(Updated with Perry reaction)
How do you know you're having a bad, momentum-killing day on the campaign trail?
When you're forced to put out an official statement saying No, I don't believe 9/11 was an inside job.
Debra Medina, who had been surging recently in polls of the GOP gubernatorial primary (at least in relation to Kay Bailey Hutchison; Rick Perry remains, as always, in his time-honored "about 40 percent" range.)
The heat from the surge led to an invitation to the Glenn Beck radio show. And again, if you go on the Glenn Beck program and he sounds like the sane one, you're not having a good day.
Beck asked -- because the issue is so relevant to the Texas race -- whether Medina was a "9/11 Truther."
Medina didn't exactly handle the question well.
She said she didn't know she'd been accused of being one.
Beck then asked: "Do you believe the government was any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?"
Medina replied: "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 of the evidence there. So I haven't taken a position on that."
Beck decided to announce what a boon the answer was for Perry by declaring homosexual love: "Rick, I think you and I could French kiss right now."
Medina's campaign eventually put out this 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.Perry weighs in: "Today's comments were an insult to the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11 and the military men and women who are overseas protecting our country. President Bush worked tirelessly to protect our nation from additional terrorist attacks and anyone who would suggest 9/11 is a conspiracy involving the Bush administration should be ashamed."
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.