A Tea Party activist running in the Republican primary for Texas governor has raised eyebrows by not distancing herself from 9/11 conspiracy theories during an interview on The Glenn Beck Program.
Beck began his interview with Debra Medina on Thursday by stating: "There was a theme that ran against you, which is that you're a 9/11 truther."
"Well, there's lots of mud that people would like to throw at Debra Medina and make it stick ... But that's the first time I've heard that accusation. That's an interesting one," Medina responded, laughing.
"Then let me be more frank and ask you the question," Beck said. "Do you believe the government was in any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Center on 9/11?"
As many political observers see it, that's when Medina got into political trouble.
“I don’t have all of the evidence there, Glenn, so I’m not in a place-- I have not been out publicly questioning that,” Medina said. “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard, there are some very good arguments and I think the American people have not seen all the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that."
"I think the people of America might think that might be a yes," Beck replied. After the interview, the radio host added: "While I don't endorse any candidates, I think I can write her off the list."
Other political commentators have also written Medina off the list, despite recent polls showing her surging against leading Republican candidates Gov. Rick Perry and US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Medina "may have hit a major speed bump today," Jason Embry wrote at the Austin American-Statesman.
"Inability to say, with clarity, that she dismissed '9/11 truther' thought and would not surround herself with anyone who thought that way is enough for me to make it a two-person race again," Mike Hashimoto editorialized at the Dallas Morning News.
A poll released this week showed Medina, a former volunteer for Ron Paul, coming up fast in the gubernatorial primary on second-place Sen. Hutchison, with Hutchison at 28 percent and Medina at 24 percent. Gov. Perry was in the lead, with 39 percent support.
Medina scrambled to contain the damage later in the day, releasing a statement on her campaign site in which she declared: "I have never been involved with the 9/11 truth movement, and there is no doubt in my mind that Muslim terrorists flew planes into those buildings on 9/11. I have not seen any evidence nor have I ever believed that our government was involved or directed those individuals in any way."
"The question surprised me because it's not relevant to this race or the issues facing Texans," Medina added. "The real underlying question here, though, is whether or not people have the right to question our government. I think the fact that people are even asking questions on this level gets to the incredible distrust career politicians have fostered by so clearly taking their direction from special interests instead of the people...."
The Texas gubernatorial primary takes place on March 2.