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Tucker Carlson Chyron Says Fetterman 'Walking Vegetable' During Dr. Oz Chat

Newsweek 9/13/2022 Giulia Carbonaro
In this combination image, Tucker Carlson (Left) Tonight on Fox News Channel, Mehmet Oz (right), US Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, Sept. 3, 2022 and Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman (Inset) pictured in September, 2022 © Fox News/Getty In this combination image, Tucker Carlson (Left) Tonight on Fox News Channel, Mehmet Oz (right), US Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, Sept. 3, 2022 and Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman (Inset) pictured in September, 2022

In an interview on Monday with Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee to Pennsylvania's Senate race, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called John Fetterman "cognitively impaired," saying it was "shocking" for the Democratic candidate to be running for public office.

"I am not mocking a guy for having a stroke, but we are all gonna have to live under him if he makes it to the Senate," Carlson told Oz. "We know what happens when you elect someone who's cognitively impaired, we're living under it now."

As Carlson and Oz discussed Fetterman's political stance and health, the show's chyron read: "You're not allowed to point out that Fetterman is a giant walking vegetable."

Fetterman took some time off campaigning after suffering a stroke in mid-May, which left him temporarily sidelined in the race for the state's Senate seat. He was able to get back on the campaign trail in August, and appeared on his first public event in three months on August 12.

Despite Fetterman's lack of visibility as he was recovering, he is now leading Oz in polls, with 48.5 percent of the vote against the celebrity doctor's 40.4 percent as of September 8, according to opinion poll website FiveThirtyEight.

The Democratic candidate's stroke prompted a series of disparaging comments from Oz and his representatives.

The GOP nominee called Fetterman a "basement bum" as he took time off from the electoral campaign to recover, and Oz's senior communications adviser Rachel Tripp blamed Fetterman's unhealthy habits for his stroke in a statement that caused a huge backlash.

"If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn't have had a major stroke and wouldn't be in the position of having to lie about it constantly," Tripp said.

Oz refused to condemn his aide, but distanced himself from her comment, saying: "My position is: I can only speak to what I'm saying."

However, Oz's remarks have succeeded in putting Fetterman's health under scrutiny as the election approaches.

In Monday's interview, Carlson criticized Fetterman for not agreeing to a debate with Oz in September before early voting begins in Pennsylvania. "This guy wants to boot the debate until after all of the early voting is conducted?"

The Democratic nominee said his recovery wasn't going to be complete in September, but in a recent interview with Politico he said he would debate with Oz likely in mid- to late October. "We're absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that," Fetterman said. He has admitted having some lingering hearing issues as a result of his stroke, and has reportedly asked for closed captioning during the debate.

He has also accused Oz of trying to capitalize on his health, but said that such strategy is risky.

"Dr. Oz is taking a very, very big bet on mocking somebody that's dealing with a major health challenge... because there's a lot of people all across Pennsylvania that whether they have themselves, or they have loved ones in their lives, that have real kind of challenges," Fetterman told Politico.

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