Fetterman began Tuesday's debate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with an awkward salutation: "Hi. Good night, everybody."
After branding Oz a liar in his opening statement, Fetterman suggested that his opponent wouldn't let him forget that he had a stroke in May, for which he required a pacemaker implant along with a defibrillator.
The Democrat noted that he "might miss some words during this debate, mush two words together, but it knocked me down, and I am going to keep coming back up."
While Fetterman made sure to address "the elephant in the room," it still managed to trample the Democrat throughout the remainder of the debate.
On a number of occasions, Fetterman either contradicted himself or struggled to find a point.
One of his more challenging moments was when the moderator asked about his shifting stance on fracking.
The New York Post reported that Pennsylvania could lose up to 600,000 jobs if fracking is banned and take a GDP hit of nearly $261 billion. In 2016, Fetterman reportedly supported a moratorium on fracking, stating, "There's no such thing as a green fracker." Newsweek indicated he had also referred to fracking as a "stain."
Given his historic antipathy for fracking, the debate moderator pressed Fetterman on his apparent Tuesday-night pivot on the issue, saying, "You're saying tonight that you support fracking, that you've always supported fracking, but there is that 2018 interview that you said, quote, 'I don't support fracking at all,' so how do you square the two?"
Fetterman answered, "I do support fracking. And I don't, I don't. I support fracking, and I stand and I do support fracking."
When asked about whether the Biden administration has spent too much money, Fetterman responded, "Here's what I think we have to fight about inflation here right now. That's we need to fight about: inflation right now." He then proceeded to attack Oz for owning multiple homes and having merchandise allegedly manufactured in China.
The moderator asked Fetterman why he has refused to release his stroke-related medical records. The Democrat answered, "My doctors believe I am ready to be served."
'The elephant in the room'
USA Today reported that Fetterman's campaign advisers had attempted to lower expectations on Monday, claiming, "This isn't John's format." After the debate, some are left wondering whether the U.S. Senate is Fetterman's format.
"Why the hell did Fetterman agree to this?" asked one Democrat lawmaker and Fetterman supporter, who told Axios, "This will obviously raise more questions than answers about John's health."
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) reportedly told CNN, "It's sad to see John Fetterman struggling so much. He should take more time to allow himself to fully recover."
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, "It's worse than any of us could have ever imagined. At this point the moderator is filibustering to make sure he doesn't get any more Qs. ... Even today's partisan hack media can't cover for Fetterman being brain dead!"
Glenn Greenwald intimated it is not "ableist" to admit that Fetterman might have a considerable problem.
PredictIt is an online prediction market owned by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. It enables people to make predictions on political races by buying shares via a continuous double auction.
Share price corresponds to the market’s estimate of the probability of an event taking place. According the site, users should "Buy ‘Yes’ shares when the price is too low, when you think your fellow traders are underestimating this likelihood. Buy ‘No’ shares when you think they are too optimistic."
In this instance, the question posed was: "Which party will win the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania in 2022?"
On Sept. 28, it was 65 cents to bet "Yes" on Fetterman to win and only 37 cents to bet "Yes" on Oz.
This prediction market turned on Fetterman in a big way on Tuesday.
Although he had been ascribed higher value until October 18, confidence appears to have tanked on Oct. 25. A "Yes" buy for Oz went up from 53 cents to 65 cents. A "Yes" buy for Fetterman dropped from 50 cents the previous day to 39 cents.