Fetterman and Oz face off in Pennsylvania Senate debate: Live updates

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The much-anticipated debate in the Pennsylvania Senate race was held Tuesday night—the only time this fall Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman shared a podium, as they compete for a seat that would top the balance in the evenly divided top of Congress. could pass. room.

Much of the debate, hosted by Nexstar, centered on Fetterman’s health: the lieutenant governor suffered a stroke in May that sidelined him for three months and left him with lingering symptoms, including faltering speech.

Fetterman had monitors onstage to transcribe words in real time and acknowledged early in the hour that he would occasionally stumble and confuse his words. He has said he works with a speech therapist and has some auditory processing problems with spoken language, which neurologists say is not uncommon for stroke survivors.

Focusing on his suitability for the office, Fetterman pointed to a letter from his doctor that he was ready for “full duty” and described his stroke as a challenge as many other people had experienced and overcome.

“My campaign is about fighting for everyone in Pennsylvania that was ever brought down, who had to get back on their feet. I am also fighting for all the forgotten communities across Pennsylvania that have ever been brought down,” he said in his closing message.

Oz, a physician and popular TV host, threw in his closing message to voters that he would “balance” Washington.

“I’m a surgeon, not a politician. We take big problems, we focus on them and we solve them, and we do it by uniting — by coming together — not dividing. And by doing that, come we move forward,” he said.

During the debate, he and Fetterman spar over abortion access, public safety and crime, inflation and the minimum wage, and more — and which of the two was campaigning more sincerely.

Members of the media prepare for the Pennsylvania Senate debate between Democratic nominee John Fetterman and Republican nominee Mehmet Oz in Harrisburg, Penn., Oct. 25, 2022.

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA via Shutterstock

Fetterman accused Oz of lying often, both in debate and in his TV career, calling it the “Oz Rule.” Oz later pushed back that one of Fetterman’s ads against him had been withdrawn for being “unfair” when his campaign had no such penalty.

Oz said Fetterman’s attacks on him, on his views on abortion restrictions and whether or not to cut Social Security and Medicare (which Oz said he opposed), amounted to “fear-mongering.”

Fetterman cast Oz as out-of-town and out-of-touch, repeatedly appealing to Oz’s wealth and many properties and lack of state roots. “I believe it’s about serving Pennsylvania, not using Pennsylvania for their own interests,” he said.

Oz also returned to an important theme: that Fetterman was a “radical” as he sought solutions that served the entire state. He printed Fetterman’s record on the Pennsylvania parole board, calling Fetterman weak on crime and public safety. And he said Fetterman would be doing the energy industry wrong.

Fetterman insisted that he supported fracking — contradicting what he said in 2018, the moderators noted — and that as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, he had successfully worked to curb gun violence and had a track record of tackling of public safety problems.

On abortion, Fetterman said he wanted to revive and legislate the nationwide abortion guidelines under Roe v. Wade, which were overturned by the Supreme Court this summer.

PHOTO: This combination of file photos shows Democratic Senate nominee, Pennsylvania Lt.  gov.  John Fetterman, left, and Republican Senate candidate Dr.  Mehmet Oz in 2022 photos.

This combination of file photos shows Democratic Senate candidate, Pennsylvania Lt. gov. John Fetterman, left, and Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2022 photos.

AP

Oz said he would not support a federal abortion ban — which some other Republicans have called for. He described himself as “pro-life” and supports abortion restrictions, with few exceptions, saying that Fetterman, on the other hand, supported tax-subsidized abortion even into the last trimester.

On abortion and other matters, he described Fetterman as extreme.

Fetterman insisted that he support Roe’s guidelines, no more, no less, and should be the candidate chosen by voters who support a woman’s personal choice, while Oz would work to limit abortion.

Oz refuted Fetterman, trying to label him as actually more right on abortion than he said onstage: Fetterman seized on Oz’s time to associate Oz with governor candidate Doug Mastriano. Oz said Fetterman tried to “scare” women.

Elsewhere, Fetterman said he supported a bill to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current rate. Oz said he wanted the minimum wage even higher, but driven by market forces, not a law, through a plan to “unleash” the state’s energy companies.

The polls have narrowed considerably, with the FiveThirtyEight average now showing Fetterman by less than 3 points ahead of nearly 11 points six weeks ago.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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