Candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate John Fetterman told ABC’s “The View” hosts on Friday that he was thrilled to get Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement over his Republican opponent and former TV sidekick, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
“He’s an icon. It’s amazing,” Fetterman said. “It’s an honor and I’m so grateful that she understands what’s at stake here in this race.”
Winfrey, whose hit daytime show brought national attention to Oz as America’s ‘doctor’ in the 2000s, announced on Thursday night that she was backing Fetterman in the hotly contested Senate race. who could determine which party would win control of the chamber.
“If I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already voted for John Fetterman, for many reasons,” Winfrey said in an online discussion about the importance of voting.
For months, Winfrey had remained silent about Oz’s candidacy. The Oz campaign responded to its endorsement of Fetterman late Thursday night.
“Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects that they have different policies,” spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said. “He thinks we need more balance and less extremism in Washington.”
Fetterman suffered a stroke in May and has been working with a speech therapist ever since. To help Fetterman’s auditory processing issues during his debate with Oz last week, two monitors were suspended above moderators’ heads to transcribe both questions and answers from Oz in real time.
A week before his debate with Oz, Fetterman’s doctors said he was ready for ‘full duty’ in the office. Yet he refused to release his medical records.
Fetterman opened up about his health on “The View.”
“I keep getting better every day,” he said. “I really fundamentally believe that both of our doctors think we’re fit to serve, and we’ve been able to sustain the…rigors of running a campaign all over Pennsylvania and spending thousands and thousands of miles to across the state.”
“The View” co-host Ana Navarro pointed out that while senators in the past have faced serious health issues in office, none had those health issues before being elected. Having published only two letters from his doctor and not sharing his medical records, Navarro questioned whether Fetterman owed voters full transparency regarding his health.
“I really feel like we left the same type of equivalent medical information as Dr. Oz,” he said. “We have been very transparent in all beliefs of our doctors, both from June and also in October, all agree that I am fit to serve.”
“I believe in the team of my doctors and I believe that we are here today, right now on live television, to be able to have this conversation,” he added. “I feel like we’re running a very transparent race on health issues.”
Fetterman addressed his debate with Oz last week, saying it “definitely wasn’t an equal event” for him, but he thought it was “critical” that he “show up.”
“I was proud to show up,” he continued. “It was much nicer to be with you all today than on stage with Dr. Oz.”
During his debate with Oz, Fetterman pressed him about his wealth, including the number of mansions he owns. Acknowledging that he himself received a privileged upbringing, Fetterman explains the difference between him and his adversary in this regard.
“It’s not necessarily a complete equivalency in terms of the money involved, but I’ve really dedicated my career to helping young people get their GEDs; running for mayor in the community; fighting violence army as they try to create economic development,” Fetterman said.
“Dr. Oz chose to really fight for his bank account,” he added.
During last week’s debate, Oz made a controversial comment about a woman’s choice to have an abortion when he said, “I don’t want the feds involved in this at all. I want that women, doctors, local and political leaders lead democracy … to come up with the best ideas so that states can decide for themselves.”
On “The View,” Fetterman said “as a local politician” himself, it’s not up to him to make the decision. “I always believed that the choice was always between a woman and her doctor,” he said. “I always believed in Roe versus Wade.”
Another burning issue during the debate was hydraulic fracturing. While Fetterman previously opposed it, he came out in favor during his debate.
He told co-host Alyssa Darah Griffin on Friday, “All the issues I’ve had with fracking are really about environmental regulations. Once they’ve been passed and they’ve been resolved, you know, I support fracking.”
“I also absolutely support energy independence, and I make sure that we can never be held by a country like Russia, and I make sure that we produce as much American energy as possible,” he said. he continued. “I fully support fracking.”
Fetterman added that he thinks it’s important “to walk that line between … making sure that we generate as much energy from traditional sources here, but we also make the kind of investment to making sure we transition to more and more green energy.”
In “The View,” Fetterman acknowledged that inflation is “truly critical” for voters and “a tax on workers,” something he thinks Oz can’t relate to.
“To really understand how to fight inflation, you have to understand how it works and how it affects workers as well. And I fundamentally believe Dr. Oz doesn’t really understand that,” Fetterman said, adding that it’s ” critical that we step up and fight” corporate greed and price gouging.
“Inflation, as we know, hurts working families all across Pennsylvania. And I think that leads to, you know, record corporate profits,” he continued. “It’s more important that we stand with American workers and make sure we make more and more stuff here, both in Pennsylvania and in America.
Closing his interview on the daytime talk show, Fetterman shared his message with Pennsylvania voters, calling on his opponent to “use Pennsylvania” in the process.
“I believe I’m running to serve Pennsylvania because I’ve had this long career serving Pennsylvania, and I believe Dr. Oz basically uses Pennsylvania,” he said. “[Oz] is trying to buy the seat here, and he’s going to spend over $20 million of his own money.”
“I really want to fight for every single person in Pennsylvania who’s been knocked down, who’s had to get back up,” Fetterman continued. “I fundamentally believe that I’m always going to get better and better, and Dr. Oz is going to stay the kind of career genre cheat, and lie and sell these kind of magic pills, and get rich.”