Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor turned Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, has been indirectly criticizing his opponent John Fetterman’s unsophisticated appearance for months, most notably in online attacks that depict the lieutenant governor as a slovenly “basement bum.” It seemed like only a matter of time before Oz would criticize Fetterman’s signature hoodie and tattoos head-on, especially after Tucker Carlson mocked the Democrat on his Fox News show earlier this month, saying, “All your stupid little fake tattoos — it’s a costume. Duh. It’s not real.”
While echoing Carlson’s attack, Oz made it his own, using it as the basis for yet another unforced campaign error. During a recent appearance on the conservative podcast Ruthless, one of the hosts brought up Fetterman’s attire. Oz said he was “stunned” by his opponent’s “costume,” then theorized about its “deeper message.”
“When he dresses like that, it’s not an accident,” Oz said, according to a recording posted on Twitter by the PatriotTakes account. “He’s kicking authority in the balls. He’s saying, ‘I’m the man. I’ll show those guys who’s boss.’”
Twitter users immediately pointed out that Oz’s line just makes Fetterman sound incredibly cool, especially in a state that has embraced Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ lovably psychotic chaos agent, as its mascot. On Tuesday, Fetterman’s Twitter account completed the traditional Oz-gaffe news cycle by posting an officially sanctioned jab.
Oz’s campaign bumbling often sparks jokes on Twitter that someone working on the campaign must be sabotaging him. This time, journalist Soledad O’Brien shared her version of the quip.
Is it possible that someone on the Oz team is working to sabotage the candidate? I suppose. But a quick look back at his general-election debacles shows that most were self-owns.
- Rather than hitting the campaign trail right after winning the GOP primary in May, Oz headed to Florida and then Ireland, returning only in early July.
- Oz tweeted out a remarkably tone-deaf video in which he tried to illustrate the impact of inflation by complaining about the skyrocketing price of crudités. He also got the name of the grocery store wrong, compounding accusations that he’s a carpetbagger from New Jersey.
- When asked how many houses he owns, Oz said, “Legitimately, I own two houses.” He owns ten residential properties.
- After an Oz campaign staffer got major blowback for saying Fetterman wouldn’t have had a stroke if he “had ever eaten a vegetable in his life,” Oz doubled down, questioning Fetterman’s health himself.
- Oz repeatedly attacked Fetterman for buying his home from a family member for $1, opening himself up to the revelation that the home he’s renting from his mother-in-law was also purchased from a relative for $1.
Is Oz just profoundly bad at campaigning, or does he have a deep need to self-sabotage? I don’t know, as I’m not even a TV doctor. But as a political observer, I do think the Fetterman campaign owes Oz big time, and we’re getting to the point where financial compensation isn’t out of the question. After all, The Doctor Oz Show is no more, and somebody has to pay the mortgages on all those properties.
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