candidate never once brought the subject up in the debate.
However, Fetterman's performance was bad enough that even the partisan media were forced to acknowledge his poor presentation. Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times:
Mr. Fetterman's words were frequently halting, and it was apparent when he was delayed in either reading or reaching for a phrase or word. But he was also fluent enough over the course of the hour to present his Democratic vision for a state that could determine control of the Senate.
Dr. Oz, the Republican nominee and a former television personality, displayed a sharpness and comfort honed by years in front of the camera. And from the opening minutes, he seized the chance to tack to the political center, casting himself as a problem-fixing surgeon and labeling Mr. Fetterman repeatedly as a radical. (snip)
Mr. Fetterman was able to reel off some made-for-TV one-liners, though he had difficulty going into greater depth over the course of full one-minute answers.
Even worse, Time Magazine writer Charlotte Alter, who prior to the debate did her utmost to lower expectations for Fetterman, admitted that "he was much much worse than I expected."
My take all in one place:— Charlotte Alter (@CharlotteAlter) October 26, 2022
1) Fetterman was already a very bad debater pre-stroke
2) I spoke to him recently, and his communication in our one-on-one conversation was much clearer than what we saw tonight
Perhaps the lowest point of the debate came when Fetterman was confronted with his earlier categorical statements opposing fracking (a major industry in Pennsylvania with growth potential) and asked to explain his claim to support it now. His impairment as well as his lying were both evident:
Another major flub was when Fetterman said he does "not believe in supporting the Supreme Court."
JOHN FETTERMAN: "I do not believe in supporting the Supreme Court." pic.twitter.com/gZTAO4f0DS— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 26, 2022
Dr. Oz's weakest point was when he was pressed on whether he would support a bill by Sen. Lindsey Graham that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks' gestation.
In an echo of the language used by supporters of abortion rights, Dr. Mehmet Oz on Tuesday said he too believes the question of whether to terminate a pregnancy is best left to a woman and her doctor — but then he continued, adding a third party: state politicians.
Thank you, Dr Oz, for saying the quiet part out loud. It’s exactly what the recent Supreme Court ruling and State anti-abortion laws are saying. Politicians trying to make major healthcare decisions based on religious preferences. Vote Fetterman. https://t.co/01GTdLitfO— Barry Walsh 🇺🇦 (@barelywashed) October 26, 2022
Fetterman made it clear that his impairment is serious enough to hamper his ability to perform the role of U.S. senator. If the polls showing a close race are accurate, this performance should elect Dr. Oz to the Senate.
Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab.