Fetterman Campaign Pre-Debate Spin for Brain Damaged Candidate: “Human Error” by Closed-Caption Transcribers May Cause “Errors in Exchanges Between the Moderators and the Candidates”
The Senate campaign of recovering stroke victim Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) issued a statement Monday in advance of Tuesday’s debate with Republican Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz downplaying expectations for Fetterman’s performance while offering a ready-made excuse for any failings by the brain-damaged candidate: Human error by closed-caption transcribers that were demanded by Fetterman.
The statement also says, “We’ll admit — this isn’t John’s format … if we’re all being honest, Oz clearly comes into Tuesday night with a huge built-in advantage.”
In a memo sent to reporters, the Fetterman campaign seeks to lower expectations for tomorrow’s debate with Oz: “We’ll admit — this isn’t John’s format … if we’re all being honest, Oz clearly comes into Tuesday night with a huge built-in advantage.” pic.twitter.com/21CCMGGvbI
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) October 24, 2022
Recent polls show the race to be a dead heat, however a sketchy CNN poll released Monday gives Fetterman a six point lead over Oz.
What’s powering that CNN poll showing Fetterman at 51%?
At a glance, the 14% of Biden disapprovers backing him. He is winning 97% of Biden approvers.
A warning sign of it as potential outlier is Oz +12 among indies yet down overall. https://t.co/FNCJnwodsO
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) October 24, 2022
Debate host WHTM-TV posted a video report showing the closed-captioning system Fetterman will use during the debate, which is set for 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday. Screen images show the twin screens set up behind the moderators to aid Fetterman. It is unclear whether viewers at home will also get to see the captions.
Fetterman campaign statement:
As reporters tune in for the PA Senate debate on October 25th, let’s be clear about this match-up: Dr. Oz has been a professional TV personality for the last two decades.
As The Philadelphia Inquirer’s top political reporters wrote: “Even before his stroke, Fetterman wasn’t great at debates.” We’ll admit – this isn’t John’s format. Look no further than the debates from the primary earlier this year. On the other hand, “Oz is a polished daytime TV host who knows his camera angles and how to craft TV moments.”
John is ready to share his vision for Pennsylvania, defend his record, and make the case against Oz. He’s going to be talking about his real ideas to help real people. But if we’re all being honest, Oz clearly comes into Tuesday night with a huge built-in advantage.
OZ THE FRAUD IS A PROFESSIONAL TV PERFORMER
The TV studios is Oz’s comfort zone. This guy is a media-savvy performer who literally built his career (and fortune) by playing to the cameras as a daytime TV host. He hosted his scammy talk show for 13 seasons, filming over 2,000 episodes where he hawked miracle cures and magic diet pills to prey on hard-working Americans. That’s a lot of practice!
We know that Oz is going to use this debate to try to obscure his own extreme positions – like calling all abortions “murder” – and his litany of disingenuous flip-flops. He’s also going to distract from his own problems by lying about John’s record and launching false attacks on crime, fracking, inflation, taxes… you name it.
Oz will try to play the nice doctor on Tuesday night, but his campaign’s attacks on John’s health have consistently been mean-spirited and cruel. We won’t forget this is the same “doctor” whose campaign has mocked John’s use of closed-captioning technology, joked about him needing bathroom breaks and medical staff nearby, and said he wouldn’t have had a stroke if he ate vegetables. Oz has even been forced to distance himself from his staff and admit that he wouldn’t talk to patients the way his campaign talks about John’s health.
A UNIQUE DEBATE AND WHAT TO EXPECT
This debate is unprecedented – there’s never been a closed-captioned political debate in a high-profile Senate race where one of the candidates is dealing with a lingering auditory processing challenge while recovering from a stroke.
We are prepared for Oz’s allies and right-wing media to circulate malicious viral videos after the debate that try to paint John in a negative light because of awkward pauses, missing some words, and mushing other words together. The captioning process may also lead to time delays and errors in the exchanges between the moderators and the candidates. In fact, because the captions are going to be typed out by human beings in real-time, on live TV, some amount of human error in the transcription is inevitable, which may cause temporary miscommunications at times. It is impossible to control and unavoidable. That’s OK – what matters is that people get to see and hear John’s values.
“John has had a remarkable recovery, but the ongoing auditory processing challenges are real. The campaign insisted on closed captioning technology because it’s necessary. But he’ll be open and upfront about those challenges, just like he has been in interviews and at rallies for the past few months. John knows this will not be easy, but he is showing up because Pennsylvania voters deserve to hear from their candidates for the Senate.
But remember: John did not get where he is by winning debates or being a polished speaker. He got here because he truly connects with Pennsylvanians. That’s how John became the first to defeat a sitting Lt. Governor in a primary in the history of the commonwealth, and then carried all 67 counties on his way to winning the Democratic Senate nomination by 30+ points.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE ELECTION
What will be clear on the debate stage is that Dr. Oz is a lying fraud who has no actual policy solutions and no core values; that he’s a scam artist who’s not even from here but thinks he can buy our Senate seat.
What was true after John won the primary is still true just two weeks before Election Day: John connects with Pennsylvanians from all corners of the commonwealth, has proven he can earn support in both the bluest and the reddest counties, and inspires genuine grassroots enthusiasm. He is a unique candidate with a strong personal brand that transcends partisanship.
That’s what voters are going to see on the debate stage, and it’s why John is going to win this race – even if he doesn’t win the debate.
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