Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates wasted little time before attacking Dr. Mehmet Oz in Wednesday night’s GOP primary debate at Grove City College.
Moderator Greta Van Susteren began the debate — which aired live on Newsmax — by asking the candidates whether they were in favor of any exceptions when it came to abortion, and whether the candidates had changed their minds regarding the issue.
The first candidate to respond was Kathy Barnette, who said she was the “byproduct of a rape” and referenced an interview Oz did with the “Breakfast Club” radio show in 2019, when he stated he supported abortion rights.
“I was not just a lump of cells. As you can see, I’m not just a lump of cells. My life has value,” Barnette said. “And that is one of the reasons why it was so very disturbing when I saw Mehmet Oz running for this particular race — when I’ve seen him on numerous occasions, and specifically at the ‘Breakfast Club,’ saying that my life was nothing more than an acorn with electrical current.
“I am wondering if the good doctor has now since changed his position on that.”
Oz, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, was given 30 seconds to respond.
“One of the toughest endorsements you can get is from your mother-in-law, and my other-in-law is an ordained minister,” Oz said. “She wrote a lot of the pro-life literature in Montgomery County where we live, and she certainly understands that I’m pro life.
“As a heart surgeon, I’ve operated on small children, a few days old, and witnessed the majesty of their hearts pounding blood, even though it’s ill, as I’m operating on them through those bodies, I would never think of harming that child or nine months earlier, because life starts at conception.”
David McCormick, who joins Oz as the top two leading GOP candidates in the polls, said Oz’s response to Barnette was not “an adequate answer.”
“If you go back to that ‘Breakfast Club’ interview, which was three years ago this month, he talks about a whole different set of positions,” McCormick, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, said while looking to Oz.
“He attacks the positions you’re saying now, and the Pennsylvania voters need to know. And it’s another example of you being phony in terms of the positions you’re putting forward.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands also attacked Oz for not coming to other debates.
“I think it’s probably because he’s what I call a MINO — and that’s MAGA in Name Only,” she said. “So he’s afraid.”
Real estate developer Jeff Bartos took a shot at Oz for having lived in New Jersey.
“Pennsylvania has a proud tradition of sending United States senators to Washington who are pro-life, from both parties,” Bartos said. “We have a tradition of sending governors to Harrisburg from both parties who are pro-life.
“And this seat, which will likely decide control of the Senate, is too important to trust two people who are from Connecticut and New Jersey.”
Oz also went on the attack — going after President Joe Biden.
“The only thing Joe Biden has built back better is the Republican Party,” Oz said. “He has worked overtime to give us a reason to unite. But we keep showing up at cultural war knife fights with neatly arranged 3-by-5 index cards. We have to get into these issues.
“The liberals are taking over our media. They control much of government. Corporate suites are dominated by the woke ideology in our universities as well. We’ve got to engage in all levels. We’ll need different kinds of people to access these different points.”
McCormick said he had been the victim of Oz’s attack ads even before announcing his run for office.
“He’s a Hollywood liberal that has had held a set of positions and he has flip-flopped on every single one, and now he’s presenting himself as America First,” McCormick said.
Oz returned the fire to McCormick.
“Desperate Dave, dishonest again,” Oz responded. “Once again, President Trump endorsed me because he knew that these ads were as vicious toward me and untrue as they were against him, because they’re delivered by insiders who are scared of what we represent, which is telling the truth and pushing back hard.
“I will do that, for the very reason President Trump endorsed me. And just you all know, before anyone knew I was in the race — because I hadn’t entered yet — I was being attacked by David McCormick. So it goes both ways. I’m a porcupine.”
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