Updated Oct 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Fetterman at debate on fitness to serve: "Transparency is about showing up"

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman holds a rally at Nether Providence Elementary School on October 15, 2022 in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman holds a rally at Nether Providence Elementary School on Oct. 15 in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, responded to a question during Tuesday's debate about his fitness to serve after experiencing a stroke, saying, "For me, transparency is about showing up," while emphasizing his doctor's positive outlook on his recovery.

Driving the news: "I'm here today to have a debate," the Democratic candidate said during the first and only televised debate before the Nov. 8 election against his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz.

  • Fetterman did not commit to releasing his full medical records. "My doctor believes I'm fit to serve," Fetterman said.
  • He added that he's been campaigning in public.

The big picture: Last week, Fetterman released a note from his doctor that said he was recovering well from the stroke in May, per the Associated Press.

  • Oz's campaign has repeatedly pressed Fetterman to release his health records.
  • Fetterman mentioned his stroke in his opening remarks, referring to his health as the "elephant" in the room.

State of play: Fetterman's campaign agreed to a debate with Oz in September and they called Tuesday's match-up "unprecedented."

  • "There’s never been a closed-captioned political debate in a high-profile Senate race where one of the candidates is dealing with a lingering auditory processing challenge while recovering from a stroke," Fetterman's campaign said earlier that day.
  • The debate featured closed captioning, a request by Fetterman's team.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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