Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz defended his record of “making life better” for everyday people after his Democratic opponent mocked him for a grocery store video in which the doctor purchased foods for a crudité platter.
Mr. Oz, a Republican, was responding for the first time to the uproar over his video, in which he tried to highlight the cost of everyday goods but appeared to mix up the name of the store and used a fancy term for assorted raw vegetables served as an hors d’oeuvre.
Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman used the video to fuel his claims that Mr. Oz, a celebrity physician who recently relocated to Pennsylvania from New Jersey, is out of touch with blue-collar Keystone State voters.
“I’ve rolled my sleeves up my whole life,” Mr. Oz told the conservative Newsmax outlet on Wednesday, referring to his work as a surgeon and philanthropy. “That’s what my life’s been about. When I joke about a crudité — which is a way of speaking about how ridiculous it is that you can’t even put vegetables on a plate — in the middle of a campaign, we’ll do whatever we need to do to make sure the people of Pennsylvania respect what we’re about, and we will work as hard as we can to fix their problems.”
“It’s what I’ve done my whole life and what I’ll continue to do,” he said. “I challenge my opponent: What have you done rolling your sleeves up in your own life to make life better for the people of Pennsylvania?”
Mr. Oz said it was normal to mix up the name of the store. He had said “Wegners,” an apparent mashup of Wegmans and Redner’s.
“I was exhausted,” Mr. Oz told Newsmax.” When you’re campaigning 18 hours a day, I’ve gotten my kids’ names wrong, as well. I don’t think that’s a measure of someone’s ability to lead the commonwealth.”
Mr. Fetterman says his Senate campaign raised more than $500,000 after Mr. Oz’s video went viral. He said everyday people call crudités a “veggie tray.”
Mr. Fetterman recently returned to the campaign trail after suffering a stroke in May.
The Real Clear Politics polling average shows Mr. Fetterman leading Mr. Oz by an average of 8 percentage points.
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