Fetterman’s Debate Performance In One Word: Painful

In most political debates people hear what they want to hear from each candidate and, in turn, almost always believe that their choice “wins” each debate. Last night that tradition changed.

In the only debate between Pennsylvania Senate contenders John Fetterman (D) and Mehmet Oz (R), Dr. Oz set himself apart as the clear choice between the two.

The following tweet shows an example of Fetterman’s struggle throughout the debate:

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough wrote, “John Fetterman’s ability to communicate is seriously impaired. Pennsylvania voters will be talking about this obvious fact even if many in the media will not. This is painful to watch regardless of one’s politics.”

Time correspondent Charlotte Alter wrote, while the debate was still going on, “so far this is a disaster for Fetterman. I spoke to Fetterman recently, and I expected him to be very bad tonight. But he was much much worse than I expected (and much worse than in our one-on-one conversation.).”

Throughout social media, on any news show after the debate, and no matter where you look, the consensus is that the debate was a huge mistake for Fetterman and his campaign.

Fetterman had a stroke in May of this year, and it is clear that he has not fully recovered from that health scare. Since the race began, after the Pennsylvania primaries, Dr. Oz has asked repeatedly for Fetterman to release his medical records, a request that Fetterman has continued to deny.

Even in last night’s debate, Fetterman would not agree to release his medical records, instead relying on letters from doctors. In response to the request to release medical records at last nights debate, Fetterman said, “To me, for transparency, is about showing up. I’m here today to have a debate. I have speeches in front of 3,000 people in Montgomery County, all across Pennsylvania, big, big crowds. And now, with two weeks before the election, I have run a campaign, and I’ve been very transparent about being very open about the fact we’re using closed captioning…Again, my doctor … believes that I’m fit to be serving, and that’s what I believe is where I’m standing.”

The letter Fetterman is referring to can be found here, and it is by no means a release of his medical records.

Prior to last night’s debate, FiveThirtyEight showed Fetterman ahead of Oz by more than two percentage points. In the next few days those numbers should change, but only time will tell.