Stroke-Afflicted Fetterman Agrees To Debate Oz After Bad Press

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September 8, 2022

After mounting pressure from the press, Democratic Pennsylvania Senate hopeful John Fetterman says he will debate his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz after all, Politico reported Wednesday. Fetterman has skipped debates so far this summer to work on his "auditory processing and speech" after suffering a massive stroke.

Fetterman gave few specifics about the debate but said it will "be sometime in the middle to end of October" on a "major television station" in the state. This announcement came the day after Fetterman's hometown newspaper published a scathing editorial stating that Fetterman's refusal to debate raises "legitimate concerns" about his health. "Voters have a right to know whether their prospective senator can do the job—including handling the give-and-take of a vigorous debate," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board said.

"We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that," Fetterman told Politico. "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's campaign is discussing using a closed captioning monitor in the debate to assist Fetterman, who still struggles to quickly process what he hears. In the few public appearances Fetterman has made since his stroke in May, his speech is noticeably slurred and choppy.

As election day approaches, the lieutenant governor is 8 points ahead of Oz in one of the nation's battleground states, according to a FiveThirtyEight