In the wake of his nearly fatal stroke in May, Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman on Wednesday opted not to declare if he would reveal more medical documents, merely indicating that he might do so if his health improved.
Fetterman frequently criticized his GOP opponent Mehmet Oz for refusing to talk with the editorial board during the almost hour-long livestreamed conversation with the PennLive editorial board on Wednesday. Fetterman also revealed the fact that he suffered a stroke. Fetterman defended the brief letter on the candidate’s health that his doctor published in June.
In addition to the fact that the progress I have made is obvious, I would argue that if anything changed, I would have updated that, according to Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.
The best opportunity for Democrats to flip a Senate seat in the equally divided Senate is in the contest between Oz and Fetterman. Recent polling indicates that the contest between the two candidates is becoming more competitive, with Oz reducing the polling lead that Fetterman had throughout the summer.
The race has been mostly marred by Fetterman’s health. After the stroke, the Democrat took two months off from campaigning before cautiously making a comeback with fundraisers and a few interviews. In an effort to cast doubt on Fetterman’s suitability for the position, Oz’s team has used Fetterman’s health. They are betting that voters who have these doubts would support a Republican in November, even in a state that President Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020.
However, a late-September Fox News poll revealed that the majority of Pennsylvania’s registered voters weren’t concerned about Fetterman’s health. 61% of respondents who were asked if they were worried that Fetterman isn’t healthy enough to perform the duties of a senator replied no, compared to 34% who said they were.
Despite a few slip-ups and rephrases throughout the interview on Wednesday, Fetterman talked more confidently and fluidly than ever before, including in recent campaign speeches.
The candidate also admitted that in recent months, his speech has improved.
In May, June, or July, I most definitely could not have sat in front of you, Fetterman remarked.
Fetterman used closed captioning throughout the sit-down interview, as he has done in every interview since his stroke, which he admitted. Additionally, the technology will be available for Fetterman and Oz’s sole debate later this month.
When Fetterman was pressed to withhold additional medical data and asked for a doctor’s certification that he is fit for the position, the Democrat said that this is how he interprets the June letter.
I decided to run for two very different reasons, you know, with two distinct organizations. One, all of the doctors on my team think you’re well enough to go. But even more importantly, my family, my other team, was agreed to do this as well, Fetterman stated, later conceding that doing it in public makes his rehabilitation extra harder.
According to Fetterman, if they didn’t believe I was healthy enough, they most likely wouldn’t have let me want to continue. And if I didn’t think I was in good health, I most definitely wouldn’t be putting up with this—walking, you know, living without a net.
Oz has been urging Fetterman to follow suit ever since he revealed his own comprehensive medical records, including right after the Democrats’ interview.
John Fetterman resisted providing his medical records 12 different times on NBC news. According to Rachel Tripp, a representative for Oz, John Fetterman has now resisted providing access to his medical data three more times during conversations with the editorial board of PennLives. That makes fifteen occasions to explain why he hasn’t provided his medical documents, for those keeping track at home. 15 denials in a single day! What does John Fetterman have to hide?
But throughout the conversation, Fetterman used Oz’s refusal to participate in the editorial board interview as evidence of his bravery for knowing I would miss parts of his comments and still showing there. According to Fetterman, there were probably Republican strategists watching the interview, waiting impatiently for me to stumble over my words so they could criticize me. But I arrived.
This report was assisted by Kit Maher.