Oz escalates attacks on Fetterman’s health in hostile Pennsylvania Senate race

PHILADELPHIA — Celebrity heart surgeon and Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania on Tuesday expressed doubts about the health of his Democratic opponent, questioning whether John Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke would explain his reluctance to debate. Is.

Oz told reporters at a news conference inside a cramped and divided hotel ballroom here, “John Fetterman is either healthy and he is dodging the debate because he doesn’t want to answer for his radical Left positions, or he Too sick to participate in the debate.” ,

Oz would have preferred to spend the day after Labor Day – the traditional start of the fall general election campaign – in Pittsburgh preparing for his first televised conflict with Fetterman. But Fetterman declined the invitation, citing long-lasting effects from his stroke, such as speech and auditory processing issues, and ridiculed his health prior to the Oz campaign. So Oz instead found himself 300 miles away in a Marriott courthouse with Sen. Pat Tommy, R-Pa, whose decision not to re-election opened the seat he and Fetterman were seeking.

The photos of Oz, Tommy and Fetterman that appeared in previous debates served as props as both men argued that the Democratic nominee was evading tough questions. Fetterman has appeared at a number of public events in recent weeks, including a Labor Day gathering with President Joe Biden, but outside of an MSNBC interview last week, he has taken a few questions from reporters and any debates ahead of November’s general assembly. Do not commit to participate. Election.

“Apart from the character problem of being dishonest, if he really isn’t able to argue, there’s a bigger problem,” Tommy said, noting that Fetterman offered optimistic accounts about his recovery. “As someone who has served in the United States Senate for almost 12 years now, I have a really good understanding of how this space works. If John Fetterman were elected to the Senate, And he is not able to communicate effectively, if he is not able to engage with the press, if he is not able to connect with his colleagues, then he will not be able to work.

In a statement later Tuesday, Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello noted that Democrats marched in a Labor Day parade on Monday and spoke at two events later.

“Anyone who has seen John speak knows that while he is still recovering, he is more capable of fighting for PA than Dr. Oz,” Calvello said. “And anyone who’s seen Dr. Oz speak knows he’s an outright fraud. We’ve said over and over again that we’re ready to debate Oz, and we’re talking with the network, But let’s be clear: this isn’t about arguing. It’s about mocking John for having a stroke because he has nothing else to do, and because he doesn’t want to talk about the fact that Oz wants to ban abortion and believes that all abortion is ‘murder’.”

Tuesday’s news conference came on the same day that the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette raised questions about Fetterman’s reluctance or inability to argue.

“If Mr Fetterman is not good enough to argue with his opponent, it raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator,” the newspaper’s editors wrote.

The editorial board also criticized Oz for his campaign’s “things” that needed Fetterman, along with other snarks, a suggestion that Oz paid the bills for medical personnel in the debate.

Fetterman’s leadership of Oz after the primary elections, despite his limited schedule, is a reflection of how little Oz did to leverage a campaign trail for himself over the summer. But Oz’s aides have been taking a dig at Fetterman’s health for several weeks. An employee—in response to a viral video that showed Oz chopping up the name of a local grocery store while shopping for items to make a crudité, or veggie tray, as more outspoken Pennsylvanians might call it Have – suggested that Fetterman had a stroke because he didn’t eat vegetables.

Oz tries to distance himself from those more edgy tips. When a reporter asked him Tuesday if he would make similar comments to his own patient, Oz shrugged.

“I look forward to having a debate stage critique my campaign by John Fetterman,” Oz replied.

Tuesday’s news conference served other purposes at times, allowing Oz to speak, which he would have preferred to deliver from a larger platform.

In the beginning, Oz spent several minutes portraying Fetterman as soft on the offense and said it would have been his opening statement if Tuesday’s debate in Pittsburgh had gone as scheduled. Oz employs two brothers in his campaign to hammer Fetterman, who were convicted of murder, but granted clemency after one. unanimous vote by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, which he chaired as lieutenant governor. Fetterman has said that the brothers were wrongfully convicted and that “fighting for their release was one of the proudest moments of my career.”

When a reporter asked whether Oz’s statements to Fetterman were a distortion, he replied that the question would be “a wonderful question for a debate forum”.

Answers to other questions Tuesday reflect differences between Oz and Tommy, and between Oz and former President Donald Trump, with whom the GOP candidate rallied over the weekend.

Oz again said that, as a senator, he would not have objected to the certification of the 2020 election won by Joe Biden. Trump has falsely said that the election was stolen from him.

“I wouldn’t have objected to it,” Oz said. “By the time the representatives and those reports were sent to the US Senate, our job was to approve it, which I would have done.”

Trump’s lies about the 2020 consequences fueled the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and his second impeachment. Toomey was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump in that impeachment trial. Oz said Tuesday he would not vote to plead guilty.

“I’m comfortable with my decision, but everyone has to make their own decision,” Tommy said if Oz’s situation bothered him. “I don’t expect everyone to make the same decision.”

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