Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, suffered a stroke in May and clearly still suffers some negative consequences of that adverse health event.
Yet, even as Fetterman’s personal physician declared the candidate fit for “full duty” in office, the doctor also admitted that his patient continued to suffer symptoms that would belie the optimistic declaration, Breitbart reported.
Primarily, Fetterman continues to experience the ramifications of an “auditory processing disorder” related to the stroke that makes it difficult for the politician to effectively process the words he hears and has necessitated the use of closed-captioning technology for Fetterman to communicate with others adequately.
Doc admits Fetterman still has problems
That was revealed in a letter sent on Oct. 15 to the Fetterman campaign from personal physician Dr. Clifford Chen, which purported to grant Fetterman a clean bill of health and proclaim the candidate able to “work full duty in public office” with “no work restrictions.”
News: @JohnFetterman releases an updated medical report after a visit with his primary care doctor.
Letter via his campaign 👇 pic.twitter.com/i75J7utrR0
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 19, 2022
However, the doctor noted that Fetterman’s “speech was normal and he continues to exhibit symptoms of auditory processing disorder which can come across as hearing difficulty.”
“Occasional words he will ‘miss’ which seems like he doesn’t hear the word but it is actually not processed properly,” Chen explained. “His hearing of sound such as music is not affected. His communication is significantly improved compared to his first visit assisted by speech therapy which he has attended on a regular basis since the stroke.”
Campaign sets low bar
Fetterman’s lingering auditory deficiencies — and speech issues, despite claims to the contrary from the doctor — following his stroke in May are clearly apparent to anyone who has watched the politician speak in limited campaign appearances or interviews with the media.
That is a reality that even Fetterman’s campaign can’t fully deny or spin, as was revealed in a memo released to reporters that not-so-subtly set the bar of expectations astonishingly low for the one-and-only scheduled debate between Fetterman and his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
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
The memo noted that due to Fetterman’s acknowledged issues as well as Oz’s years of experience as a TV personality, Oz had a “huge built-in advantage” for the debate on Tuesday. That memo further laid the groundwork for its inevitable post-debate excuses for Fetterman’s anticipated poor performance and signaled the campaign’s intention to accuse Oz of being a “malicious” bully if anything critical is said with regard to Fetterman’s health and recovery.
What is clearly revealed in the letter and memo, even if left unsaid or outright denied, is that Fetterman is not fully recovered from his stroke and is simply not yet capable — if he ever truly was — of even engaging effectively in an election debate, much less serving in the U.S. Senate, where effective speech and debate is pretty much the main job requirement.