Former President Obama campaigned for Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) in his Senate race at a rally on Saturday, emphasizing Fetterman’s abilities to serve in the Senate despite his stroke months ago.
“John’s stroke did not change who he is, it didn’t change what he cares about, it didn’t change his values, his heart, his fight,” Obama said. “It doesn’t change who he will represent when he gets to the United States Senate. He’ll represent you.”
Obama said the choice facing Pennsylvanians in the Senate race should be simple, because they don’t want a leader “who is just looking out for himself,” but one who will “work hard for you.” He said Fetterman knows “what it’s like to get knocked down and then get back up.”
“When you get knocked down, you know he’s going to be there to help you get back up,” he said, referring to Fetterman.
Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are locked in a tight battle for the open Senate seat left vacant by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R).
Fetterman has led in polls throughout most of the race, but Oz has closed the gap in recent weeks. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average has registered Fetterman’s lead at less than half a percentage point, and Oz led Fetterman by 2 points in a poll conducted by Emerson College and The Hill late last month.
Fetterman’s health has garnered concerns following news that he endured a stroke in May, days before winning the Democratic primary. Questions have bubbled to the surface about whether his campaign is being completely transparent about his condition during his recovery from the event.
Fetterman released a doctor’s letter last month that said he is in good health and can fulfill his duties if elected to the Senate, but he has not released full medical records. He also struggled at times during his debate with Oz last month to form clear sentences, often stumbling over his words.
Obama said Fetterman has been fighting for people his entire life, having worked for AmeriCorps to teach GED classes for young parents and run for mayor of a small town to create jobs and reduce gun violence.
“You know that John is tough,” Obama said.
Obama also criticized Oz’s position on various issues, including his restrictive views on abortion and his ties to former President Trump, who endorsed Oz in the GOP primary.
Trump is also traveling to Pennsylvania on Saturday to hold a rally for Oz, GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and other Republican candidates in the state.
Obama pointed to comments Oz made in September that more information was needed to determine if Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election as dangerous to democracy.
He also criticized Oz for various products he promoted on his talk show, “The Dr. Oz Show,” to help people lose weight or cure other ailments. Oz has faced criticism from Fetterman and others throughout his campaign for promoting products that were ineffective.
Obama said Oz’s actions say something about his character.
“If somebody is willing to peddle snake oil to make a buck, then he’s probably willing to sell snake oil to get elected,” he said. “You deserve better than somebody who’s just trying to make a quick buck.”