Democrat John Fetterman stammered by way of his first and solely debate with Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz earlier than the Nov. 8 Senate election in Pennsylvania, repeatedly struggling to present coherent solutions to key questions.
Fetterman’s lingering “auditory processing points” following his Might stroke had been readily obvious through the Harrisburg showdown, the place regardless of debating with the help of two 70-inch TV displays geared up with closed captioning — spelling out the moderators’ questions, and Oz’s responses — it was very unclear what the Keystone State’s lieutenant governor was attempting to say at instances.
Most notably, when pressed on his obvious flip-flopping on fracking within the Keystone State, a frazzled Fetterman didn’t seem to know find out how to reply the query.
“I completely assist fracking,” Fetterman mentioned earlier than the moderator identified a 2018 interview wherein the candidate mentioned he didn’t assist hydraulic fracturing.
“I’ve all the time supported fracking,” Fetterman claimed once more, awkwardly including, “I do assist fracking and — I don’t, I don’t, I assist fracking, and I stand, and I do assist fracking.”
Fetterman was aided by a teleprompter with closed captioning. Greg Nash/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutte
Fetterman’s fracking fumble got here after getting off to a clumsy begin when he opened the talk by saying, “Hello. Good evening, everyone.”
At one other level within the night, when requested if the Biden administration has “overspent” and what he would reduce from the federal price range, Fetterman resorted to an obvious non sequitur.
“Right here’s what I believe now we have to struggle about inflation, right here, proper now. That’s we have to struggle about: inflation proper now,” Fetterman mentioned, earlier than regaining sufficient coherence to name value hikes a “tax” on the working class.
Whereas Fetterman accused Oz of by no means letting him overlook that he had a stroke, which the Democrat acknowledged was the “elephant within the room,” the previous TV speak present host and coronary heart surgeon didn’t deliver it up Tuesday evening.
Fetterman stumbled when requested whether or not he helps fracking. AP
Nonetheless, when debate co-moderator and native information anchor Dennis Owens twice requested Fetterman if he would launch his medical data “within the curiosity of transparency,” the Democrat refused to be pinned down on the query and mentioned that his medical doctors imagine he’s match to serve.
“For me, transparency is about exhibiting up,” Fetterman mentioned in his dodge.
Oz, for his half, was pressed by Owens and fellow moderator Lisa Sylvester about whether or not he would again Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) latest laws outlawing most abortions after 15 weeks of being pregnant. The Republican wouldn’t give a direct reply, however he implied that he wouldn’t assist the invoice — preferring to present states a free hand in setting abortion legislation.
In the meantime, Fetterman repeated that he would assist codifying the Supreme Courtroom’s 1973 Roe v. Wade resolution, which legalized abortion nationwide and was reversed in June
“In the event you imagine the selection of your reproductive freedom belongs with Dr. Oz, that’s your alternative,” he mentioned. “However for those who imagine that the selection for abortion belongs with you and your physician, that’s what I struggle for.”
When the difficulty of the 2024 presidential elections got here up, each candidates reluctantly endorsed their social gathering’s 2020 standard-bearers.
At first, Oz mentioned he would assist “whoever” runs on the GOP ticket in 2024.
“I’ll assist whoever the Republican Celebration places up, and I’ve reached out throughout the aisle on my marketing campaign as a result of I need to deliver steadiness to Washington,” Oz mentioned.
When requested particularly if he would assist former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Oz’s Senate marketing campaign, the Republican gave a firmer response.
Dr. Oz threw his assist behind Donald Trump in 2024.
“I might assist Donald Trump if he determined to run for president,” Oz ultimately conceded, including that he has not adopted the varied authorized battles surrounding the forty fifth president carefully.
Fetterman likewise mentioned he would assist President Biden if he determined to run once more in 2024.
“If he does select to run, I might completely assist him. However finally, that’s finally solely his alternative,” Fetterman mentioned.
After the talk, the Fetterman marketing campaign mentioned that it was “thrilled” with the lieutenant governor’s efficiency and mentioned that the closed captioning system they wished applied for the talk was “full of errors.”
“We’re thrilled with John’s efficiency,” the Democrat’s camp mentioned in an announcement. “He did remarkably nicely tonight – particularly when you think about that he’s nonetheless recovering from a stroke and was working off of delayed captions full of errors.”