Last Updated on October 26, 2022
Pennsylvania’s Democrat Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate hopeful John Fetterman struggled to speak during a Tuesday debate with Republican challenger Mehmet Oz. Fetterman has been struggling with speech and motor skills while recovering from a stroke he suffered in May.
Prior to the debate, Fetterman’s camp had requested that both candidates had access to closed captioning. The request was honored, as Fetterman has repeatedly stated that he has struggle with speaking and processing statements. The Senate hopeful has at times used a computer program to help with processing his thoughts.
Fetterman’s camp had also declined several prior debate requests, agreeing only to the October 25 showdown well into the mail-in voting window.
“Hi. Good night everybody,” Fetterman said while answering his first question of the debate.
Fetterman opens the debate:
"Hi. Good night everybody." pic.twitter.com/mg0X3Iwf5D
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 26, 2022
Fetterman went on to struggle with pauses and slurred, awkward speech throughout the hour-long debate. “I was able to stop gun violence for five and half years as mayor — ever accomplished before or since my time as mayor because I’m the only person on this stage right now that has successful about pushing against gun violence and being the community more safe,” the senate hopeful said while defending his “criminal justice reform” policies.
“The real doctors that I believe in, they all believe that I’m ready to be serve,” Fetterman stated at another point.
“I believe, I believe that a secure border is, can be compatible with compassion,” Fetterman said while speaking on immigration. “I believe that we need a bipartisan solution for immigration — that’s what I believe. I don’t ever recall in the Statue of Liberty that they say, ‘Take our tired huddled masses and put them on a bus and use cheap political stunts about them.’”
Fetterman: "I'm the only person on this stage right now that has– successful about pushing back against gun violence and being the community more safe." pic.twitter.com/teVBIehOLA
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) October 26, 2022
Fetterman’s condition was a matter of concern even among several prominent left-wing pundits. “John Fetterman’s ability to communicate is seriously impaired. Pennsylvania voters will be talking about this obvious fact even if many in the media will not,” said MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
General public opinion also seemed to heavily side with Oz. According to an online poll conducted by WPXI, 82% of respondents thought Oz was the debate.
RealClearPolitics currently has the race as close to a toss-up. Oz has steadily gained ground after trailing by close to six points as of August.