Fetterman’s streak of misfires after stroke fuels fitness questions: ‘Kicking balls in authority’

A series of missteps by Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman during the Senate campaign fueled questions about his fitness for office.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May and his gradual return to the campaign has been marred by verbal stumbles and mistakes.

“The [Philadelphia] The Eagles are way better than the Eagles!” Fetterman told a crowd in Philadelphia late last month.


“I’m doing fantastic, and it’s not about kicking balls into power or anything like that,” Fetterman recently told MSNBC host Chris Hayes. (Fetterman confused the phrase “kicking authority in the balls,” which is how GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz described Fetterman.)

“And make sure you take advantage of this incredible opportunity, the only thing you can … lose is your record,” Fetterman said in a pre-recorded video to supporters last month.

Fetterman’s stumbles give Republicans plenty of ammunition to raise questions about his fitness for office.

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate candidate, has faced questions about his fitness for office since returning to the campaign trail.
(Michelle Gustafsson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fetterman about his recovery from a stroke at a rally in Pittsburgh earlier this month while aiming for Oz.

“As you know, I had a stroke,” Fetterman told the crowd. “Oh, I’m so grateful to be here today, having lived through this better and better, you know?”

“You know, the only remaining problem I have after this stroke is sometimes auditory processing, sometimes. And every once in a while I might miss a word or sometimes, you know, I might mix two words together,” Fetterman said before bringing up an Oz video his campaign has mocked all summer.


Fetterman has drawn criticism for not being open about his health since his stroke in May, which occurred days before he easily won the Democratic nomination for Senate. Oz and others have raised questions about whether the 52-year-old former mayor of Braddock, Pa., is up to the task of serving in the Senate.

Brittany Yannick, director of communications for Oz, who is closing the gap with Fetterman on the much-watched draw competition, told Fox News Digital that “on KDKA radio, John Fetterman swore up and down that he wasn’t on the heart transplant list.”

“If he’s willing to tell a journalist that he doesn’t need a heart transplant on the record, what’s the problem with making his medical records public to confirm that?” Yannick said. “Fetterman already hid the fact that he has atrial fibrillation when he ran for lieutenant governor and during the Democratic Senate primary, so how can we take him at his word now?”

“The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called on both candidates to release their medical records weeks ago. Oz published his. Why didn’t Fetterman do it?” she continued. “It’s weird and weird that he hasn’t done it yet. What is John Fetterman hiding?’

Mehmet Oz, a Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, did not shy away from raising questions about Fetterman's fitness for office.

Mehmet Oz, a Republican Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, did not shy away from raising questions about Fetterman’s fitness for office.
(Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“As we’ve said time and time again, John is healthy and also still has an auditory processing problem that his doctors expect will go away,” Fetterman campaign spokesman Joe Calvello told Fox News Digital in a statement.

“John has already published a letter from his cardiologist, submitted a candid letter directly from himself about his stroke, and has spoken about his health openly with local and national media,” continued Calvello.

“Unfortunately for Dr. Oz and the pathetic Republicans who are desperately fighting against his reinstatement, John is getting better every day and he will win this race to be Pennsylvania’s next senator,” he added.

Fetterman’s health will continue to be a central topic of the November race, and even the White House is worried about the topic, the Associated Press reported.


The Pennsylvania Democrat is still up in the polls against his Republican opponent, but with the Keystone State’s purple hue, it’s anyone’s game.

Thomas Phippen of Fox News Digital and The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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