NEWTOWN, P. – On the banners and the big red video screen, everything was said by Dr. Oz, the presenter introduced himself excitedly, and the candidate, Mehmet Oz, quickly took the microphone and stood in the spotlight for more than an hour.
Welcome to Oz’s campaign in the U.S. Senate, where celebrity cardiac surgeon and former daytime television presenter “Dr. The Oz Show is making its way through Pennsylvania in the style of the town hall, which is very reminiscent of the TV studio where he once chaired.
Even his company logo looks the same as his TV show logo.
At one recent event, he confidently spent more than half an hour telling people about himself and the world according to Oz, without a teleprompter and without notes.
He started this, with a little self-awareness for a guy who almost never lived in Pennsylvania and gets into TV commercials every day.
“I know it’s not a brisk rally,” he said, walking in front of the seated rows in the event hall at the Newtown Sports Club in suburban Philadelphia. “You really have to understand who I am, and that’s exactly what I want. I want people to be skeptical of beating tires. “Is this guy legal? Does he represent my values? Yes, I know him on TV, but what is he really about? ‘
He then answered questions as company aides with microphones made their way through the crowd of more than 200 people.
Oz checked the blood pressure of one of those who asked. He gave five to another. He then handed out autographs and posed for photos for 45 minutes.
Oz, at least in part, hopes for his celebrity and comfort by talking to people instantly to help differentiate himself from his Republican rivals heading to the May primaries, and to position himself as a strong contender for the fall general election.
The strategy is similar to the one used to great effect by Donald Trump, a former television star, during his successful 2016 presidential bid.
But it is unclear whether Oz will be able to take advantage of the wide appeal – many have never seen his TV show – and the atmosphere of the daytime talk show may lack tension at a time when the country is facing economic hardship and war growing in Europe.
Oz’s themes – “a dose of reality” or “the doctor is in” – contribute to his reputation as a TV doctor.
To a large extent, Oza’s political campaign is a sequel to his TV show, a 13-year campaign he sparked as a long and successful struggle to defend the health needs of ordinary people by going against the medical facility.
The show, he tells the crowd, “was a huge success. One hundred countries. The number one health exhibition in the world for 13 years. The show has 10 Amy Awards, so I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. “
But to do so, he said, “I had to fight hard for you, and for you, and for you, and for you. … The important thing is that if your audience is in a difficult situation, will you go for its war? Will you become a porcupine and fight back and do what is right, even if it threatens you with death? And I did, and I have scars to prove it. ”
Late last year, Oz – a longtime New Jersey resident who became famous on the Oprah Winfrey show – announced he was running as a Republican for an open seat in the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, one of the major elections in the country that could determine control of the Senate next year.
He began his campaign with long-standing criticism of how the government and medical institutions handled COVID-19, a trampoline from the early days of the pandemic, when he became a regular guest on Fox News.
Like his competitors, he has largely focused his interviews in conservative media.
But where his Republican-nominated rivals looked at the standard campaign fee, Oz bypassed them with ostentation.
Its competitors boast of approvals while Oz made coverage by inviting Dr. Anthony Foci to a televised debate.
“Doctor to doctor,” he said.
And while the competitors surrendered to the forum of candidates, he missed them. Instead, Oz found time for the big stages: get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and speaking at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida.
According to all estimates, Oz leads in the polls, although there are few public polls, and everything else is internal polls.
He is also rich.
How rich he is is not clear, as he asked to extend the application for disclosure of financial information to the Senate.
But the 61-year-old Oz told Sunday’s audience that he had invested $ 10 million of his own money in a race involving multimillion-dollar television robbery between them former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and a McCormick-based super PAC that feeds cash on Wall Street.
Oz faces skeptics.
He is accused of being a charlatan who sold charlatans and miracle cures for profit on his TV show. On Fox News, he played out the possibility that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine may be a drug against COVID-19.
For the Republican Party, which is accustomed to electing white Christians, Oz would become the first U.S. senator to be a Muslim, and perhaps the first to retain dual citizenship. He was born in the United States to Turkish parents, married a Christian American, and raised his children as Christians.
Here charges in carpet bags.
Oz is believed to be renting from his relatives in suburban Philadelphia after moving from his impressive perennial home in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, which overlooks Manhattan, where he until recently filmed his TV show and practiced medicine.
In another case, he grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and attended medical school in Philadelphia. If he loses in Pennsylvania, he could run again in New Jersey in 2024.
Then questions arise as to whether he adheres to the Republicans ’strict stance on things like guns and abortion.
“I have a hidden carryover and I have a lot of weapons,” he said Sunday. “I know how to use them.”
However, he told the restorer, “there are mental health issues that we need to take seriously as gun owners.”
On abortion: “I believe that life begins from the moment of conception,” he told his interlocutor, who said she was campaigning for life.
The crowd leaving the event seemed convinced.
78-year-old Bernice Sikora has never watched any of the Oz shows, but said she likes his energy, sincerity and common sense.
Bob and Eileen Walker will vote for him. The 75-year-old Eileen has watched the Oz show for years and loves its advocacy of “alternative health”. Bob, 73, heard what he wanted to hear from the country of Oz on issues such as illegal immigration.
They know that Oz almost never lived in Pennsylvania, but they don’t care: they also spend a lot of time in New Jersey, in their coastal home.
Carpet bags were in the minds of some there.
“That’s why I wanted to come here,” said Jennifer Spillane, 47. “To see if you can trust him.”
She said Oz was, though she has not yet decided who she will vote for. She then headed to stand in line to be photographed with the celebrity doctor.
Follow Mark Levy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/timelywriter.
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