The contentious Pennsylvania senate race between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman got personal Tuesday after the frontrunner — who suffered a stroke in May — announced he’d forego a scheduled September debate while trying to regain his form.
Even trailing by double-digits in a Fox News poll, the conservative TV physician better known as Dr. Oz, upped the ante and lowered the bar with a condescending list of “concessions” meant to entice the liberal leader after news their Sept. 6 showdown had been shut down.
Oz’s campaign reportedly joked in a statement that Fetterman would be allowed to use his notes, be fed answers through an ear piece and raise his hand to request a “bathroom break.” They also offered to “pay for any additional medical personnel he might need to have on standby” during a debate.
Fetterman’s campaign responded Wednesday by posting video of the Democrat asking a small crowd if his opponent, a doctor, “lost his way” by mocking someone recovering from a stroke.
“How many of you, maybe yourself, have had a big health challenge in your own life? Any of your parents? Any of your children maybe?” he asked. “Can you imagine if you had a doctor that was mocking your illness or ridiculing that? Well, here we are.”
Last week, Oz’s campaign teased that Fetterman may not have had a stroke if he ate more vegetables. That followed Fetterman’s campaign mocking Oz over a campaign video in which the millionaire TV star tried to relate to common folks by visiting the vegetable section of a Pennsylvania supermarket — but botched the name of that grocery store.
“I would like to think that Dr. Oz may have really lost his way if you’re gonna’ make fun of somebody that had a stroke,” Fetterman continued in the video posted Wednesday. “But I don’t think he ever had his way. Because this is a guy who made a career out of selling miracle diet pills.”
In 2014, Oz was asked to speak to the U.S. Senate about weight-loss pills he promoted on television. One company promoted by Oz was sued by the Federal Trade Commission over its questionable health claims.
Oz’s team continued pressuring Fetterman to taking the stage with their candidate prior to November’s midterm election on Twitter.
“John Fetterman wouldn’t last more than 2 minutes on a debate stage with me,” Oz tweeted Tuesday. “Now he’s feeling the heat!”
Fetterman slowly returned to the campaign trail last month, where he thanked his wife for saving his life during an 11-minute speech that was one of the few times he’s addressed supporters since his stroke.
“My recovery may be a joke to Dr. Oz and his team, but it’s real for me,” Fetterman said in a statement released Tuesday.
He conceded that he needed to improve his “auditory processing and speech” before resuming normal activity.