In the final moments of the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday, Hillary Clinton called attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
"I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what's happening in Flint, Michigan," Clinton said. "And I think every single American should be outraged."
In April 2014, the city of Flint switched from paying Detroit for its water to piping it in from the Flint River. The saltier water corroded pipes, and since then, lead has leached into residents' tap water.
For months, residents — many of whom are poor and black — drank and bathed in the lead-contaminated water. Blood tests have shown elevated levels of lead in some children, putting them at risk for mental and physical development issues.
"And the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care," Clinton said Sunday. "He had requests for help that he basically stonewalled. I tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would have been action."
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in early January declared a local state of emergency for the Flint area, and the first supplies began to be brought into Flint days later. His response drew criticism from some, including Clinton.
A Clinton campaign aide met with the Mayor of Flint, and the candidate issued a statement. Clinton also spoke about the governor's response on The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday.
That same day, Snyder requested a federal state of emergency for Flint, which President Obama granted on Saturday.
"I went on a TV show, and I said it was outrageous that the governor hadn't acted, and within two hours, he had," Clinton said Sunday at the debate. "I want to be a president who takes care of the big problems and the problem that are affecting the people of our country every day."
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has also spoken of his concerns about the crisis in Flint, as has a White House spokesperson.
Snyder responded on Twitter, calling "political statements and finger pointing from political candidates" a distraction.
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
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