Former Colorado lieutenant governor Jane Norton, one of the five candidates competing in the Republican primary for the state's 2010 Senate race, is distinguishing herself with her full-hearted embrace of the tea party crowd.
Appearing at a recent coffee-shop event with Colorado voters, Norton sat silently while a female attendee declared twice that President Barack Obama is a Muslim and while a male attendee insisted that the president -- who he deemed "an idiot" -- wanted to let babies die on the side of the road "with the garbage."
"Well as you can tell there is a lot of passion around what is happening in our own country," Norton responded to the crowd, rather than correcting either individual. "And how we can channel that into positive constructive ways that will get our vote out it is going to be absolutely critical."
Also at the event, Norton praised the "tea-party movement and the 9/12 groups" for pushing a right-wing populist, anti-Washington agenda. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee highlighted that exchange in a video it sent to reporters on Monday.
Colorado remains a hub of arch-conservative politics and anti-Obama sentiment despite its recent Democratic leanings. One month ago, an auto dealer in the state gained notoriety when he put up a billboard asking whether Obama was a Jihadist and demanding a birth certificate be produced for the president.
So it's not all that surprising that Norton, in an effort to curry favor with the more impassioned voters, would tolerate that kind of over-the-top rhetoric. Indeed, the National Republican Senatorial Committee worked behind the scenes to get Norton into the race.
And yet, the willingness of the general public to stomach this kind of conspiracy-theory vitriol seems limited.