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Tipsheet

Fetterman Really Isn't Going to Want to Debate Dr. Oz After This Ad

Dr. Mehmet Oz -- the TV star and GOP Senate nominee in Pennsylvania -- holds American and Turkish citizenship, and would be the first-ever Muslim-American elected to Congress' upper chamber (he calls himself a 'secular Muslim').  His ties to the Turkish government have been an issue in the campaign, and Oz has pledged to renounce his Turkish citizenship if he wins his tight race against leftist Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November.  Questions about Oz's status on this front arose during the bruising Republican primary, and ever since he secured the nomination, some on the Left have also pursued it as a line of attack.  Oz says the Fetterman campaign has also tried to use this element of his biography to sow doubts about his candidacy, so he addressed the issue directly during a town hall-style forum, responding to a woman's question about it.  Framing the controversy in such a personal and sympathetic way is smart:

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Debates have been a major flashpoint in this campaign, which is either really tightening, or not so much, depending on which polls you believe.  Fetterman has sought to limit debates, following his stroke, which has hindered his ability to speak fluidly and fully coherently at times.  He continues to be, shall we say, less than forthcoming about his health status, to the point that even major liberal newspapers have called for more transparency.  The Democrat finally agreed to a single debate, weeks after early voting gets underway, with various demands (closed captioning, practice sessions) to help accommodate his diminished capacity.  The Democrat's focus has been on mocking Oz for not being a real Pennsylvanian and wealthy, and talking endlessly about abortion -- including holding an abortion rally on 9/11.  We showed you this Oz ad in a previous post, but I think it's quite effective in highlighting some of the reasons Fetterman isn't eager to debate, and doesn't give many interviews with non-friendly sources:

Yes, Fetterman failed to pay taxes on multiple occasions, including taxes for his local schools. He'll be a lackey for the teachers unions, selling himself as a big advocate of public schools, but he had to be chased down to address his serial school tax avoidance. He also opposes school choice while sending his own kids to a pricey private school, because of course he does. In addition to his phony populism rooted in longtime mooching deadbeatism -- taking in tens of thousands of dollars a year from his parents, well into his 40's, as he worked as an unsuccessful mayor with no real income to speak of -- Fetterman is a radical on policy.  He's a Bernie Bro and an Elizabeth Warren fan.  He's hostile to Pennsylvania's energy industry, and has extreme views on crime, which Republicans are hammering on a daily basis:

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Fox News covered this last month, rightly flaying Democrat-aligned 'fact-checker' Politifact for running embarrassing interference on behalf of Fetterman, helping him disguise his radicalism:

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman said he agreed with reducing the state’s prison population by one-third in an unearthed 2020 clip after his campaign recently accused Republican opponent Mehmet Oz of lying in ads citing Fetterman’s beliefs. Earlier this month, Oz’s campaign released an ad saying, "John Fetterman wants to release one-third of prisoners and eliminate life sentences for murderers."  The Fetterman campaign asked TV stations not to run the ad due to "blatant lies and misinformation." ... Despite the campaign’s claims, Fox News Digital has uncovered at least three previously unreported instances of Fetterman expressing support for reducing the prison population by one-third. In a virtual panel discussing the Pennsylvania prison system Oct. 7, 2020, Fetterman stated, "I was on a panel with Secretary Wetzel earlier, before the pandemic hit, and he said something remarkable that I agree with. He said, 'We could reduce our prison population by a third and not make anyone less safe in Pennsylvania.’ And that’s a profound statement."

In July 2020, Fetterman tweeted, "We could reduce our state prison population by 1/3, make us *no* less safe + save $1B a year." In April 2020, PennLive reported that "Fetterman said the state could cut its inmate population by one-third by releasing non-violent offenders and older convicts." PolitiFact tackled Oz’s framing of Fetterman’s views in July, rating it "mostly false." At the time, PolitiFact analyzed a digital ad from the Oz campaign that said, "John Fetterman wants to release one-third of dangerous criminals back into our communities."... The second claim in Oz’s ad, that Fetterman wants to eliminate life sentences for murderers, is also disputed by the Fetterman campaign. PolitiFact rated the claim "mostly false" this month, saying it was "similarly distorted" like the one-third claim.  Fetterman does, in fact, want to eliminate mandatory life-without-parole sentences for inmates convicted of second-degree murder, but PolitiFact said Oz’s claim "contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression."
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Fetterman literally said that the one thing he'd do, if he was handed a magic wand, would be to eliminate life-without-parole sentences (which obviously impacy many murderers), and Politifact determined that it was "mostly false" to mention it.  He also advocated reducing the prison population by 1/3 on numerous occasions, on camera, which Politifact has similarly declared out of bounds to note.  Hackery.  Will Politifact also ding criticisms of this Fetterman position as "false"?


I'll leave you with this:

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