HARRISBURG, Pa. — Senate candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman met for the first time for the campaign’s only debate ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
A number of topics were covered in the 60-minute session, hosted in part by our own Lisa Sylvester.
The first question asks Fetterman about his qualifications. He’s hopping directly into the “Oz Rule.” It’s something he’s referenced multiple times during his candidacy on the campaign trail. It essentially says if Oz is speaking, he’s lying. He also acknowledged his stroke. Same question to Oz. “I want to bring stability, balance.” He calls Fetterman an extremist and goes directly to Fetterman’s record on crime. If you’ve watched TV in the last month, you’ve seen that strategy in ad after ad.
Oz: References waste and fraud. Attacks Fetterman for wanting to raise taxes amid inflation. Fetterman: “We need to fight about inflation right now.” Fetterman calls Oz out for having “10 mansions.” It’s a familiar attack.
So far, the candidates are playing the hits.
Gas Tax Oz is asked directly by Sylvester if he would support eliminating the federal gas tax. He did not answer.
Fetterman is asked how he would specifically handle it. He did not answer.
Fetterman supports raising it to $15 per hour. Asked a follow-up question about small business owners not being able to afford that, Fetterman says businesses cannot be “subsidized.”
Oz says market forces have driven it up and “you cannot put businesses” out of commission to raise wages. He pivots to “unleashing Pennsylvania” energy. Energy has been a big part of his campaign.
Oz says he does not want the federal government involved in abortion decisions. He calls Fetterman “radical” and “out of touch.” He wants to leave it up to the states, saying he would not interfere with decisions of states. He would not vote for any bill that violates decisions by states. Fetterman says Roe v. Wade should be the law of the land and would vote to codify it. He would support federal money to transport women across state lines to receive abortions.
Fetterman asked why state troopers support fellow Democrat Josh Shapiro, but support Oz in this race. Fetterman says he was “successful” pushing back on gun violence and making his community safe.
Oz says the Fraternal Order of Police out of Braddock supports him.
Oz is asked to explain his flip-flop on fracking. He’d written an op-ed in 2014 against it. He now supports it. He says he “strongly” supports it and it’s an old and safe practice. Fetterman says he absolutely supports fracking. He believes in energy “independence.” When asked about his changing views, Fetterman says he’s always supported fracking, despite saying in 2018 he did not. Sylvester pushed him on it, and he answered he supports it. He did not address his 2018 opposite opinion.
Fitness to Serve
Fetterman believes he is fit to serve. He says he’s been transparent. He did not commit to releasing full medical records.
Oz asked about supporting “dangerous” treatments on his show. He says he will give people the power to make decisions for themselves. He warns about socialized medicine. Oz did not directly address the question. Oz also does not answer the question of whether he profited from pushing bad medicine.
Oz calls the border “porous.” He moves into fentanyl and drugs coming from China and across the border. He drops the “every state is a border state” line. Fetterman is asked what he would do to secure the border. He says he’d push for a “bipartisan” solution. FOREIGN POLICY What is the greatest foreign threat? Fetterman says it is China. Oz: Our country is not projecting strength. He again references “unleashing energy.”
2024 Presidential Election
Oz: I’ll support the Republican nominee. He also says he’d support former President Trump.
Fetterman: If (Biden) runs, I’ll support him.
Fetterman says we should support and expand Social Security.
Oz says seniors deserve to have it and he would not do anything to cut it.
Cost of Education
Oz says he would push to offer more electronic classes to cut costs and says there should be “more value for the money they are spending. ”Fetterman says he wants to give students a break. He supports the Biden administration’s debt relief program. Sylvester asks what he would do specifically, Fetterman does not provide a clear plan.
Oz says funding is key to turn out job-ready students.
Fetterman says it should be affordable.
Supreme Court Expansion
Fetterman: Does not support it, despite “not agreeing” with the current makeup.
Oz: Would “never” touch the makeup of SCOTUS.
CLICK HERE for complete Decision 2022 coverage.
WATCH THE FULL DEBATE BELOW:
The debate will also re-air on PCNC at the following times:
- Friday, 10/28 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Saturday, 10/29 11:30 PM – 12:30 AM
- Sunday, 10/30 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Channel 11′s Rich Pierce gave us LIVE updates below as the debate was happening:
©2022 Cox Media Group