David McCormick reacts to Trump's endorsement of Mehmet Oz and denies shipping jobs to China
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Donald Trump's endorsement was sought by almost every Republican seeking the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, but Dr. Mehmet Oz was the only candidate to receive it.
In an interview seen only on KDKA, one of the other candidates tells political editor Jon Delano how he hopes to overcome that endorsement.
Trump's "complete and total endorsement" of Oz has put the other candidates like David McCormick in a bit of a quandary.
Delano: How important is an endorsement from President Trump in this primary?
McCormick: There's no doubt that President Trump is very popular in Pennsylvania. He's got high popularity, and I think with good reason.
Delano: What you are saying is that President Trump is very popular and there's good reason for that, but that his endorsement doesn't matter? Is that what you're saying?
McCormick: I'm saying that Pennsylvanians want to elect a leader in their senator who can go and fight for their values.
McCormick, who polls suggest is in a neck-and-neck race with Oz, is careful not to criticize Trump, But in a recent campaign ad, McCormick calls Oz "a complete and total fraud."
Delano: Who's right? Donald Trump or Dave McCormick?
McCormick: My suggestion is for Pennsylvanians – and they're pretty smart – everywhere I go they ask hard questions – I just suggest they look up Oz in his own words.
McCormick says Oz has said and written things in the past that are at odds with his words today, and he should be held accountable. McCormick says voters will pick someone who is authentic, not a fake.
Delano: Would it worry you if President Trump came to Pennsylvania and campaigned for Dr. Oz?
McCormick: I suspect he will come at some point if I had to guess.
"I have a lot of faith in the people of Pennsylvania. I think they respect President Trump, but I also think they are going to make the best choice for them and Pennsylvania," McCormick said.
Last Friday's Trafalgar Poll shows Oz with a three-point lead over McCormick, 22.7% to 19.7%, with conservative commentator Kathy Barnette at 18.4%, ambassador Carla Sands at 11.2% and real estate developer Jeff Bartos at 7.4%. The margin of error is +/- 2.99%.
The television attack ads between Oz and McCormick have escalated, financed both by donors and millions of dollars from their own pockets. Recent ethics filings show both Oz and McCormick are worth tens of millions of dollars.
Delano: Can somebody as wealthy as you really understand what the average Pennsylvanian is going through right now, how tough it is to make ends meet?
McCormick: I've been fortunate. I started my life and grew up in Pennsylvania in Bloomsburg, and I didn't have anything.
China has become a matter of contention between Oz and McCormick. McCormick, the former CEO of a billion-dollar hedge fund that invested in China and earlier the head of a local company named FreeMarkets, rejects claims that he shipped jobs from Pittsburgh to China.
Delano: True or false?
McCormick: Not only false but completely false. That's just an outrageous lie.
No jobs shipped to China, but McCormick acknowledges cutting Pittsburgh jobs in downsizing FreeMarkets here.
McCormick: Not a single job was outsourced. Not a single job was outsourced to China.
Delano: But I do believe in one of my interviews with you, you acknowledged that you did cut 50 to 60 jobs in Pittsburgh.
McCormick: That's right. Yeah, if you've ever run a business, you know that it's tough. You go through good times and bad.
McCormick says when the tech bubble burst 20 years ago, he had to cut costs in Pittsburgh. He said it is one of the hard things a leader must do.
Republican voters will pick their nominee for Senate just four weeks from Tuesday.
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