Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee in the state’s high-profile U.S. Senate contest, on Wednesday said he’ll debate Republican rival Mehmet Oz after a Pennsylvania newspaper questioned if he was not fit enough for office.
Fetterman has previously said he would not take part in a suggested early September debate, citing his ongoing recovery from a stroke in May and offense at a statement by Oz’s campaign which, in an apparent mocking tone, alluded to the Democrat’s health.
Oz’s campaign offered to make concessions for Fetterman in a bid to entice him to agree to a debate, among which included allowing him to read from notes, have extra time, and have standby medical help.
“We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that. 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 said in an exclusive interview with Politico.
Fetterman noted that his team was “exploring” using closed captioning to aid his hearing, which has been a recurring issue since he rejoined the campaign trail in August after his stroke in May.
“I have every ability to talk about all of these issues and have a full debate. And that’s really just the one lingering issue of the stroke—that some of my hearing was damaged a little bit, but it’s continuing to get better and better and better every day.”
Newspaper Editorial Questions Fetterman’s Ability to Serve as a US Senator
The Pittsburg Post-Gazzette on Tuesday noted that a live debate would “assure” voters that Fetterman is “up to the job.”
The newspaper’s editorial board suggested the Democrat’s campaign has been “optimistic” about the U.S. Senate candidate’s recovery from his stroke in May.