In Texas, Gov. Truther?

Insurgent gubernatorial candidate says there are "some very good questions" about 9/11 attacks

Published February 11, 2010 8:50PM (EST)

Debra Medina
Debra Medina

This year, Texas has been home to a heated Republican primary fight between Gov. Rick Perry, who's running for reelection, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Lately, things had been getting even more interesting with the addition of Debra Medina, a Tea Partier who, according to one poll, is in a surprisingly strong third place, just four percentage points behind Hutchison.

Medina may have put an end to her chances, though, with an interview she gave to Glenn Beck on Thursday. Beck told Medina he'd heard from listeners that she is a 9/11 "Truther" -- one of those people who believe the Bush administration was involved in the planning and execution of the terror attacks. So he asked her, "Do you believe the government was in any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?" Medina didn't do herself any favors with her response:

I don’t have all of the evidence, there, Glenn. So I don't … I am not in a place -- I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There’s some very good arguments. And I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there. So I have not taken a position on that.

Though Beck is himself a fan of plenty of different conspiracy theories, he is, to his credit, not a Truther, and he slammed Medina for this. After the interview became news, Perry, too, criticized Medina, showing how serious her candidacy had become.

Medina's now trying to walk her comments back, but the damage may already have been done. Still, here's her statement:

I was asked a question on the Glenn Beck show today regarding my thoughts on the so-called 9/11 truth movement. 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. No one can deny that the events on 9/11 were a tragedy for all Americans and especially those families who lost loved ones.

The question surprised me because it's not relevant to this race or the issues facing Texans. This campaign has always been about private property rights and state sovereignty. It is focused on the issues facing Texans. It is not a vehicle for the 9-11 truth movement or any other group.

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, whether it's Rick Perry and his HPV mandate or Kay Hutchison and voting for the bank bailout. It is absolutely the right and duty of a free people to question their government. Texas does not need another politician who tells you what you want to hear, then violates your liberties and steals your property anyway. I fully expect to be questioned and to be held accountable as Governor, and that's the underlying issue here: should people be questioning their government. And the answer is yes, they should be.

Update: Hutchison has now criticized Medina as well.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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