Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, and Dr. Mehmet Oz on stage during their Oct. 25, 2022, debate at the studios of WHTM-TV in Harrisburg. On their only argument before Election day, Nov. 5, Fetterman sharply disagreed with Oz over abortion, the economy, and other partisan issues. After five months of stroke, he tried to reassure voters about his fitness to serve. He struggled at times to articulate his views.
Pennsylvania’s two leading Senate candidates stood at red and blue lecterns in a television studio in Harrisburg on Tuesday. Dr. Oz returned repeatedly to the issue of crime while trying to position himself as a centrist candidate. Mr. Fetterman slashed Dr. Oz as a wealthy outsider unfamiliar with the economic struggles of Pennsylvanians. He pledged to fight for working people.
Dr. Oz, a retired cardiothoracic surgeon and former TV personality, and Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor and former mayor of Braddock had a tight contest. Both of them had highs and lows as they slugged it out for an hour for TV cameras broadcasting to most of the state.
After his stroke Fetterman’s words were frequently halting and he was delaying to read questions, and to answer them. Mr. Fetterman sought to address the issue at the very start. “Let’s also talk about the elephant in the room: I had a stroke,” he said in his opening remarks, adding of his opponent, “He’ll never let me forget that.”
The Key Takeways
- Dr. Oz, the Republican nominee, and a former television personality, displayed sharpness and comfort in front of the camera. From the opening minutes, he seized the chance to tack to the center of the debate, casting himself as a problem-fixing surgeon and labeling Mr. Fetterman repeatedly as a radical. But Fetterman still exceeded expectations.
- Fetterman was asked to release his complete medical records. He responded that he stands by that. “Transparency is about showing up,” he said.
- Oz was asked whether he would vote for or against South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks nationwide. He replied that he did not support federal legislation regulating abortion, adding it should be left to the states.
“I want women, doctors, local political leaders living the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves,” Oz said on this issue.
The debate was arranged under unfavorable conditions. Two 70-inch monitors were situated above the moderators. The text of what was being said in close to real-time — for both questions and answers was shown there. Professional typists were on hand to try to transcribe the debate.