Oz campaign again mocks Fetterman’s health in Pennsylvania Senate race

Democratic frontrunner refuses debate with TV doctor, saying: ‘Dr Oz’s team … think it is funny to mock a stroke survivor’

John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for US Senate in Pennsylvania, said he would not debate Mehmet Oz next week, after the Republican’s campaign mocked his health again.

“Dr Oz’s team … think it is funny to mock a stroke survivor,” Fetterman said.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May and returned to the campaign trail this month. He leads Oz by about nine points in polls.

Oz, a heart surgeon, made his name as a TV doctor (who admitted in Senate testimony to promoting diet pills which “don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact”). His campaign has chosen to question Fetterman’s health. On Tuesday, it invited the Democrat to a debate next week.

The campaign said: “Dr Oz promises not to intentionally hurt John’s feelings at any point. We will allow John to have all of his notes in front of him along with an earpiece so you can have the answers given to him by his staff in real time.

“At any point John Fetterman can raise his hand and say bathroom break … We will pay for any additional medical personnel who might need to have on standby.”

Fetterman said: “As I recover from this stroke and improve my auditory processing and speech, I look forward to continuing to meet with the people of Pennsylvania.

“Today’s statement from Dr Oz’s team made it abundantly clear that they think it is funny to mock a stroke survivor. My recovery may be a joke to Dr Oz and his team, but it’s real for me.”

Fetterman also said he was “proud of my record as mayor [of Braddock] and as lieutenant governor and I’m eager to put my record and my values up against Dr Oz’s any day of the week”.

He looked forward, he said, to “a productive discussion about how we can move forward and have a real conversation [about debates] once Dr Oz and his team are ready to take this seriously”.

Oz distanced himself from the debate invite, telling KDKA, a Pittsburgh radio station: “The campaign has been saying lots of things.

“My position – and I can only speak to what I’m saying – is that John Fetterman should be allowed to recover fully and I will support his ability, as someone who’s gone through a difficult time, to get ready.”

Oz’s campaign has indeed been saying lots of things.

Last week, responding to Fetterman’s mockery of a video in which Oz complained about the price of crudités, a senior adviser said: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.”

Fetterman said: “I had a stroke. I survived it. I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could never imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.”


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Pundits divided over Fetterman’s performance in key Senate debate
Rightwing news outlets and commentators called for candidate to drop out of race while campaign said it raised $1m on back of event

Ed Pilkington in New York

26, Oct, 2022 @3:57 PM

Article image
Fetterman’s health at center of US Senate race in Pennsylvania as Oz fights to close gap
Democratic Senate nominee says he hopes supporters don’t ‘have a doctor in your life making fun of it’ amid questions over stroke

Martin Pengelly

23, Sep, 2022 @4:12 PM

Article image
John Fetterman’s rise from small-town mayor to Pennsylvania senator
The unconventional senator-elect who ‘bet on the people of Pennsylvania’ and won will now head to Washington and sit in a deeply divided Congress

Adam Gabbatt in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

10, Nov, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Fetterman defeats Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race, giving Democrats a boost
Victory overturns a Republican-held Senate seat and increases his party’s chances of retaining control of chamber

Adam Gabbatt in Pittsburgh

09, Nov, 2022 @7:30 AM

Article image
Josh Shapiro wins Pennsylvania governor race in blow to Trump
Doug Mastriano, the extremist Republican candidate whose hardline positions failed to gain ground, was a favorite of the ex-president

Adam Gabbatt in Pittsburgh

09, Nov, 2022 @6:46 AM

Article image
‘TV is like a poll’: Trump endorses Dr Oz for Pennsylvania Senate nomination
Former president enthuses about TV doctor in statement and at rally but many on far right doubt conservative credentials

Martin Pengelly in New York

10, Apr, 2022 @3:13 PM

Article image
Pittsburgh Jews decry pro-Israel group’s support for Republican extremists
Aipac is spending millions to oppose Democrat who would be Pennsylvania’s first Black female member of Congress

Chris McGreal

03, Nov, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
Fetterman hits back at Oz for ‘vegetable’ remark: ‘Politics can be nasty’
Aide to TV doctor and Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz said Fetterman could have avoided stroke by eating more vegetables

Martin Pengelly in New York

24, Aug, 2022 @8:06 PM

Article image
Shapiro: ‘Dangerous’ Republican rival Mastriano could override will of voters
Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania governor says if Mastriano wins he could wield power to choose his own slate of electors and overturn presidential election results

Ed Pilkington in New York

22, May, 2022 @7:45 PM

Article image
The key races to watch in the 2022 US midterms
Control of the Senate could hang on results in a handful of states while votes for governor and secretary of state could affect the conduct of future elections

David Smith in Washington

08, Nov, 2022 @3:50 PM