This past Wednesday, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman made the promise that he will be having a debate with his opponent, Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz.
In the wake of suffering a stroke just days before the primary election in the commonwealth, Fetterman has trudged and slurred his speech throughout many public appearances while his campaign group dodges questions about whether or not Fetterman will actually debate his rival. In an interview that was carried out with Politico, Fetterman affirmed that he does want to go up on the debate stage against Oz.
“We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that,” Fetterman stated. “It was just simply only ever been about addressing some of the lingering issues of the stroke, the auditory processing, and we’re going to be able to work that out.”
Fetterman did not entirely specify any of the details concerning the possible future debate, although he stated to the periodical that it will take place “sometime in the middle or end of October” and will be hosted by a “major television station” in his state. He went on to add that his entire campaign is still looking into the use of a closed captioning monitor to ensure he does not miss any important details.
“We’re just exploring that,” he expressed. “I have every ability to talk about all of these issues and have a full debate. And that’s really just the one lingering issue of the stroke — that some of my hearing was damaged a little bit, but it’s continuing to get better and better and better every day.”
Oz himself also noticed and made sure to highlight the extreme lack of details. “We keep hearing that the Fetterman campaign is in debate talks with networks,” expressed the TV cardiologist via a post on social media. “What networks? He won’t say. What terms? He won’t say. John Fetterman sure has a lot of people speaking for him, but does very little speaking himself.”
Fetterman stated in July to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he felt “really good” and has zero “physical limits.” Yet the editorial board for the outlet questioned the fitness of the man as part of an opinion piece put forth on Tuesday.
“If Mr. Fetterman’s communication skills have not yet recovered sufficiently to effectively debate his opponent, many voters will have concerns about his ability to represent them effectively in Washington,” stated the members of the editorial board. “While he has gamely undertaken more campaign events and media interviews in recent weeks, Mr. Fetterman still speaks haltingly and relies on closed captioning to fully understand his conversation partners.”
The board also highlighted the entirely unpredictable nature of the recovery process for strokes. “Mr. Fetterman’s campaign asserts confidently that he will make a full recovery, and that he is doing the hard work — including speech therapy — to accelerate that recovery,” stated the article. “The campaign’s early predictions proved optimistic; the more recent predictions of ‘several months’ to a ‘complete recovery’ may prove optimistic, too.”