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Election 2022

‘This Isn’t John’s Format’: Fetterman Campaign Already Making Excuses Ahead Of Debate With Oz

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The campaign for Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is already making excuses for his debate with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, telling reporters that Fetterman might lose because “this isn’t John’s format.”

The memo comes shortly after the news that Fetterman required “unconventional” needs due to “lingering auditory processing issues” resulting from his stroke in May in order to participate in an interview with NBC News reporter Dasha Burns. According to Burns, Fetterman even struggled with simple “small talk” before the interview started.

“We’ll admit—this isn’t John’s format,” Fetterman’s campaign said in a memo sent to reporters on Monday. “Let’s be clear about this match-up: Dr. Oz has been a professional TV personality for the last two decades.”

“John is ready to share his vision for Pennsylvania, defend his record, and make the case against Oz,” the message said. “He’s going to be talking about his real ideas to help real people.”

The memo addressed Fetterman’s struggles with speech and other auditory issues, which have raised questions about his mental fitness for office.

“We are prepared for Oz’s allies and right-wing media to circulate malicious viral videos after the debate that try to paint John in a negative light because of awkward pauses, missing some words, and mushing other words together,” the email said. “John has had a remarkable recovery, but the ongoing auditory processing challenges are real. The campaign insisted on closed captioning technology because it’s necessary.”

“He is a unique candidate with a strong personal brand that transcends partisanship,” the email added. “That’s what voters are going to see on the debate stage, and it’s why John is going to win this race — even if he doesn’t win the debate.”

After his stroke in May, Fetterman stayed off the campaign trail and spent months dodging debates with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Fetterman’s refusal to debate led to his hometown newspaper publishing an editorial questioning his “ability to serve.”

The editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Fetterman’s “obvious struggles” with speech raises “legitimate concerns” about his health and fitness for office.

“If Mr. Fetterman is not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator,” the editorial board wrote. “Voters have a right to know whether their prospective senator can do the job—including handling the give-and-take of a vigorous debate.”

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