Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman’s struggles were apparent at Tuesday’s U.S. Senate debate with Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, suffered a stroke days before the Democrat primary in May and has struggled with his words ever since. After facing intense pressure from local and national newspapers like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Washington Post, Fetterman finally agreed to debate Oz.
The much-anticipated showdown took place Tuesday night in Harrisburg, where moderators immediately announced that both candidates had access to closed captioning as Fetterman requested it “to help him process the questions.”
Fetterman’s struggles persisted throughout the hour-long debate as he fought through awkward pauses and struggled with words. The trouble for Fetterman started while responding to the first question when he said,” “Hi, goodnight, everybody.”
ABC27's Dennis Owens: "What qualifies you to be a U.S. Senator?"
John Fetterman: "Hi, goodnight, everybody. I'm running to serve Pennsylvania. [@DrOz] is running to use Pennsylvania. Here's a man that spent more than $20 million…to try to buy that seat." #PASen pic.twitter.com/RPyXN8H6Tb
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 26, 2022
Later, while speaking about his record on crime as the mayor of Braddock, Fetterman made several gaffes:
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 real doctors that I believe in, they all believe that I’m ready to be serve,” Fetterman stated at one point.
“I believe, I believe that a secure border is, can be compatible with compassion,” Fetterman said while speaking of illegal aliens. “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.’”
This is awful. Shame on Fetterman’s entire team & family for pushing him through this race.
Let this man go home & get some rest. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. pic.twitter.com/ggMx2n1WrW
— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) October 26, 2022
Fetterman previously noted he was dealing with an “auditory processing” issue as a result of the stroke, and on October 15, his primary care physician noted that he continues to exhibit “Auditory Processing Disorder symptoms.”
WebMD states that those with ADP “have a hard time hearing small sound differences in words.”
“Someone says, ‘Please raise your hand,’ and you hear something like ‘Please haze your plan,’” an example of APD on the website reads.
While appearing on MSNBC’s 11th Hour in August, Fetterman told Stephanie Ruhle, “it’s just basic auditory processing, and there is [sic] expecting to have full recovery over the next several months.”