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Did Fetterman end his campaign in the debate?

Did Fetterman end his campaign in the debate?

John Fetterman’s debate with Mehmet Oz was worse than anyone could have expected.  In retrospect, it was a political mistake to agree to the debate – even with the unprecedented effort to lower expectations.

In my long political involvement, I have seen candidates benefit from low expectations.  Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker may have been one of those candidates.  Usually, the lower expectations are the result of opposition and media attacks.  President Reagan was a good example. He even once said that one of his strengths was low expectations.

It is rare – unheard of – for a campaign, itself, to set the low bar, as did Fetterman’s own press release.  In it, they said that a debate is not the candidate’s best format – and that his opponent was more experienced in appearing before the camera.  This already is not a good admission from a candidate who wants to be a member of what is called the “world’s greatest debating forum.”

The fact that Fetterman had to use Closed Captions to comprehend questions and answers was terrible optics.  They must have known that at the planning stage.  

Recognizing the potential pitfalls for Fetterman in a debate situation in which he had manifest comprehension issues is the apparent reason why Fetterman put the debate off until after many voters had already cast ballots.  That was the only smart thing the campaign did in terms of debate strategy.

Even with the forewarnings and special considerations, team Fetterman must have been wincing in the back room as the candidate repeatedly floundered on stage.  Even with the aid of Closed Captions, Fetterman made a number of imprecise and somewhat incoherent statements – using words that did not make sense in the context or out of context.  

In most cases, it was possible to decipher what Fetterman meant, but it took deciphering.  Some of the more notable examples:

Fetterman referred to the “living wage” as a “willing wage” – and then floundered in trying to explain his position on the issue.

In discussing abortion, Fetterman said that choice “beleans (sic) a woman and her doctors.”  Other invented words included “vogotional schools” and “wayjuhlottaway.”

When asked by moderators why Fetterman has changed from anti-fracking to pro-fracking – showing a clip of his earlier opposition, Fetterman said that he was always in favor of fracking as if oblivious to his previous stance.

Fetterman often interrupted Oz with off-the-wall irrelevant comments such as “you roll with Doug Mastriano!”  He even interrupted Oz’s closing remarks with a gratuitous “you want to cut social security.”

It was a pathetic performance, to say the least.  One can feel sympathy for a man who suffered a stroke and has residual effects.  But in this one debate, Fetterman tended to prove Oz’s expressed concerns over his opponent’s ability to serve effectively in the United States Senate.  It has been a growing concern among Pennsylvania voters – and this debate will not assuage it.

Fetterman’s only defense on that issue of his health – in face of not releasing his actual medical records – was a letter from a doctor, who was not involved with Fetterman’s medical treatment, attesting to his fitness.   The doctor has questionable credibility since he is a donor to the Fetterman campaign – and in view of what the audience could see unfolding in real time.

Given the trend toward Oz prior to the debate, it is very likely that the one-on-one confrontation has sent the Fetterman campaign over the cliff.  That is my best guess at this time.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. bob

    Drughead , convict Fetterman , who has always been supported by his parents is NOT at all qualified to hold a SENATE seat !!! He’s a radical Socialist who will just be a puppet to Perv Biden , boozer Pelosi and cryin’ Chuck Schumer.

    • Ben is back

      Still better than perv, druggie, whining, crying, burger tossing rabble rousing orangoutang man.

      • Ms.Kendall

        Not really….Biden and his son are crackheads and perverts to boot…

  2. Tom

    Fetterman put himself in that position. I can feel sorrow for his stroke, but not for his circumstances – he allowed the debate. The bigger issue is that Pennsylvanians have to decide a medical issue along with the political issue. If Fetterman wins then later has another stroke, the governor will decide who fills his seat – and this could lead to a democrat winning the gubernatorial contest only to later if Fetterman’s cognition is fettered appoint a democratic replacement – which could flip the Senate. So the race in PA is very critical to 2022 and possibly the Biden agenda in 2023-2024.

    • Tom

      Actually my above statement is incorrect. If a Republican wins the Gubernatorial contest and Fetterman wins the Senatorial contest then has a stroke, a Republican governor will have to pick who replaces the democratic Fetterman – and this could flip the Senate. So Pa could have impacts in 2022 and beyond! Although this might be a long shot scenario because Shapiro (Dem) currently leads by double digits but there are many little towns in PA (my home state) which do not get much attention in these polls.

      • Frank stetson

        Damned if he debates, damned if he doesn’t. Like he said, he stood up, he showed up, he did the job. That’s his transparency.

        There are stroke recoveries all over Congress and throughout the land. PA can decide, but Fetterman needed to show up. And he did.

        • Ms.Kendall

          From what I saw, he didn’t…he’s just another puppet of Biden and the Criminal company called the Democrat Party…

  3. Ben is back

    isn’t your nickname Doublewide?