Central Theme of Medical Issues as Fetterman Campaigns at IUP | New

INDIANA, Pennsylvania — Campaigning Tuesday at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman asked a group of about 500 supporters if they had ever faced a medical challenge in their life, or if they had parents, grandparents or children who have done it.

“Most hands are up,” Fetterman said during a speech in the Kovalchick convention and sports complex lobby.

Fetterman then spoke about his own experience after suffering a stroke earlier this year that forced him to miss hosting public events.

In response, the campaign of his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, released a somewhat sarcastic statement in which it listed the concessions the candidate would be willing to make if Fetterman agreed to a debate, including that “We will pay for everything.” additional medical personnel he may need on hold.

A member of Oz staff also said: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and he wouldn’t have to constantly lying about it.”

Fetterman said that if people are dealing with medical issues, “I really, really hope you don’t have a doctor in your life who laughs at you, laughs at you, says you can’t do the job you have. Unfortunately, I have a doctor in my life who does this. If Indiana County doesn’t show up, you’ll have a doctor in your life for the next six full years (as a senator) .

Dante Zottoli, an IUP student, said he was not concerned about Fetterman’s health, comparing him to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who suffered from poliomyelitis.

Zottoli said Fetterman is “morally one of the soundest politicians in America.”

Short stop

Fetterman addressed the audience for less than 10 minutes, an unusually short time for a campaign speech, and did not do press interviews afterward.

He agreed to a debate with Oz, asking to be allowed to use closed captioning due to hearing problems related to a stroke.

Republicans have focused much of their attention on Fetterman’s health in recent weeks.

“Fetterman can no longer have it both ways,” said Brittany Yanick, director of communications with Dr. Oz for the Senate, in an emailed comment. “If he is able to speak in front of large crowds, either he is healthy enough to debate and wants to hide his radical record, or he is lying about his health. He must be honest and transparent with Pennsylvanians.

Cambria County Republican Party Chairwoman Jackie Kulback said she was “surprised” that Fetterman campaigned in the IUP.

“John Fetterman says he’s healthy, but won’t be transparent,” Kulback said. “The Fetterman team will not release their medical records or make their doctors available for interviews. Fetterman took two cognitive tests, but won’t publish the full results. Fetterman has only held a handful of campaign events and only accepted pre-recorded interviews with friendly reporters – but says he is capable of keeping to a “normal” campaign schedule.

Connected to state

Much of Fetterman’s speech focused on Oz, including the doctor’s opposition to abortion rights.

“Dr. Oz may be a joke, but it’s not funny because abortion is at stake,” Fetterman said. “Dr. Oz said every abortion is murder. This means that every woman who chose an abortion, it would make her a killer in her mind.

Fetterman said he was in Indiana’s heavily Republican county because “every county, every vote” is “the kind of campaign we’ve always run.”

Indiana County Democratic Committee Chairman James Smith pointed to Fetterman’s connection to western Pennsylvania, compared to Oz, which he called “New Jersey’s carpet”.

“John is from here,” Smith said. “He came here. He raised his family here. He saw the struggles and successes of ordinary Pennsylvanians. John knows us because he shows up everywhere. It doesn’t matter if we’re a bright blue Democrat town or in a red county like Indiana, you can count on John to show up and stand up for our rights.

Alongside Smith, Fetterman was supported by several other speakers, including Pennsylvania Second Lady Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who said her husband “stands on the right side of history, even when he’s alone.”

Sam Bigham, president of the Indiana University Democrats in Pennsylvania, said he wants elected officials, such as Fetterman, who show “compassion.”

Bigham said, “We need senators who will fight for us every day and have the courage not to back down from a challenge.”

Rachel Sternfeld, president of the Indiana-Armstrong Central Labor Council, described Fetterman as “someone who fights to make life better.”

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