At a Senate debate Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman, who is recovering from a stroke, at times stumbled over his words, jumbled his answers, and noticeably paused. In the political press, Fetterman’s performance was met with headlines about his “painful debate” and “struggles.”
The debate stirred up questions that have flared since Fetterman’s stroke five months ago, including how Republicans have been using it to stoke doubts about Fetterman, how transparent political campaigns should be about candidates’ health, and whether the media has been ableist and stigmatizing in its scrutiny of Fetterman.
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