Democrat John Fetterman Makes First Appearance Since Stroke

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    Fetterman, generally a confident and skilled public speaker, addressed his appearance at the Bayfront Convention Center Friday night in Erie, Pennsylvania, and made some embarrassing mistakes, video footage taken from WTAE Pittsburgh shows. He was unable to speak clearly and made awkward pauses in his 11 minutes of remarks.

    Fetterman started with a slam at his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has claimed Fetterman is hiding in his basement after suffering a stroke.

    “Wait a minute, am I in Erie, or have I fit 1,400 people into my basement?” He asked the crowd.

    “Tonight is, in reality, my personal experience is all about being thankful. It's about being grateful. Tomorrow is tomorrow 3 months ago my life might have been over. This is the truth, but I'm so thankful to be here today also,” he said.

    In his brief remarks moving forward, Fetterman made a few mistakes and awkward pauses when he talked about elimination of the filibuster.

    “One of the differences between me and Dr. Oz, he has ten mansions; I gave away the lieutenant governor governor in Pennsylvania, the only lieutenant governor in the history to do that,” he declared in one instance, perhaps seeking to reference the mansion of the lieutenant governor.

    Fetterman had a stroke May 13, just a few days prior to his Democratic Primary on the 17th of May.

    “I was not feeling well and was too focussed on my campaign. I didn't pay attention to the signs and continued to go. It finally happened on Friday. my attention,” he said in a statement made at the time. “I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long.”

    The health issue did not hinder the chances of the lieutenant governor on the day of election. He easily defeated the other candidates and racked up more than twice the amount of votes of his closest rival. Oz was able to secure an early victory in the race against David McCormick, winning by less than a percent; however, it is worth noting that Republican turnout was higher than Democrat turnout. Oz and Fetterman fight for Senator Pat Toomey's (R-PA) seat.

    When his opponent returned to the arena on Friday night, Oz demanded five debates, Bloomberg News noted. Fetterman has stated the possibility of a debate with Oz but hasn't endorsed one of the Republicans' suggestions.

    Even though he's not held a rally for the past three weeks, Fetterman continues to lead Oz in polls with a majority of them showing a significant gap between them. A Fox News poll from the end of July discovered Oz's approval at just 36 percent, just 11 points behind Fetterman with 47 percent while an average of Real Clear Politics average shows Oz 9 points lower in comparison to the governor's lieutenant. While the renowned doctor has been a target of polls that have not been encouraging, Decision Desk HQ still rate this Pennsylvania Senate race among the most competitive tossups in national race, and with three months remaining until the election and a month to go, there's enough time for results of the polls to shift one way or the other.

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