John Fetterman was forced into agreeing to a debate that is finally going to take place on Tuesday. But he put it off as long as he could — until October 25 — so a lot of people would have voted already by that point, via early voting.
You know that the Democrats likely didn’t want to put him out there because his gaffes have already caused the race to tighten now to a dead heat with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz. After Oz had been trailing by double digits, he’s now made up all that difference. The strategy was to semi-hide Fetterman and his problems but it’s not working.
I reported four days ago that the race was now a tie, and then there was another poll even after that one that had Oz pulling ahead, by 4.5 points. That poll from Wick has Oz up — 49.1 percent to 44.6 percent, with 3.4 percent voting for someone else and 2.9 percent undecided. Perhaps most telling, among the undecided, Oz is leading 59 percent to 41 percent. So if there’s a direction that those folks are going to be breaking, if that poll is accurate, it sounds like it’s going to be toward Oz. Fetterman is still up 2.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics average, but there’s no doubt now that Oz can win.
Now, the Fetterman team is doing all they can to play down any expectations for Fetterman in the debate with a memo that they just released to the media. So you know they know it’s going to be a mess.
The memo is hilarious, telling media that they want to “be clear” that “Dr. Oz has been a professional TV personality for the last two decades” and “this isn’t John’s format.” What is John’s format? No one seems to have found exactly what his “format” is yet, since he’s gaffed in so many formats. The Fetterman folks claimed that Oz is coming into the debate with a “huge built-in advantage.”
In a memo sent to reporters, the Fetterman campaign seeks to lower expectations for tomorrow’s debate with Oz: “We’ll admit — this isn’t John’s format … if we’re all being honest, Oz clearly comes into Tuesday night with a huge built-in advantage.” pic.twitter.com/21CCMGGvbI
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) October 24, 2022
Now, it’s true that Oz became a successful television personality, not to mention a cardiothoracic surgeon. He also was a professor emeritus and taught at Columbia University Medical Center. He even has been involved in inventing cardiac surgical devices such as the transformative Mitraclip to deal with mitral valve regurgitation. So yes, he has an advantage over Fetterman because he’s the smarter, better candidate with cognitive ability.
But it’s sort of hilarious that the Fetterman people are now trying to build him up to blunt the coming disaster their guy is going to face. They’re even attacking those who will write about the debate in advance saying they know there are going to be viral videos because of “awkward pauses, missing some words, and mushing some words together.” Yes, because he has some basic issues of understanding and communication — that’s a problem if you’re running for Senate. We have every right to talk about that and let people know that that’s an issue, although the Fetterman people want to pretend it isn’t.
Oz may speak on television and he may have been a professor, but he hasn’t been a professional politician like Fetterman has been. Indeed, that’s the only “job” that Fetterman has had; he’s spent most of his life living off his parents, unlike Oz. So one would think with all his “experience,” he would have political accomplishments. Except he left Braddock worse than when he found it when he was finished being mayor, and he skipped out on a good part of his job as Lt. Gov. of Pennsylvania.
The memo closes by claiming that Fetterman will “win this race — even if he doesn’t win the debate.” So they’re conceding in advance he’s likely to lose. Not a good look in a race that’s neck and neck. It indicates they know they’re about to get swept sideways in the debate. And it wouldn’t just be that, as Oz is likely now to take him in the election as well.