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Democrats will swing at Oz with an abortion ad during the World Series

Democrats hope Mehmet Oz's comments on abortion can offset some of the political damage done by John Fetterman’s halting performance during their U.S. Senate debate Tuesday.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz speaks during a debate at abc27 in Harrisburg on Tuesday.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz speaks during a debate at abc27 in Harrisburg on Tuesday.Read moreGreg Nash/Nexstar

National Democrats are taking a big swing at Mehmet Oz during the World Series.

As fans settle in to watch the Phillies and Astros begin their championship series Friday night, a top Democratic political group will run an ad during Game 1 highlighting Oz’s comments on abortion rights in a closely watched U.S. Senate debate Tuesday.

The spot is expected to cost about $100,000 for a single airing on Philly’s Fox29, a huge sum even in a race that has already cost nearly $320 million. (For comparison’s sake, a weekday ad during Fox29′s 6 o’clock news cost the same group $700.)

The ad points to Oz’s response during Tuesday’s debate against Democrat John Fetterman, when Oz, the GOP nominee for Senate, explained his view that abortion laws should be set by individual states.

» READ MORE: Mehmet Oz said local politicians should have a say in abortion. Democrats see an opportunity.

“I want women, doctors, local political leaders letting the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves,” Oz said.

Democrats have pounced on the phrase involving “local political leaders,” and pointed out that in Pennsylvania, that could be State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a strict antiabortion Republican who is running for governor.

“Oz thinks abortion decisions belong to politicians, like Doug Mastriano, who could ban abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest,” says the ad, from Senate Majority PAC, a Super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.).

It replays a brief snippet of Oz saying “local political leaders,” without the rest of his response. It’s unclear if the ad will continue airing after Game 1, though.

Oz throughout his Senate campaign has said he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life. Pressed during the debate on a proposed federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, he declined three times to say if he’d vote yes or no on the bill, but repeatedly said he wouldn’t want the federal government setting the law.

“Doctor Oz’s position on abortion is that he’s pro-life, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, and he opposes the federal government getting involved with states’ decisions on that topic,” Oz spokesperson Brittany Yanick said.

“Pennsylvanians have a clear choice: John Fetterman, who always takes the extreme position on nearly every topic — or Dr. Oz, who will bring balance to Washington.”

Fetterman said during the debate that he wants to reinstate the law as it stood under Roe v. Wade.

While Oz’s position has been well-advertised, Democrats believe his phrasing could crystallize his views for voters in the final days of a close contest that could decide control of the Senate.

And they hope the abortion comment might offset some of the political damage done by Fetterman’s halting debate performance. The Philadelphia region is critical to Democratic support in Pennsylvania, and also rich with suburban swing voters.

“As Phillies fans tune into the World Series on Friday, they’ll be greeted with the truth about Oz’s position on abortion in his own words,” said Veronica Yoo, a spokesperson for Senate Majority PAC. “,... After spending months hiding his extreme agenda, Oz has confirmed the very worst fears of Pennsylvanians — and we’re making sure voters see and hear just how out-of-touch he is on the issues.”

» READ MORE: Key takeaways from the Pa. Senate debate between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz

Republicans — and, privately, some Democrats — doubt the debate moment will move many votes. Voters motivated by abortion rights likely know where Oz stands by now, and have probably made up their minds, they say, even if his debate response was “somewhat inartful,” as Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) put it.

“That tells you just how weak the Democrats’ case is,” Toomey, an Oz supporter, said in an interview about the debate.

“Oz made it very, very clear, as he has consistently for I don’t know how long now, that his view is post-Roe v. Wade that the law regarding abortion be set by the various states,” Toomey said. “When you do that, you end up getting a different set of statutes that reflect the culture and the values of the different states. … Massachusetts will be different from Alabama.”