(The Hill) – Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz said in a new interview that he was “exhausted” when he made a video that later went viral showing the celebrity doctor shopping for ingredients for “crudité” while mispronouncing the name of the grocery store.
“I was exhausted. When you’re campaigning 18 hours a day you, listen, 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,” Oz told Newsmax on Wednesday when asked about why he said “Wegners,” a cross between the Redner’s and Wegmans chains.
In April, Oz put out a video set in a grocery store in which he sought to show how inflation had made buying items like broccoli, asparagus, guacamole and salsa more expensive.
The campaign for his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, seized on the video last week to argue that Oz was out of touch with voters.
Fetterman’s campaign pointed to Oz’s mispronunciation of the grocery store’s name and stressed that he was shopping for ingredients for “crudité,” something Fetterman said Pennsylvanians would call a “veggie tray.”
Fetterman’s campaign reported on Tuesday that it had fundraised more $500,000 off of the Oz video, including raising $65,000 from one sticker alone with the phrase “Wegners: Let Them Eat Crudité.”
“So I rolled my sleeves up my whole life. I’ve taken care of patients, saved lives, invented devices. I’ve started foundations where we take care of tens of thousands of teens around the country trying to help wherever I can. That’s what my life’s been about,” Oz told Newsmax when asked if he could relate to most Pennsylvania residents.
“We’ll do whatever we need to do to make sure that people of Pennsylvania respect what we’re about and then we’re going to work as hard as we can to fix their problems.”
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Thursday shifted its rating of the Pennsylvania Senate seat from “toss-up” to “lean Democrat.”