Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) has drilled a deep hole in his ambitions to become the Keystone State’s next senator. In Tuesday night’s debate, Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz deftly presented his positions and attacked Fetterman’s tough-as-velvet approach to crime and embrace of abortion up to 38 weeks. This is nearly a full nine-month pregnancy and well past when babies have arrived and then enjoyed long, healthy, and satisfying lives.
In stunning contrast, Fetterman struggled to answer questions and clarify his views, many of them extreme enough to make Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-Vermont) look like a comparative centrist. Fetterman often seemed to gasp for air, surely a result of his May 13 stroke.
Fetterman opened with these words: “Hi. Goodnight, everybody.” His initial shaky performance grew increasingly disturbing, as his cognitive and physical challenges became impossible to ignore.
Fortunately for Fetterman, the debate lasted only one hour. He relied on speech-processing assistance from closed captioning on a 70-inch HDTV screen. Regardless, after 90 minutes, he likely would have lapsed into total incoherence.
Fetterman was at his worst regarding hydraulic fracturing, a state-of-the-art natural gas extraction method commonly called fracking. The gas production along the Marcellus Shale has turned central Pennsylvania into America’s fracking headquarters. Centered around the city of Williamsport, about two hours north of Harrisburg, fracking has made a once-stagnant region boom.
Over the last decade, natural gas has contributed $2.2 billion in tax revenue to Pennsylvania. PricewaterhouseCoopers consulted the latest government figures last year and concluded that in 2019, Pennsylvania’s natural gas and oil industry supported more than 480,000 jobs, generated $40.4 billion in wages, and contributed $78.3 billion in benefits to the Keystone State’s economy. Pennsylvania’s fracked natural gas cooks dinners in Pittsburgh and heats showers in Manhattan.
Given this great news, it’s no surprise that Fetterman said, “Uh, I’ve always supported fracking. And I always believe that independence with our energy is critical, that we can’t be held, you know, ransom to somebody like Russia.”
Not so fast.
Fetterman’s latter-day love for this technology contradicts the well-documented fact that he was against fracking before he was for it.
“You’re saying tonight that you support fracking, that you’ve always supported fracking,” said WPXI-TV’s Lisa Sylvester, one of the debate’s eminently fair moderators, as was WHTM’s Dennis Owens. “But there is that 2018 interview that you said, ‘I don’t support fracking at all.’ So, how do you square the two?”
Fetterman stood silently, for five painful seconds. He then verbally tripped, fell, and bumbled through this answer: “Uh, I, I do support fracking. And I don’t. I don’t. I support fracking. And I stand. And I do. I support fracking.”
“As he tried unsuccessfully to square the two opposing sentiments, a debate watch party that’d been largely cheery and jabbing at Oz fell silent,” the Daily Beast reported from a gathering of Fetterman supporters in Erie, Pennsylvania. “Some viewers turned to one another, scrunching up their faces and gritting their teeth. One person in the back even let out a groan.”
Fetterman’s excruciatingly delivered lie about “always” being a fracking fan is, at best, politically opportunistic given his years of anti-fracking comments and actions:
• On April 20, 2016, Fetterman signed the Food & Water Action Fund’s anti-fracking pledge. “Do you support a full statewide moratorium on fracking in Pennsylvania?” it asked. Fetterman put an X through the “Yes” box, just beneath his signature.
• Four days later, Fetterman wrote via Twitter: “I support a moratorium on fracking in PA.”
• “I’m not pro-fracking and have stated that if we did things right in this state, we wouldn’t have fracking,” Fetterman wrote via Reddit during his failed Senate bid in 2016. “The industry is a stain on our state and natural resources.”
• “I don’t support fracking, at all, and I never have,” Fetterman said via YouTube in 2018. “I’ve signed the no fossil fuels money pledge,” he continued. “I have never received a dime from any natural gas or oil company whatsoever.”
Critics brutalized Fetterman’s shocking presentation Tuesday.
According to Fox Business Network’s Stuart Varney: “Democrat John Fetterman hammered himself on energy and just about everything else.”
“Democrats are asking the same thing post-debate: Why did Fetterman’s team allow him to take the stage tonight?” the Hill’s Senate correspondent Al Weaver wrote via Twitter. “No one I’m talking to on the left has a good thing to say about what just took place.”
“I spoke to Fetterman recently, and I expected him to be very bad tonight,” Time’s Charlotte Alter recalled via Twitter. “But he was much much worse than I expected (and much worse than in our one-on-one conversation.)”
Dr. Oz has 13 days to deliver the case against Fetterman. His opponent has just shy of a fortnight to clean up his spill on aisles one through 10.
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News Contributor.