Oz Campaign Mocks Fetterman For Agreeing To ‘SECRET Debate’

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Grayson Quay News & Opinion Editor
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The communications director for Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz mocked Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Wednesday after the Democrat agreed to a debate without specifying when or where it would take place.

“Let’s be clear – Dr. Oz’s campaign won’t agree to a SECRET debate. It has to be a REAL one with REAL journalists asking REAL questions. Sorry John – imaginary debates don’t count!” Brittany Yanick, Oz’s communications director, said in a statement, according to CNN.

Fetterman agreed to the debate in an interview with Politico published earlier Wednesday. “We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that,” the Democrat said in the interview. “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, who suffered a stroke in May and has struggled with slurred speech during recent public appearances, added that he expects the debate to take place “sometime in the middle to end of October,” according to the interview.

After returning to the campaign trail on Aug. 12, Fetterman turned down Oz’s request for a series of five debates. On Aug. 30, Fetterman pulled out of another televised debate that had been scheduled for Sept. 6. In response, Yannick called Fetterman “a liar, a liberal, and a coward.” During his interview with Politico, Fetterman criticized Oz for “mocking somebody that’s dealing with a major health challenge.”

The Oz campaign isn’t alone in suggesting that Fetterman’s stroke might impact his ability to perform the duties of the office he’s seeking. The editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette argued Monday that if Fetterman “is not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator.”

Outgoing Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday that, while he was “not unsympathetic” to Fetterman’s plight, the would-be senator “will not be able to do the job” if he cannot communicate effectively.

Fetterman has led Oz in the polls throughout the campaign. On Aug. 18, the Cook Political Report shifted the Pennsylvania Senate race from “toss-up” to “lean Democrat.”

The general election candidates debated twice each during the 2016 and 2018 Pennsylvania Senate races, NBC News notes.