Twitter explodes over Fetterman-Oz debate and one F word that triggered it

Issues took a backseat to Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s health in the only scheduled televised debate against Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz and as viewers weighed in, even a CNN panel contended, ‘The bar was set very low. It should’ve been set lower.”

(Video: CNN)

The matter of Fetterman’s stroke in May of this year has been a cause for concern that, until recently, corporate media and progressive pundits had covered for by calling out critics of the candidate as ableists. After opening Tuesday’s debate by saying “good night,” the Democrat dove headlong into addressing the “elephant in the room,” but appeared incapable of allaying doubts about his fitness for office.

“I’ve interviewed him many times as lieutenant governor. And he sounds–he’s sounded different before the stroke,” CNN’s Alisyn Camerota offered gently. “In the interviews, he was much more, sort of, clearly spoken than what I’m hearing.”

Former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) was less particular about niceties, calling it as he saw it, “I thought somebody should have invoked the mercy rule 20 minutes into the debate.”

“I don’t know if it was the stroke or if he’s just a lousy debater or if he doesn’t understand the issues…He was flustered, he was confused. He should not have been out there,” he continued. “And I’ve had a number of people say why was this guy in on the ballot after that? I don’t know if the debates matter that much. But people watch that, they are going to question his capacity to serve.”

“The bar was set very low. It should’ve been set lower,” Dent concluded.

In what appeared to be one of the more challenging moments of the night for Fetterman, there was a long pause after the moderator followed up on his change in position since 2018 with regard to fracking when he had explicitly stated he did not support it. Breaking the silence, the candidate merely repeated “I do support fracking” with no reason to back up his newly acquired position.

The moment was readily turned into a campaign ad against Fetterman who was unable to hold himself accountable during the debate.

BlazeTv host Allie Beth Stuckey reacted to the debate by saying, “Dr. Oz’s ability to keep a neutral expression while Fetterman continually fails to create a single coherent thought is extremely impressive.”

Outkick’s Clay Travis also joined a chorus of commentators speaking out and said, “I can’t impress upon you how much of a disaster this debate is for [Fetterman]. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He went on to add, “This race is completely and totally over.”

Ideologues spoke out too with NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo saying, “John Fetterman struggled. He clearly is dealing with health issues that affect his ability to process and his ability to speak. Clearly, fitness for office is going to be on the table. That may not be fair, to some, for me to say, but if the voters aren’t talking about it, I’ll be shocked,” and NBC’s Joe Scarborough remarked, “This is painful to watch regardless of one’s politics.”

Adding to the conversation on CNN, Alyssa Farah Griffin of “The View” said, “I want to be careful because I think some of the most consequential leaders in history have had different kinds of disabilities. I don’t think it should preclude someone from serving. But what we saw today was someone who was not ready to be in office. And the lack of transparency leading up to this actually shocked people watching. I found it extremely hard to watch.”

“And the question I found myself asking is: is the way that he’s struggling a result of his stroke? Or is it because he does not have a grasp on the issues?” she added.

Meanwhile, her co-host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas and others stayed true to covering for Democrats and wrote, “Fetterman’s aware he has auditory & processing issues as a result of stroke. He could’ve refused to debate like some candidates have. Instead, he went out there and let voters see his challenges and healing process. Support him or not, that takes courage, humility and honesty.”

But with moments like these–

The Hill’s Al Weaver stated the obvious, “Democrats are asking the same thing post-debate: Why did Fetterman’s team allow him to take the stage tonight? No one I’m talking to on the left has a good thing to say about what just took place.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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