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Fetterman Face-off with Dr. Oz Makes Waves, Questions Persist in Aftermath of Stroke

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Key midterm races are reaching a fever pitch, with less than two weeks to go before Election Day. Tuesday night, voters heard from candidates firsthand in several of those high-profile contests as Pennsylvania's Senate hopefuls and New York's gubernatorial candidates faced off on the debate stage.

Pennsylvania Debate Was the Main Event

Of the two debates, it was the showdown in PA that drew the most national attention. All eyes were on Democrat John Fetterman, taking the stage just six months after having a stroke. 

"I might miss some words during this debate, mush two words together. But it knocked me down, but I'm gonna keep coming back up," Fetterman said right from the beginning of his debate with Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz. 

Fetterman struggled to complete sentences multiple times during the debate. 

"It's about supporting and helping, you know, young earners, excuse me, young young young students, to give them a break," he said, stumbling during his response to a question about President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan. 

He did not commit to releasing his full medical records but said his doctor believes he's fit to serve. 

While some applauded the determination it took for him to show up, others said his performance could hurt his chances with voters.

When asked about a fossil fuel issue, Fetterman had trouble explaining his shifting position on fracking after previously saying that he does not support it. “I do support fracking and I do support fracking,” he said.

On the issue of abortion, Fetterman and Dr. Oz took opposing stances.

"I want women, doctors, local political leaders, letting the democracy that's always allowed our nation to thrive, to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves," Dr. Oz said.

"If you believe that the choice for abortion belongs within you and your doctor, that's what I fight for," said Fetterman.

Dr. Oz attacked Fetterman's policies on crime, accusing him of trying to get, "as many murderers out of jail as possible."

"These radical positions extend beyond crime to wanting to legalize all drugs, to wanting to open the border, to raising our taxes. I want Washington to be civil again," Oz said.

New York Governor's Race

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) called her Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin an "election denier."

"You basically heard Lee Zeldin say he would vote once again to overturn a presidential election. I think that's something everybody should know," Hochul said.

Zeldin spent much of the last year railing against the increase of crime in New York, and earlier this month, two teenagers were injured in a drive-by shooting outside his home. He accused Hochul of failing to protect New Yorkers. 

"Go talk to the Asian-American community and how it's impacted them with the loss of lives. Jewish people targeted with violent antisemitism on our streets," said Zeldin.

Polls indicate the races are narrowing in both Pennsylvania and New York. After holding a strong lead much of the year, Gov. Hochul is now just barely clinging to her advantage over Zeldin. John Fetterman's lead is also at risk, and if Democrats lose that Pennsylvania seat it could secure a Republican majority in the Senate. 

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT