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'Hi, Good Night Everybody': Fetterman Struggles To Speak In Debate With Oz

At One Point The Senate Candidate Appeared Unable To Decipher If He Supported Fracking

Pennsylvania Senate Candidate John Fetterman struggled through responses in his only debate with Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz on Tuesday night.

In a Monday email, Fetterman’s campaign appeared to preemptively acknowledge the Senate candidate would struggle through his Tuesday debate with Oz.

Debate moderators noted the Senate candidate required the use of closed captioning (CC) displayed on a screen behind them prior to the debate. MSNBC’s Dasha Burns previously reported on Fetterman’s use of (CC) citing his struggle understanding spoken word following his stroke in May.

“Hi. Good night everybody,” said Fetterman in a rocky opening remark.

“I’m running to serve Pennsylvania. [Oz is] running to use Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said before claiming his opponent consistently lies — referring to it as the “Oz Rule.” Fetterman continued his opening remark amid frequent pauses.

“And let’s also talk about the elephant in the room,” Fetterman continued. “I had a stroke. He’s never let me forget that.”

The Lieutenant Governor continued his previous claim that he might “miss” or “mush” words together as a side-effect of his stroke.

The debate continued with moderators asking the candidates questions about their stance on abortion, inflation, and gas prices. Oz gave relatively standard responses as Fetterman consistently stumbled over words, appearing unable to form complete coherent sentences through a majority of his responses.

At one point, Fetterman responded to a question regarding his stance on fracking to which the candidate appeared unable to decipher if he supported the practice or not.

“I do support fracking and I don’t—” Fetterman appeared to hesitate. “I don’t I support fracking and I stand and I do support fracking.”

At another point, Fetterman’s response seemed to refer to the idea of Americans feeling dignity working full-time jobs and appeared to reference the idea of businesses receiving better tax benefits than individual workers though his response was difficult to understand.

“We all have to make sure that everyone that works is able to that’s the most American bargain that you work full time you should be able to live in dignity as well true,” Fetterman said. “And I believe they haven’t have any businesses being—” the candidate appeared to struggle completing his thought. “You can’t have businesses being subsidized by not paying individuals that just simply can’t evade to pay their own way.”

Earlier in the month, Dr. Clifford Chen, Fetterman’s doctor, said the Senate candidate continues experiencing effects from the stroke involving speech and a delay in response time in his “cognitive ability” though remained sound in his ability to think and reason.

“Overall, Lt. Governor Fetterman is well and shows strong commitment to maintaining good fitness and health practices. He has no work restrictions and can work full duty in public office,” wrote Chen.

Moderators noted Fetterman had not released an extensive medical report leading up to the Tuesday debate citing an apparent lack of transparency. Fetterman doubled down against pushback, claiming transparency was about “showing up.” He noted he was attending the debate and had given speeches in front of large crowds on the campaign trail, insisting his doctor believed he was “fit to serve.”

“My doctor believes I am fit to be serving and I believe that is where I am standing.”

The Senate candidate’s wife tweeted an apparent reference one of Fetterman’s responses though, shortly after the debate: “I don’t recall the Statue of Liberty saying give me your tired, huddled masses and put them on a bus to Massachussetts.”

Gisele Fetterman appeared to edit her husband’s response, which was: “I don’t ever recall in the Statue of Liberty did they say you know take our tired huddled masses and put them on a bus and use cheap political stunts about them. I believe we have to develop a comprehensive and bicartisan solution for immigration—” Fetterman stumbled. “To address our issue here — for immigration here and our nation.”

Fetterman and Oz are running to fill Republican Senator Pat Toomey’s seat after the incumbent announced he would not seek reelection in 2022.

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