Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman said Tuesday that his health is not a major concern after he suffered a stroke in May and said his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, “lies about my health again and again.”
Fetterman, who currently serves as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, said during an appearance on MSNBC on Tuesday that medical officials have said he’s fit and ready to serve.
“Dr. Oz lies about my health again and again. It’s the Oz rule again. When he’s on TV, he’s going to be lying. And the truth is also is that in January, I’m going to be much better but he’ll still be a fraud,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman previously spent months dodging Oz’s requests to debate, leading Oz to suggest in early September that the Democrat is “either healthy and he’s dodging the debate because he does not want to answer for his radical left positions, or he’s too sick to participate in the debate.” Oz has called on his opponent to release his medical records.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board similarly raised concern about Fetterman’s debate dodging, writing that if he is “not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator.”
However, Fetterman and Oz ultimately agreed to hold a single debate on October 25.
Fetterman also spoke about his stroke recovery, including his auditory processing difficulties, during a campaign event over the weekend.
“As you know, I had a stroke,” he said in a twelve minute speech in Pittsburgh. “Oh and I’m so grateful to be here today now after surviving that better and better, you know?”
“You know, the only lingering issue that I have after that stroke is sometimes auditory processing, sometimes. And, every now and then, I might miss a word or, sometimes, you know, I might mush two words together,” he said.
At times during the speech, Fetterman paused at length or struggled with words, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The paper suggested the speech was an “overall improvement” from the last time he spoke in Pittsburgh on September 5.
Fetterman also dismissed Republican criticisms about his positions on crime and his tattoos, which some have suggested indicate ties to gang activity and crime. He said the tattoos represent the dates when people were killed in Braddock when he served as mayor.
“It’s absurd, and it’s the Oz rule. You know, when he’s on TV, he’s lying,” he said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a USA Today-Suffolk University poll released Tuesday showed Fetterman’s lead over Oz shrinking to 6 points from 9 points in June.