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Fetterman Says Stroke Will Determine If He Can Debate or Not


Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s Senate campaign says his stroke recovery will determine the conditions under which he would agree to a debate against Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.

The Democrat suffered a stroke and blood clot in May, which has significantly impeded his ability to campaign and give speeches.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrat Candidate John Fetterman Hospitalized After Suffering Blood Clot and Stroke, Vows to Remain in Race

However, Fetterman has vowed to remain in the race.

He has so far not agreed to any of the five debates Oz has been pushing for, including two next week, the Washington Post reports.

"Fetterman's campaign maintains that he is in good health and has no problems engaging in one-on-one conversations but that a 'chaotic auditory environment' may pose a problem," according to the Washington Examiner.

This poses a critical question for Fetterman.

If he's not medically fit to handle a 'chaotic auditory environment' for a debate, what makes him medically fit to govern?

How can Pennsylvania voters trust that Fetterman can handle the duties of being an elected representative if he can't even step on the debate stage?

"We are working to figure out what a fair debate would look like with the lingering impacts of the auditory processing in mind,” Fetterman campaign strategist Rebecca Katz told the Washington Post.

“To be absolutely clear, the occasional issues he is having with auditory processing have no bearing on his ability to do the job as senator. John is healthy and fully capable of showing up and doing the work."

Several videos posted of Fetterman's speeches at campaign events show him occasionally struggling to speak coherently.

From the Washington Examiner:

Oz's campaign has made it a key sticking point to go after Fetterman's health, which they say would significantly impair his ability to conduct his duties as senator.

"John Fetterman needs to stop lying and come clean to Pennsylvanians about his ability to serve in the Senate. If you’re too unhealthy to debate, you are too unhealthy to serve in the U.S. Senate where it can be 10X more intense," a statement from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which backs Oz, said in a statement titled "Coward John Fetterman Still Hiding from Questions."

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On Tuesday, the Oz campaign released a list of mocking "concessions" they would grant to Fetterman in order to debate, including, "Doctor Oz promises not to intentionally hurt John's feelings at any point," "We will allow John to have all his notes in front of him along with an earpiece so he can have the answers given to him by his staff, in real time," and, "We will pay for any additional medical personnel he might need to have on standby."

Following criticism of going after Fetterman's health, Oz responded by distancing himself from his own campaign. "The campaign’s been saying lots of things. My position is — I can only speak to what I’m saying," he said in a radio interview with KDKA when asked if it was appropriate to go after his opponent's health.

Fetterman has reacted strongly to the Oz campaign's attacks on his health, using it as an excuse to refuse to agree to a Sept. 6 debate, according to the Washington Post.

"I survived a stroke. Plenty of others have dealt with health challenges too. Can you imagine if you had a doctor who mocked you for it?" Fetterman said in a tweet.


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