Trib Live Wednesday, March 30, 2022
By: Ryan Deto
Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke at a campaign event in Canonsburg on Wednesday evening, highlighting his energy policies and taking questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Oz, the surgeon and former host of the Dr. Oz television show, held a panel discussion with prominent campaign supporters like former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and then took questions from an audience of about 300 people inside the Pennsylvania Transformer Technology building, about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh.
Panel speakers, including oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm and Perry, took questions from Oz in a set up similar to his old TV show, with Oz telling anecdotes, but also allowing the speakers to discuss their desire to see increased natural gas production and liquefied natural gas exports.
The Oz campaign provided posters to attendees that read “Free us to frack,” in reference to certain natural gas drilling, which is also called fracking.
Oz claimed that President Joe Biden is hurting the natural gas industry and panel speakers decried the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline project. Oz spoke about natural gas’ ability to lower carbon emissions, and implied that those who support natural gas for these reasons are victims.
“When people say that natural gas reduces carbon emissions, no one listens,” said Oz. “We have to understand that energy supporters are brave enough to say what they say.”
Natural gas emits far fewer carbon dioxide emissions compared to coal, but natural gas facilities also emit methane, a greenhouse gas that is many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Oz also shared an anecdote about a hunting trip he took in Tioga County in Northcentral Pennsylvania. He said the county doesn’t have strong natural gas production and he asked a waitress at a diner what people do for work there. He said the waitress told him that “we sell our bodies and sell drugs.” Oz then said he found a meth lab while hunting there.
Earlier Wednesday at a Republican candidate forum in Erie, Oz’s opponents attacked him over his energy policies and questioned his support of fracking.
After the panel discussion, Oz took questions from the crowd. One attendee asked Oz he believed the results of the 2020 election were legitimate.
Oz claimed that election fraud might cause him to lose the General Election in November.
“If we don’t deal with the election fraud issue, I might not win in November,” Oz said. “We are doing things to watch the polls and get some kind of consistency. But the biggest reality is, I have to win by enough that it doesn’t matter, and we are going to pass a voter ID law.”
Attendees also asked Oz if he was “pro-life.” Oz said he believes life starts at conception, and cited his experience operating on infants as a heart surgeon. Oz has come under criticism from Republican opponents for past comments he made in support of some abortion access.
“That tiny little baby, keeping them alive so we can go in there and fix what was a little defective, it is unbelievable. You get goosebumps thinking about it,” Oz said. “The idea of hurting that child, then or nine months earlier, is inconceivable to me.”
The event ended after about an hour, and many attendees stopped to take photographs with Oz before leaving.