How Mehmet Oz is scrambling to save his 'floundering' campaign: report
On August 19 in Rolling Stone, journalists Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley reported that privately, former President Donald Trump has grown pessimistic about Dr. Mehmet Oz’s U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania — where Oz has been trailing the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, in poll after poll. Trump, according to Rolling Stone sources, has privately complained that Oz is going to “f*****g lose” if he doesn’t find a way to turn his campaign around. But Politico reports that Oz’s campaign believes it has found a way to do that: attacking Fetterman, who recently recovered from a stroke, over his health.
In an article published on August 26, Holly Otterbein and Natalie Allison of Politico report, “Mehmet Oz sees an opening to rescue his floundering Senate campaign: After largely refraining from making his opponent’s health an issue, the celebrity doctor has decided to go there. Oz’s Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, suffered a stroke in May and since then, has largely avoided public events and been noncommittal about debates. Instead, he’s been relentlessly trolling Oz on social media and dominating the airwaves with campaign ads. Meanwhile, Oz has struggled to consolidate support from the conservative base, despite former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.”
The Oz campaign’s willingness to attack Fetterman over his health was evident on Tuesday, August 23, when campaign spokesperson Rachel Tripp remarked, “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke” — a comment that Fetterman’s supporters have attacked as mean-spirited.
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Tripp’s comment follows all the mockery and ridicule Oz has suffered because of his “crudité” video, which was filmed back in April but resurfaced in August. The video shows Oz in a Pennsylvania supermarket, where he complains about the high cost of vegetables and blames President Joe Biden for the expense involved in making “crudité” or a veggie platter. Mocking Oz’s use of the French word “crudité” and his inability to get the name of the store right, Fetterman raised more than half a million dollars for his campaign.
Fetterman spokesperson Joe Calvello slammed Tripp’s attack as “extremely insensitive and frankly unhinged,” adding that “Dr. Oz literally does not know how to talk about the real issues that matter to Pennsylvanians.”
Oz, according to Otterbein and Allison, has challenged Fetterman to five debates — and Oz campaign adviser Barney Keller is claiming that Fetterman “won’t debate because he had a major stroke.”
“Democratic strategists said Oz’s attacks on Fetterman’s health come from a place of weakness — in particular, a need to appeal to the GOP base,” Otterbein and Allison report. “They said his team’s latest criticism about eating vegetables also shows that Oz doesn’t understand Pennsylvania, the land of cheesesteaks and pierogies. A Democratic pollster who conducts focus groups for campaigns in Pennsylvania said that swing voters don’t bring up Fetterman’s health problems themselves while discussing the Senate race, but when they are asked about it, they tend to find it relatable. The pollster was granted anonymity to describe proprietary research.”
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That Democratic pollster told Politico, “50-year-old women from Delco, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s my husband. Oh God, are all men this way?’”
“Delco” is what Pennsylvania residents call the Philadelphia suburbs of Delaware County.
A few recent polls weren’t as bad for Oz as some previous polls have been. Many polls released in July and August have found Fetterman ahead of Oz by double digits, but Emerson College and Trafalgar polls released in late August found Oz trailing Fetterman by only 4 percent.
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