Former New York Gov. George Pataki said on Newsmax he believes it's completely in bounds for inquisitive Pennsylvania voters — regardless of political affiliation — to wonder about state Lt. Gov. John Fetterman's health in the final weeks of the high-stakes U.S. Senate race.
Pataki certainly wishes Fetterman the best of luck in his effort to recover from an apparent summertime stroke, "but the question is: Will [Fetterman] continue to be a strong advocate for the people of Pennsylvania? It's a very legitimate issue," Pataki told Newsmax Monday afternoon, while appearing on "American Agenda" with host Bob Sellers.
Only Fetterman's doctors can speak to the Senate candidate's condition in great detail. At the same time, Pataki said the voting public is free to interpret Fetterman's viral speech from this past weekend, when the Democrat appeared slow and confused during his time at the podium.
Forget about politics for a moment, said Pataki, a Republican who occupied the governor's office from 1995-2006.
At the core, "this is [still] somebody who is far left, very far left, a strange person," the former New York governor said of Fetterman. "The Democratic leadership [initially] did not want him as the nominee."
Most tracking polls have Fetterman leading over Republican Senate candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
However, Oz has been gathering steam of late, thanks to a recent rally featuring former President Donald Trump. It's also possible that Fetterman's condition has become a key concern among Pennsylvania voters.
Combine Fetterman's hazy health and his "far-left" policies," and, Pataki said, "Dr. Oz would be a strong voice as senator for Pennsylvania and the United States."
Oz's critics point to him previously residing in neighboring New Jersey, but Pataki doesn't see that as a game-changing issue — especially since Hillary Clinton already set that precedent in 2008, when Clinton won a U.S. Senate seat in New York.
The people criticizing Oz today "were the same ones cheering on Hillary Clinton the loudest when she ran for senator of New York — without living in New York a day in her life," said Pataki. "So, it all really comes down to politics," and which side one supports.
Pataki also said that Oz should continue to press Fetterman for one-on-one debates before the Nov. 8 midterms.
In this age of viral infections, pandemic worries, and drawn-out arguments about socialized medicine, Pataki said having a "medical expert [in the Senate] would be a tremendous thing for the American people."
Debate or no debate, Pataki suggested Oz should remain aggressive with his campaign, while purposely drawing a clear line of distinction — from the standpoints of messaging, mobility, and work ethic — between himself and Fetterman.
"I fear that Fetterman is running a Joe Biden-esque, hide-in-the-basement, avoid-talking-about-the-issues type of campaign," said Pataki.
The Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked in a 50-all tie for Senate seats, heading into the midterms.
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