Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman (D) and Republican Mehmet Oz faced off in their first and only debate Tuesday night. The public servant and quack TV doctor faced off on many issues, including abortion, which the latter candidate said should be between “women, doctors, [and] local political leaders.”
Oz sounded very slick, as you might expect a TV doctor to sound, but his actual words were frightening. A prime example was when the moderators asked the candidates about abortion. They noted that Oz opposes abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the pregnant person, and asked if he thought abortion should be banned in the U.S.
Oz responded that “there should not be involvement from the federal government”—but state lawmakers? That’s apparently fine with him.
“As a physician, I’ve been in the room when there’s some difficult conversations happening,” Oz said. “I don’t want the federal government involved with that at all. I want women, doctors, local political leaders, letting the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves.”
Here’s a clip:
Ah yes, the very informed and level-headed lawmakers who suggest scientifically impossible things like re-implanting ectopic pregnancies, and who work for almost no money in our nation’s statehouses! Those are the people who should get to decide whether or not you’re forced to give birth.
A moderator followed up to ask Oz how he’d vote on the nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced, and, after she asked three different times, he finally kinda sorta said no: “Any bill that violates what I said, which is the federal government interfering with the state rule on abortion, I would vote against. What I feel strongly about is that women in Pennsylvania understand what I’m saying.” So basically, it’s fine if the state bans abortion, which it will.
Fetterman, meanwhile, responded to a different question on abortion: “I believe abortion rights [are] a universal right for all women in America. I believe abortion is health care, and I believe that is a choice that belongs with each woman and her doctor.”
Fetterman’s campaign had downplayed expectations ahead of the debate, noting that Oz has spent a large part of his career on TV. “We’ve been preparing, and it’s certainly going to be a challenge, without a doubt,” Fetterman said in an interview last week with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fetterman used part of his opening statement to address that he’s recovering from a stroke he had in May. “Let’s also talk about the elephant in the room. I had a stroke. He’s never let me forget that. And I might miss some words during this debate, mush two words together,” Fetterman said. “It knocked me down but I’m going to keep coming back up. And this campaign is all about fighting for everyone in Pennsylvania.”
Oz claimed in his opening statement that he wanted to bring civility to Washington, which is rich coming from a man whose campaign said that if Fetterman had “ever eaten a vegetable in his life” maybe he wouldn’t have had a stroke. And then in the last 10 minutes of the debate, he made a dig at Fetterman by saying “obviously I wasn’t clear enough for you to understand this.”
Oz claimed that Fetterman supported “socialized medicine” like Bernie Sanders’ healthcare proposals and under that regime “there are no medications available” and that “doctors stop practicing.” That is...not what would happen under a Medicare for All system, and by the way, President Joe Biden doesn’t support the idea anyway.
Fetterman took the opportunity to land a righteous dunk. “He keeps talking about Bernie Bernie Sanders...You know, three years ago, [Sanders] was on his show. And he hugged him and said ‘I love this guy.’ You know what? Why don’t you pretend that you live in Vermont instead of Pennsylvania and run against Bernie Sanders because all you can do is talk about Bernie Sanders,” he said. “My truth is, is that health care is a basic fundamental right. And I believe in expanding that and I believe in supporting for healthcare, the kind of health care that saved my life.”
The race has been close, as Pennsylvania was close in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, and a poll released Monday showed Fetterman leading Oz, 51 percent to 45 percent, just outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 points.
It was somewhat surreal to treat these two men as if they’re similarly legitimate Senate candidates. One has spent years in public service, and the other shilled diet pills on TV, crawled up Trump’s ass for an endorsement, and then spent more than $20 million of his own money to get a job that pays less than $200,000 a year. Good luck to Pennsylvania voters on this one.