Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman will reportedly be using a computer to help him understand words during Tuesday’s debate against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz.
The computer is designed to deliver instant closed captioning to the recent stroke-suffering Fetterman as he faces off against his Republican Trump-endorsed challenger after tip toeing around the idea of a debate for weeks.
Fetterman’s team claims that Oz has the advantage due to his history as a famous television host.
“We’ll admit – this isn’t John’s format. Look no further than the debates from the primary earlier this year. On the other hand, ‘Oz is a polished daytime TV host who knows his camera angles and how to craft TV moments,'” said Fetterman advisors Rebecca Katz and Brendan McPhillips.
In a memo sent to reporters, the Fetterman campaign seeks to lower expectations for tomorrow’s debate with Oz: “We’ll admit — this isn’t John’s format … if we’re all being honest, Oz clearly comes into Tuesday night with a huge built-in advantage.” pic.twitter.com/21CCMGGvbI
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) October 24, 2022
“John is ready to share his vision for Pennsylvania, defend his record, and make the case against Oz. He’s going to be talking about his real ideas to help real people. But if we’re all being honest, Oz clearly comes into Tuesday night with a huge built-in advantage,” the advisors wrote.
Fetterman’s team anticipates that his inevitable gaffes, mumbled words, and delayed responses will go viral online after the debate, but stressed that it’s still important that people hear what he has to say.
“We are prepared for Oz’s allies and right-wing media to circulate malicious viral videos after the debate that try to paint John in a negative light because of awkward pauses, missing some words, and mushing other words together. The captioning process may also lead to time delays and errors in the exchanges between the moderators and the candidates,” they wrote.
Fetterman is not well. If you're struggling and unable to form coherent sentences this many months after a stroke, that speaks to serious cognitive problems.pic.twitter.com/sC2reVZHjs
— Doctor Fate (@georg3) September 7, 2022
“In fact, because the captions are going to be typed out by human beings in real-time, on live TV, some amount of human error in the transcription is inevitable, which may cause temporary miscommunications at times. It is impossible to control and unavoidable. That’s OK – what matters is that people get to see and hear John’s values.”
“John has had a remarkable recovery, but the ongoing auditory processing challenges are real. The campaign insisted on closed captioning technology because it’s necessary. But he’ll be open and upfront about those challenges, just like he has been in interviews and at rallies for the past few months. John knows this will not be easy, but he is showing up because Pennsylvania voters deserve to hear from their candidates for the Senate. But remember: John did not get where he is by winning debates or being a polished speaker. He got here because he truly connects with Pennsylvanians.”
John Fetterman sat down with NBC News for an interview tonight. He had to used closed captioning during the interview, the reporter says he had trouble speaking in the "small talk" before the captioning was on, and Fetterman's team is refusing to give them his medical records. pic.twitter.com/Y6tDhYMEPB
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 11, 2022
Fetterman’s own wife, Gisele, has recently claimed that her husband is now “disabled” and part of the “disabled community” following his stroke on May 13, Valiant News reported.