‘Dr. Oz wears pants:’ Republicans rally to support Mehmet Oz in Bucks County
The rally in Bucks County was Oz's third stop in the Philadelphia region in five days as he targets a vote-rich portion of the state, though one where the GOP has struggled in recent years.
Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz rallied in front of a crowd of supporters Saturday night in Bucks County, making his third stop in the Philadelphia region in five days as he targets a vote-rich portion of the state, though one where the GOP has struggled in recent years.
After running from backstage to tend to a supporter who appeared to pass out during the pre-program, Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, spent much of his speech blasting the “radical left.” (An Oz spokesperson said that the woman had fainted and that he made a “preliminary assessment” as they waited for paramedics to arrive.)
As he has for weeks, Oz hammered the Democratic Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, for refusing, so far, to schedule a debate. Fetterman is healing from a May stroke and struggles with auditory processing and, at times, stumbles over his words. He said last week he would debate Oz, but didn’t agree to any specific date or location.
“To actually agree to a debate you have to actually have a date, and a location,” Oz said.
He was introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.), who also took aim at Fetterman.
“Dr. Oz wears pants,” Kennedy said, mocking the Democrat’s dedication to wearing shorts at all times.
And Kennedy, like many Oz supporters at the event, targeted the financial support Fetterman’s family provided to help pay his living expenses deep into his 40s.
“Dr. Oz did not have his mommy and daddy support him until he was 50 years old,” Kennedy said.
The family aid came as Fetterman was earning $150 a month as mayor of Braddock. He has said that he could have lived a comfortable life by staying in his family’s insurance business, but that his parents’ help allowed him to dedicate himself to public service.
Democrats hit back at Oz for relying on Kennedy to boost his campaign — pointing to Oz’s longtime residency in New Jersey.
“Oz continues to bring in fellow out of staters to try and save his failing campaign because he wants to distract from the fact that he’s a complete fraud who doesn’t know anything about what Pennsylanians’ lives are actually like,” said Jack Doyle, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “If elected, he’d sell out Pennsylvania working families every chance he gets, and that’s why voters will reject him.”
The rally came as Republicans believe Oz has changed the trajectory of the Senate race, and has significantly narrowed Fetterman’s summer lead.
Oz in the last week held two other events in the region as he targeted suburban voters.
Supporters — the campaign said more than 1,200 — gathered on field turf inside the Newtown Events and Sports Center, in Newtown Township, to hear Oz on Saturday.
Fetterman has his own event scheduled in the area Sunday, in Montgomery County, when he’ll rally with the head of Planned Parenthood’s political arm at an event emphasizing abortion rights, and the stakes for abortion in this fall’s elections.
Democrats see abortion as an issue that will keep suburban swing voters moving in their direction, despite historical trends that lean against the party in power in Washington.
Oz’s supporters offered a mix of impressions of the candidate, a longtime TV star making his first run for public office. Some praised him as a dedicated conservative, while others argued that he’d bring a pragmatic streak to Washington.
“Oz is a doctor, he’s well-educated, he’s a good spokesman. I trust him more than I do Fetterman,” said Mary Lou Schmidt, 64, of Doylestown. Fetterman “doesn’t know what hard work is.”
She said she had questions about Oz’s commitment to conservatism during the GOP primary, when his opponents called him a “Republican In Name Only” and pointed to past statements that broke with conservative orthodoxy on issues such as abortion, guns, and fracking.
But when against Fetterman, Schmidt said: “What are your choices?”
“He won the primary and I’m going to support him because we don’t have a choice,” Schmidt added of Oz. Betsy Sale, 67, said she initially had doubts about Oz given the attacks she saw during the GOP primary, when his rivals said he wasn’t a true conservative.
“Once I saw he was endorsed by Donald Trump, that convinced me,” said Sale, of Hatfield. She also said she’d spoken with Oz in person and asked his views on abortion. “He looked at me: He says, ‘From Day One I’ve been pro-life.’ That means a lot to me.”