Avlon Rediscovers Usefulness of Party Labels For ‘Gutsy’ Fetterman

News & Politics

CNN senior political analyst joined CNN Newsroom host Erica Hill on Wednesday to recap John Fetterman’s Tuesday debate performance. Avlon tried to reassure viewers that Fetterman’s poor performance was just “a snapshot in time,” that he will recover from his stroke, and that he was “gutsy” to even show up, but also that party label matters. The last point being a complete 180 from Avlon’s commentary on GOP candidates.

Hill began by recalling, “I spoke with former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell and former Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania Charlie Dent. And what I was struck by, I asked the governor out of the gate, do you think that John Fetterman should have debated and he said, no.”

Acknowledging that many Democrats “are feeling that way,” Avlon disagreed and wanted to give Fetterman a participation trophy, “And I think you’ve got to give credit to Fetterman for showing up. Because it is a risky decision, it’s a gutsy decision, knowing how debilitating the stroke was against the backdrop of him saying that doctors have assured him that this is something that can be recovered from.”

Avlon then made the reasonable point that the debate was necessary for Pennsylvania voters to get “a side-by-side comparison and argument between the two candidates.”

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Following up on that point, Hill wondered, “Do you think it was an accurate side-by-side comparison?”

No longer being reasonable, Avlon replied, “In the sense of who Fetterman may ultimately be, no, it is a snapshot in time. It’s a snapshot in time of candidate who had a severe stroke. And I think it does raise questions about transparency of the campaign, whether Democrats, having known the severity of the stroke, could have, up until, I believe, August, selected a different candidate, but this is the choice reflecting voters and they’ll have to factor in individual performance.”

Wrapping up the Fetterman portion of the segment, Avlon added, “The idea that Fetterman along all — you know, estimates is someone who will recover from this, so this is a snapshot in time, and the policies that the two parties represent. But, obviously, the person matters as well as the party.”

Avlon has repeatedly declared Herschel Walker to be unfit to be a U.S. senator, partly because of the question of whether he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion, but also declaring him to be irredeemably incompetent and anyone who still supports him is putting party over country. Now that the party labels are switched and the Democrat is showing signs of being unfit for office, Avlon has decided to make party labels great again.

This segment was sponsored by T-Mobile.

Here is a transcript for the October 26 show:

CNN Newsroom

10/26/2022

10:09 AM ET

ERICA HILL: So, let’s take a closer look now with CNN senior political analyst John Avlon. So, picking up where Jessica left off, so just earlier this morning, about an hour ago, I spoke with former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell and former Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania Charlie Dent. And what I was struck by, I asked the governor out of the gate, do you think that John Fetterman should have debated and he said, no.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. I mean, look, I think a lot of Democrats are feeling that way. And I think you’ve got to give credit to Fetterman for showing up. Because it is a risky decision, it’s a gutsy decision, knowing how debilitating the stroke was against the backdrop of him saying that doctors have assured him that this is something that can be recovered from.

There are a lot of politicians who don’t debate, they’re afraid to debate, they don’t want to get on stage and be subjected to attacks that they feel are unwarranted, whatever their reasons are. So, for Fetterman to decide to step up and take this risk and display his current disability for all to see was a gutsy decision. I also think it was the right thing for the voters of Pennsylvania, more importantly than whether it’s the right thing politically for Democrats, because they deserve — all voters to deserve to see a side-by-side comparison and argument between the two candidates.

HILL: Do you think it was an accurate side-by-side comparison?

AVLON: In the sense of who Fetterman may ultimately be, no, it is a snapshot in time.

HILL: Right.

AVLON: It’s a snapshot in time of candidate who had a severe stroke. And I think it does raise questions about transparency of the campaign, whether Democrats, having known the severity of the stroke, could have, up until, I believe, August, selected a different candidate, but this is the choice reflecting voters and they’ll have to factor in individual performance.

The idea that Fetterman along all — you know, estimates is someone who will recover from this, so this is a snapshot in time, and the policies that the two parties represent. But, obviously, the person matters as well as the party.

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