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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Fetterman's ability to serve as Senator in question amid health concerns

FOX News logo FOX News 9/6/2022 Brian Flood
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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board questioned if Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is fit for the job if he’s not capable of debating his opponent after suffering a stroke earlier this year. 

Last week, Fetterman rejected GOP rival Dr. Mehmet Oz's offer to partake in their first debate in early September ahead of midterm elections, accusing his opponent of making light of the stroke he suffered. The Pennsylvania paper published an opinion piece titled "Beneath campaign nastiness, legitimate concerns about Fetterman's health," that detailed why an in-person debate is so critical to voters.

MSNBC'S STEPHANIE RUHLE ALLOWS FETTERMAN TO DODGE QUESTION ON WHETHER HE'LL AGREE TO DEBATE OZ

Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman addresses supporters during a rally on August 12, 2022 in Erie, Pennsylvania. - The event marked Fettermans first campaign rally since suffering a stroke caused by a blood clot on May 15, 2022. DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images © DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman addresses supporters during a rally on August 12, 2022 in Erie, Pennsylvania. - The event marked Fettermans first campaign rally since suffering a stroke caused by a blood clot on May 15, 2022. DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images

"If Mr. Fetterman is not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator," the Post-Gazette’s editorial board wrote

The paper then scolded Oz for "dragging the race deeper and deeper into the muck," but admitted he’s made valid points. 

"Mr. Oz has raised legitimate concerns. If Mr. Fetterman’s communication skills have not yet recovered sufficiently to effectively debate his opponent, many voters will have concerns about his ability to represent them effectively in Washington. While he has gamely undertaken more campaign events and media interviews in recent weeks, Mr. Fetterman still speaks haltingly and relies on closed captioning to fully understand his conversation partners," the editorial board wrote. 

DR. OZ RIPS DEMOCRAT FETTERMAN FOR REFUSING TO DEBATE IN PENNSYLVANIA SENATE RACE: ‘HIDING HIS RADICAL VIEWS’

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz holds a rally in the Tunkhanock Triton Hose Co fire station in Tunkhanock, Pa., on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images © Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz holds a rally in the Tunkhanock Triton Hose Co fire station in Tunkhanock, Pa., on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

"Fetterman’s campaign asserts confidently that he will make a full recovery, and that he is doing the hard work — including speech therapy — to accelerate that recovery. That is hopeful and laudable, but stroke recovery is notoriously unpredictable," the editorial board continued. "The campaign’s early predictions proved optimistic; the more recent predictions of ‘several months’ to a ‘complete recovery’ may prove optimistic, too."

The Post-Gazette’s editorial board dinged Oz for "pressing the issue in an adolescent manner" but reminded readers that a live debate is the best way to convince voters Fetterman is fit for the job. 

"Voters have a right to know whether their prospective senator can do the job — including handling the give-and-take of a vigorous debate," the editorial board wrote. 

FETTERMAN SAID DEBATES ARE ‘IMPORTANT PART’ OF DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, BUT NOW MAY REFUSE TO DEBATE OZ

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board questioned if Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is fit for the job if he’s not capable of debating his opponent after suffering a stroke earlier this year. Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty Images © Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty Images The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board questioned if Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is fit for the job if he’s not capable of debating his opponent after suffering a stroke earlier this year. Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fetterman said in a statement last week, "My recovery may be a joke to Dr. Oz and his team, but it's real for me. I will not be participating in a debate the first week of September, but look forward to having a productive discussion about how we can move forward and have a real conversation on this once Dr. Oz and his team are ready to take this seriously."

Appearing on "America's Newsroom" last week, Dr. Oz denied claims that his campaign was "making fun" of Fetterman's stroke and went on to knock the Democrat for ducking from the debate. 

"I offered John Fetterman numerous opportunities to explain to me how I can make it easier for him to debate, but at this point, since he's given numerous reasons for not showing up, including the fact he didn't have time in his schedule, I'm of the opinion that he's hiding his radical views because he is the furthest far-left radical candidate at any competitive Senate race this cycle, and he doesn't want those views to be exposed," Oz told co-host Dana Perino.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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