“If Pennsylvanians are pleased with Bob Casey, then that’s the kind of person I would want to be mentored by, and that’s the kind of example I would like to be,” Fetterman told The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board.
Casey, the senior senator from Pennsylvania, has held office since 2007.
Fetterman during the interview also sought to separate himself from either end of the Democratic Party, saying he does not consider himself a democratic socialist like progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) but also “wouldn’t be like a Joe Manchin type,” according to the Inquirer.
The moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has frequently held up Democratic legislation in the evenly split Senate.
“I’m not criticizing Joe Manchin,” Fetterman said, adding, “I’d want to be the 51st voter to support those kinds of critical bills that we were unable to pass.”
Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, just before the state’s primary, reportedly used closed captioning throughout the interview with the Inquirer due to lingering auditory processing issues. He acknowledged that he does not know if he’ll ever get back to “100 percent.”
“But I have been able to be functioning and giving an interview with you today or getting up in front of 3,000 people,” Fetterman said. “To me, I think that’s the ultimate transparency.”
An NBC News interview on Tuesday, in which Fetterman appeared to have difficulty articulating himself, raised new questions about his health in the final weeks of the campaign against Republican nominee Mehmet Oz.
The Cook Political Report shifted the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania back to “toss up” last week, after previously listing the race slightly in favor of Fetterman.