The Senate race in Pennsylvania is getting tight, with Dr. Mehmet Oz closing the gap with John Fetterman. The latest numbers had Oz just four points back of Fetterman in the Real Clear Politics average.
Part of the reason for that is that people are seeing more of Fetterman and that’s raising a lot of questions about his health and his ability to serve in the office.
Fetterman had a stroke in May and he has a serious heart condition, cardiomyopathy. But his people have not been transparent about his condition and even the NY Times has noted that the Fetterman team wouldn’t make his doctors available to answer questions about his condition. His team claimed he took a cognitive test, but then they wouldn’t share the data to support the claim or give the media access to the person who performed the test. People were also raising questions about what appeared to be a lump on the back of his neck for which there has been no explanation, but many thought that might be why Fetterman has taken to wearing scarves or neck gaiters.
But we can see he’s suffering from issues, based on multiple occasions of stumbling over remarks. Over the weekend, he had more concerning remarks to a small group that looked like it included union people.
NEW: John Fetterman's latest rally occurred in Scranton last Saturday.
Here are the highlights. pic.twitter.com/3O2ElJeKdi
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 19, 2022
How can they say that’s not a problem? This could be worse than Joe Biden and that’s saying something. Struggling through remarks and making jokes about crudités or Oz living in New Jersey doesn’t make you capable of being a senator. His campaign is now admitting he has an “auditory processing disorder” and you hear him mention it during his remarks at the rally. His spokesperson also admitted that other people are often tweeting from his account on his behalf. So even that is not necessarily him.
At this point, even Democrats are doubting Fetterman.
At his first event — a rally in Erie on Aug. 12 — he stumbled, paused or missed words throughout his nine-minute speech to the discomfort of many in the audience.
“I knew he had had health issues, I did not realize the extent they had affected him,” said a voter at the event, who said he was from the city of Erie and a Democrat.
A week later at a Steelworkers rally in Pittsburgh, Fetterman gave a four-minute speech and stumbled over his words. “What is wrong with demanding for an easy, safe, kind of their income,” he said. “A path to a safe place for them to win… Excuse me… To work?”
On Labor Day, as he spoke for just over two minutes at a rally for Steelworkers in West Mifflin with President Biden in attendance, he often halted or trailed off and offered no comments on policy. “I am going to make it really simple for all of you,” he said, in a riff that was filled with frequent stumbles and awkward pauses, and ended with him confusing New Jersey with Washington DC.
“I can champion the union way of life in Jersey. Excuse me… In DC.”
Democrats who attended that speech said they are becoming uneasy about Fetterman.
“Some tricky, cute tweet coming at the people of Pennsylvania again and again and again, with scarcely a word on substantive issues — if that is all his brain can remember, that is unacceptable,” one Democrat told me. “He seems to think he can ride out the storm and not debate.
Even the Washington Post has been calling for transparency from Fetterman, saying they should release his medical records and that he should debate before voters start casting ballots. They started on Monday, but Fetterman has refused to debate until October 25, clearly trying to buy as much time as possible. One Democrat said, “I think his physical impairments are such that he cannot successfully debate Oz.”
It’s clear why the more people see him, the more the gap closes and the better Oz does.