In many ways, Tuesday night’s Pennsylvania Senate debate between Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, a Democrat, will look like what viewers expect: two candidates in a studio of television standing behind lecterns, in this case made of transparent plastic – one red and one blue.
But to accommodate Mr. Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke in May, the campaigns agreed to add something to the mix: two large monitors, a few feet above the heads of the two moderators. Professional typists who usually create closed captions for the hearing impaired will transcribe Dr. Oz’s questions and statements in real time for Mr. Fetterman to read.
Mr. Fetterman speaks “intelligently without cognitive deficits,” according to a statement from his doctor that the campaign released Oct. 15. But he continues to exhibit symptoms of what his doctor called an auditory processing disorder that “can appear as hearing difficulty.”
Dr. Oz, of course, will also see the monitors, and viewers will be able to catch a glimpse of them when the moderators appear on camera.
The debate host, WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, is expected to explain the setup to viewers before the debate begins.