Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., has long held the belief political candidates can never win televised debates. They can only lose the event, in the eyes of the voting public.
"But [Tuesday] night was the exception to that rule: Dr. Oz won that debate," Reschenthaler told Newsmax on Wednesday's "Rob Schmitt Tonight."
The Pennsylvania congressman was referencing Tuesday's much-hyped U.S. Senate debate between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Fetterman, who had suffered a debilitating stroke this summer, and Oz squared off in their only debate — a matchup which garnered a lot of national attention, primarily due to Fetterman's stumbles on basic questions, even when given the assistance of a closed-caption teleprompter.
There is also a chance Pennsylvania's eventual winner breaks the 50-all tie in the Senate chamber.
After the event, the majority of online viewer polls touted Oz as the decisive debate winner.
However, that did not stop a number of left-leaning media outlets from chiding Oz for allegedly bullying Fetterman for being disabled, although it can be argued whether a stroke counts as a "disability" or "impairment."
The media also attempted to carve out sympathy votes for Fetterman, in the aftermath of Tuesday's debate. But Reschenthaler says that tactic likely will not work with Pennsylvania voters — especially those who possess a full understanding of Fetterman's political platform.
In hindsight, Reschenthaler says Fetterman was "boxed in" for his debate performance: He could either "double down" on his progressive policies, or "moderate and move to the middle."
Instead, Reschenthaler opined Fetterman went the route of rarely defending his record, or even elaborating on established positions.
"Dr. Oz was very forward about his positions, and I think that will really resonate with the people of Pennsylvania," Reschenthaler said.
"And we have [Team Fetterman] dead to rights on fracking," says Reschenthaler, referring to a 2016 pledge from Fetterman, where he explicitly denounced fracking in Pennsylvania.
When reviewing the debate, Reschenthaler noted how Dr. Oz made no public mention of Fetterman's health problems.
"That's a double-edged sword" for the opposition, according to Reschenthaler, reasoning that for every vote Fetterman lost due to his condition or poor performance, he might have gained another vote back if Oz had made a spectacle of Fetterman's condition.
"The attacks on Fetterman should really come from his policy decisions," Reschenthaler said, denouncing the Democrat's "radical" positions on the economy, healthcare, fracking, releasing prisoners, and "doing away with second-degree murder" charges in Pennsylvania.
"Dr. Oz was going to win this race," Reschenthaler concluded.
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