Debate Recap: What Did We Just See?

Fetterman, Oz On Debate Stage

The highly anticipated U.S. Senate debate between Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman left many wondering what they just saw.

And what it all means.

Viewers saw the struggles that Fetterman had with the effects of his stroke. The lieutenant governor had difficulties piecing together his thoughts into coherent sentences. The halting nature of his responses, along with the lack of substance, gave room for doubt as to his overall health and ability to serve in the Senate.

“The most painful political debate I have ever watched,” said political consultant Chris Nicholas. “It was difficult for a regular undecided voter to get past Fetterman’s impediments to even analyze the content of his comments.”

On the flip side, viewers heard Oz speed through many well-rehearsed talking points that always ended with a glancing blow at his opponent. The celebrity doctor would address the question briefly, then pivot to what he wanted to talk about – mostly attacking Fetterman.

“Well, Fetterman did stumble,” said political commentator Terry Madonna. “He was not always clear. His answers were brief and not complete. Oz did not attack his health. He was more specific. The evening was replete with constant attacks.”

 

Fetterman appeared to be able to follow the questioning from moderators Dennis Owens of WHTM and Lisa Sylvester of WPXI, but had difficulties articulating his answers and occasionally mixed up his choice of words.

At one juncture, he was asked to explain his previous opposition to fracking – an industry he now says he supports.

“I do support fracking,” Fetterman started, before halting, and then adding, “I support fracking, and I stand, and I do support fracking.”

Oz attempted to make his move down the center lane politically but often times did not provide an answer to the moderator’s questions.

He said that a $15 minimum wage was not high enough but followed by stating that it would drive small businesses to close. Oz declined to say if he would have supported a bipartisan gun safety law signed this summer and dodged a direct answer three times on whether he would have voted for Lindsey Graham’s national abortion bill.

“I want women, doctors, local political leaders letting the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves,” Oz said.

“If you believe that the choice for abortion belongs between you and your doctor, that’s what I fight for,” Fetterman said. “Roe v. Wade, for me, should be the law.”

Both candidates were asked about their support of the 2020 presidential candidates, should they have a rematch in 2024.

Oz first stated that “I’ll support whoever the Republican Party puts up,” but added to that he would “support Donald Trump if he decided to run for president.” Fetterman said that if Joe Biden “does choose to run, I would absolutely support him.”

“I have thought from the beginning that Oz should focus on Fetterman’s policies not his health,” said Blake Gober, political strategist with TLC Political in Virginia. “Tonight I think showcased that he could win by attacking his policies. However, tonight also showed that the attacks on his health aren’t far off. Fetterman’s ‘response’ on fracking should be cut into a TV ad and broadcast non-stop by every entity supporting Dr. Oz. I honestly thought – and bet a friend – that Oz would lose by 2-6 percent. I now think Oz will win and probably by 4-6%.”

Fetterman declined to commit to releasing more information from his physician about his stroke, saying only that his doctor believes he is fit to serve full time.

Asked if agreeing to a rapid-fire format was wise, campaign communications director Joe Calvello said, “It might not be, but the people of Pennsylvania deserve a debate, and we weren’t gonna complain. … We came to roll with it, and we did pretty damn well.”

“Tonight’s performance may raise doubts in voters minds as to whether (Fetterman) can handle fast-paced environment of the Senate,” said political scientist Sam Chen. “Additionally, since he wasn’t granted additional time, the time he lost searching for words seemingly prevented him from getting all his thoughts out in time. Voters seemed to hear more complete answers from Oz than Fetterman and part of that may be contributed to this. At the end of the day, neither candidate hit a home run, but Oz may have gained a little ground on Fetterman. Without a home run, though, the question will be whether it’s enough ground to catch Fetterman by next month.”

Fetterman has not trailed in any survey since the May primary and holds a 3.5 percentage point edge over Oz in an average of the five most recent polls in the Commonwealth.

12 Responses

  1. Hoe many poverty-stricken, passed-over, down-on-their-luck communities have each candidate worked in and lived in to try and improve?
    Fett: 1
    Oz: 0
    How many years have each candidate spend living in said communities?
    Fett: 10
    Oz: 0
    Who funded all the years spend living in said communities:
    Fett: Self/family
    Oz: Not applicable.

    Bonus question: What was the candidate who did not spend time in abandoned communities doing? Hawking snake-oil treatments on television, kissing his own star in Hollywood, etc., etc.

  2. Fedderman is FRIGHTENING. It’s beyond his sad medical issues. Fedderman is a fraud and a liar- but criminals support him enthusiastically. As a lifelong dem- I don’t have to like Trump or That nut Doug – to find Fetterman reprehensible. Oz isn’t perfect for sure but he is lucid, far better on many issues- but not a radically ill Fedderman. We need true democrats- not filth like Fedderman. He is simply wrong on issues and incapable of representing our. state.

  3. Doc Oz is really a RINO but will vote for anything to preserve his own influence and power. He’s a TV star, so of course, he performs well in a televised debate. His core base won’t think deeply about anything so they will never see the truth there.

    Fetterman obviously still suffers while constructing speech but clearly maintains the commitment to his values. While poorly displayedin the debate, his platform will focus on making meaningful changes for working people.

    Both parties are now all for energy in PA and what is crazy to understand…the DEMS are now stronger on natural gas incentives than the GOP.

    My 2 cents, the republicans are now more concerned with propping up old fashion traditions than they are about making real-world policies to make our lives better. The GOP is catering to the Green-Taylor wackos than true conservative values and solutions.

    DEMS are now the lesser of the two evils. GOP is outright extremist today.

  4. My grandfather suffered a stroke when I was young. He struggled to make himself understood to adults but I remember at age 6-7 being able to understand exactly what he was saying and I looked at my parents and other adults like they were the ones with the problem. His mind was still sharp. Fetterman has my vote. If Fetterman feels he needs to step down at some point over the next few years I’ll be glad it will be Josh Shapiro filling the vacancy. So this PA republican is voting for Shapiro/Fetterman.

    1. Who the hell are the activist dems trying to convince some normal republican leaning mom is tuning into an inside baseball political site and being swayed by Fetterman’s “mainstream” middle road positions.

      You guys don’t have the cajones to admit when you are far left activists. You hide behind a veil of normalcy and then tell everyone your positions are what America and PA want.

      What a joke.

  5. Fetterman obviously isn’t over his stroke. He should have brought more of the millions carpetbagger Oz made off of his bogus cures. My aunt bought thousands of dollars of his crap and it did her absolutely no good.

  6. For all the posturing of what did people see, Politics PA seems to come down very negatively against Fetterman. Must be what passes for GOP “fairness” these sad days.

    1. Pr maybe he’s a stuttering invalid who couldn’t get a point across and he actually is getting negative press for once in his life.

      Remember that interviewer a few weeks ago who was harassed and cancelled because she said he couldn’t understand questions? Remember the press freaked on her and called her a liar?

      Now we all see it was true.

      He shouldn’t be a US Senator. He should focus on his recovery and then he can get back to promoting his failed ideas next election.

  7. Still voting for Fetterman. Not voting for anyone who supports Trump after the January 6th riots. Boggles my mind why anyone thinks Republicans are for law and order.

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