Washington Post Calls On John Fetterman To Debate ‘More Than Once’ As Candidate Continues To Duck Oz

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Washington Post Editorial Board called on Democratic Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman to debate Republican opponent Mehmet Oz at least twice in a column published Monday.

Fetterman has eased back into campaigning after suffering a stroke in March. Although he has held rallies, Fetterman has struggled to speak at times, and the campaign acknowledges that he is continuing with therapy. The Democrat has declined the Oz campaign’s request for five debates, and also declined to participate in a debate proposed by a Pittsburgh CBS affiliate, according to NBC News.

“Mr. Fetterman is asking voters for a six-year contract without giving them enough information to make sound judgments about whether he’s up for such a demanding job. We have called for full disclosure of health records from candidates for federal office in both parties, including Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and we believe Mr. Fetterman should release his medical records for independent review,” the Editorial Board wrote.

The campaign did not disclose the full extent of Fetterman’s health condition, first saying that he suffered the stroke due to atrial fibrillation. Fetterman later revealed that he was first treated for a heart condition in 2017, and “almost died” as a result of the stroke. The candidate also suffers from cardiomyopathy and a decreased heart pump. (RELATED: John Fetterman Attends Ritzy Hamptons Fundraiser While Continuing To Duck Debates)

“The Fetterman campaign squandered credibility by concealing from the public for two days after his stroke that he had been hospitalized,” the Editorial Board added.

Fetterman has run a primarily online campaign, using celebrities to troll Oz for being from New Jersey. He has instead used his wife, Gisele, and Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. as surrogates. In response, the Oz campaign has called out Fetterman’s diet, with a spokesperson saying he might not have had a stroke if he “had ever eaten a vegetable in his life.”

Those comments were “made worse by the fact that Mr. Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon. Both candidates have something to prove to voters, and there is no better forum than a debate,” according to the Editorial Board.

During several campaign appearances, Fetterman has slurred his words at times and appeared to lose his train of thought. He pledged to debate Oz in mid-to-late October, by which time his recovery will be further along, according to Politico.

Fetterman leads Oz by 6.5 points in the RealClearPolitics average. Polls have shown Fetterman ahead of Oz by as many as 13 points and as few as four.