John Fetterman's fitness for office was questioned after his 2022 Senate debate. He wants Democrats to 'chill' after Biden's poor performance.

  • Sen. John Fetterman leaped to Biden's defense after his poor debate performance last week.

  • "I refuse to join the Democratic vultures on Biden's shoulder after the debate," he wrote on X.

  • Fetterman, who once faced his own bad debate, slammed pundits who said he'd lose in 2022.

Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman has a message for Democrats who want President Joe Biden to step aside following his poor debate performance on Thursday: "Chill."

For Fetterman, the second-guessing and outright panic from some Democratic quarters toward Biden is reminiscent of the criticism he faced following a rocky 2022 Senate debate against his then-opponent, GOP nominee and celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz.

In a series of remarks following Biden's debate with former President Donald Trump, Fetterman made it known that he disagreed with members of his party who were seeking alternatives to the president.

"I refuse to join the Democratic vultures on Biden's shoulder after the debate," the senator wrote on X. "No one knows more than me that a rough debate is not the sum total of the person and their record."

Biden now faces one of the most daunting challenges of his political career as he continues to campaign while reassuring supporters of his fitness for office and resisting pressure from some Democrats who want him to make way for a new, younger nominee.

Fetterman said that after his 2022 debate, some pundits predicted that he would lose to Oz. The senator was more than happy to point out that not only did he win, but his Senate race was the only one in the country that year where the seat changed parties.

"What happened?" Fetterman wrote. "The only seat to flip and won by a historic margin (+5). Chill the fuck out."

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," the senator once again compared his situation with Biden's.

"We had a difficult debate, and yet we still managed to go on to win," he told host Shannon Bream. "One debate is not a career."

Fetterman's debate took place in October 2022, following a stroke that he suffered in May of that year. The then-candidate's speech patterns were affected by the stroke, and Republicans leaped at the chance to make his health an issue ahead of the general election, questioning whether he had the acuity to serve in the Senate. Some Democrats at the time also wondered why Fetterman agreed to debate Oz at all, concerned that his performance had boosted GOP fortunes.

After Fetterman began his term in the Senate last year, he took time off to enter the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for depression. He has spoken openly about the experience and the "downward spiral" that he endured after winning the Senate contest.

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