Dr. Mehmet Oz has responded to Snooki—or at the very least to the biting Cameo video Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s Senate campaign commissioned from MTV’s Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to paint Oz as an out-of-touch celebrity carpetbagger.
During a radio appearance last week, Oz acknowledged his opponent’s “clever little videos” by touting his celebrity status and referring to Snooki as an acquaintance who was unwittingly “[taken] advantage of” by the Fetterman campaign. “She’s been on my show. I know all these celebrities. I could actually have celebrities do my campaign for me,” Oz told Philadelphia talk radio host Dom Giordano. He also attempted to downplay the carpetbagging accusations leveled against him by saying that it shouldn’t matter “if I happen to have a house here or there.” (Oz does own a home in Pennsylvania, but did not buy it until this year and, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, he owns properties in Florida, Turkey, and New Jersey, the last of which still apparently shows up in his campaign’s videos.)
In all, it’s clear that despite spending most of the past two months recovering from a stroke, Fetterman, the Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, has still managed to force his opponent to go on the defensive. Fetterman’s campaign has emphasized Oz’s out-of-state ties. Oz, who grew up in Delaware and spent decades living in New Jersey, also faced carpetbagging accusations throughout the primary.
The 47-second clip, which Fetterman’s campaign reportedly purchased via the personalized-celebrity-video site Cameo, quickly went viral, earning more than 83,000 likes and 13,500 retweets. “I heard that you moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to look for a new job. And personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to leave Jersey,” Snooki said in the video shared to Fetterman’s Twitter page. Snooki goes on to encourage Oz by addressing him like a homesick transplant, saying, “I know you’re away from home and you’re in a new place…[but] don’t worry because you will be back home in Jersey soon. This is only temporary.”
During a Monday Fox News appearance, the former celebrity doctor accused Fetterman of “hiding from voters for the last few months” and using “snarky posts written by consultants,” adding, “That’s why I’ve been asking him to get on the campaign trail, come play.” Fetterman returned to the campaign trail last week and is scheduled to attend his first in-person general election fundraiser on Thursday. He gave his first interview since the stroke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week, where he said he is “feeling really good” and has “no physical limits” other than some continuing struggles with hearing.
While the Snooki video received the most attention, Fetterman has hit viral gold multiple times in daily attacks against his opponent on Twitter, which have included mocking an Oz photo op at Philly cheesesteak spots that are known to be touristy and jeering at the Oz campaign’s questionable graphic design choices. The campaign also flew an airplane over the New Jersey beaches with a banner that read, “Hey Dr. Oz, Welcome home to NJ! ❤️ John.”