Comments Draw National Attention To Issue Ignored By Much Of Mainstream Media
At the end of Sunday night's Democratic presidential debate, the candidates were given 60 seconds to choose an issue they wanted to speak on. Hillary Clinton immediately jumped on the Flint, Michigan water crisis, insisting that "every single American should be outraged" over the lead poisoning of 100,000 residents, including children.
"We've had a city in the United States of America where the population which is poor in many ways, and majority African-American has been drinking and bathing in lead contaminated water and the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care," she said. "He had requests for help that he basically stonewalled. I'll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water, and being bathed in it there would've been action."
Clinton went on to note she had appeared on "a TV show," which was MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, and noted that within two hours of her calling GOP Governor Rick Snyder's inaction "outrageous," he went into action.
Michigan's MLive notes that, just as after Clinton's attack on Snyder on MSNBC, after Clinton's debate comments, a "series of tweets on Snyder's Twitter page late Sunday night discuss the governor's declaration of a state of emergency in Genesee County activation of the Michigan National Guard and asking President Obama for federal aid."
Since emergency declaration we have distributed 27k+ cases of bottled water, 50K+ water filters, & 168k+ water filter replacement cartridges— Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) January 18, 2016
We are committed to ensuring every Flint resident has access to clean & safe drinking water. To find out more visit https://t.co/cOx8XPocxI— Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) January 18, 2016
Bernie Sanders followed up after Clinton, one of the few times during this debate where the two challengers actually agreed.
“What Secretary Clinton was right, and what I did whch I think is also right is demanded the resignation of the governor. A man who acts that irresponsibly should not stay in power.”
The comments from both Clinton and Sanders were heralded by some on social media, including Flint native, filmmaker Michael Moore:
FriendsinFlint- we FINALLY got the Dems 2 acknowledge the tragedy here. Finally. Thank u Bernie & Hillary. Now come here! Actions not words— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2016
Good to see Clinton blasting the situation in Flint. She's right: If rich white kids were getting poisoned with lead, there'd be outrage.— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) January 18, 2016
In closing statements, O'Malley brings up immig reform, Clinton brings up Flint water crisis. A shame NBC neglected these topics. #DemDebate— ¡Gabe! Ortíz (@TUSK81) January 18, 2016
THANK YOU Hillary Clinton for bringing up Flint water crisis. Just insane and unacceptable in America!! #DemDebate— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) January 18, 2016
Good for Hillary Clinton for bringing up criminal situation in Flint,Mi-- Austerity poisoning our kids--— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) January 18, 2016
Video via The Washington Post