John Fetterman on the debate: “I think it was important that I show up”

John Fetterman on the debate: “I think it was important that I show up”


John Fetterman, Democratic Senate hopeful of Pennsylvania, anticipated that his debate against Republican Mehmet Oz “It wasn’t easy” after a stroke earlier this year, but “I thought it was important that I show up,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview that aired Tuesday on “CNN This Morning.”

by Fetterman first and only debate against Oz has intensified the focus on the Democrat’s recovery from the near-fatal stroke he suffered in May. Fetterman’s delivery during the contest was at times stiff and repetitive, with the candidate dropping words during answers and occasionally losing his train of thought. The interview with CNN, as during the debate, was conducted with closed captioning technology.

“I always understood that it was not easy. I am five months in recovery from this, but I thought it was important that I appear and I did. And at the end of the day, I think, we made some important points”, said Fetterman, noting that the debate also gave the Democratic campaign an opportunity to highlight Oz by saying that “local political leaders” should be involved with women and their partners. doctors when making decisions about abortion.

Fetterman added that he and his doctors believe he will “continue to get better and better.”

Fetterman’s race against Oz represents the Democrat’s best chance to pick up a Senate seat in 2022. Polls have shown the Democrat with a narrow lead, including a poll by the New York Times and Siena College released Monday that found Fetterman with 49% support to Oz’s 44%, narrowly outside the poll’s margin of error.

After the debate, Republicans intensified their focus on Fetterman’s health, particularly if Fetterman had been honest about the extent of the damage caused by his stroke.

The Fetterman campaign released two letters from the doctors. In June, Dr. Ramesh Chandra explained the Democrat’s health and recovery, disclosed that the candidate suffers from atrial fibrillation and cardiomyopathy, and said that after being advised to monitor his health five years earlier, Fetterman “did not go to any doctor for 5 years and he did not continue to take his health. the medications.”

And in one October letter, Dr. Clifford Chen wrote Fetterman is “recovering well from his stroke” and “has no work restrictions and can work fully in public office.” Chen also wrote that during their meeting Fetterman “was speaking intelligently without cognitive deficits,” but “continues to exhibit symptoms of an auditory processing disorder that may present as hearing difficulties.”

While the two letters were intended to allay concerns that he had not been transparent in his recovery, he stopped short of releasing the full medical records.

“I think we’ve been pretty transparent. We’ve had our doctors be very clear that we’re able and fit to serve,” Fetterman said. “From my point of view, we have also been very transparent about presenting at a debate and very transparent about having events in front of thousands and thousands of Pennsylvanians for months. It was not a secret that I was missing some words. I was going to mix some words together.”

When Lemon pressed Fetterman about his doctors reporting to the press, Fetterman said: “I just believe that we have our doctors who weigh in on this and believe that I’m fit to serve. And that’s a point that was compatible made in June and compatible only here in October.”

One of the most notable moments of the debate came when Fetterman struggled to detail his position on fracking, given that he said once never supported the industry and “never”.

In his interview with Lemon, Fetterman said that “all the reservations I had with fracking were all environmental concerns, and Pennsylvania has passed some of the strongest environmental regulations, and that now means I have a lot of support to fracking”.

Those environmental concerns, however, were addressed in new state rules implemented in 2016, and Fetterman’s comments — “I don’t support fracking, and I never have” — were made during an interview in 2018.

When pressed about that disconnect, Fetterman said his opposition “was all part of this” focus on environmental regulations and added that, “in 2017, I had a lot of support for fracking right across the street from where I live, too.”

Fetterman said the war in Ukraine highlighted that “because energy independence is critical,” the United States cannot “be hostage to a nation like Russia” for energy.

“It was all about the environmental issue, and after the regulations were passed, it’s a no brainer to support fracking and I’ve been a very strong supporter of fracking,” Fetterman concluded.

Fetterman also said that while he has long thought of himself as “very empathetic,” his luck and recovery have made him “more so than I was before.”

“The kind of health care that saved my life could be the kind of health care that should be for every American,” said Fetterman, whose campaign stance on the issue is that in the Senate, “I support any legislation that brings us closer to the goal of universal health care coverage.”

But Fetterman told Lemon that his stroke brought that position into “very specific relief for me … that every American should have the same kind of opportunity to have this kind of health care.”

Fetterman also lamented the current political climate in his interview with CNN, telling Lemon that he was “popped” from the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, last week.

David DePape, the man accused of attacking Pelosi, is facing a litany of state and federal charges and, according to San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, the attack was “politically motivated.”

“Naturally, I was appalled by it and, of course, the kind of vitriol that’s out there in the political conversation in America right now is amazing,” Fetterman said. “It’s inconceivable.”

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