The final four Republican presidential hopefuls debated last night in Detroit, Mich. Fox News Reporter Bret Baier said clean water was among the top issues of concern in the state, due to the Flint, Mich., contaminated drinking water crisis. (As a reminder, more than 8,000 children have been potentially exposed to high lead levels in drinking water following the city’s switch to receive its water from the Flint River.)
Then he asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) this:
“Senator Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both been to Flint. They are both running ads in this state focusing on that, focusing on supporting Flint and fixing the problems, showing images of people in Flint thankful that they're there.
“Without getting into the political blame game here, where are the national Republicans' plans on infrastructure and solving problems like this? If you talk to people in this state, they are really concerned about Flint on both sides of the aisle. So why haven't GOP candidates done more or talked more about this?”
Rubio didn’t answer how national Republicans would address infrastructure issues. He said he and others in his campaign have talked about the issue of Flint, which “was a terrible thing” and a “systemic breakdown at every level of government.” He also stood behind Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.).
Rubio’s main point actually focused on his opinion that “the politicizing of [Flint] is unfair.” Here’s more:
“But here's the point. This should not be a partisan issue. The way the Democrats have tried to turn this into a partisan issue, that somehow Republicans woke up in the morning and decided, 'Oh, it's a good idea to poison some kids with lead.' It's absurd. It's outrageous. It isn't true.
“All of us are outraged by what happened. And we should work together to solve it. And there is a proper role for the government to play at the federal level, in helping local communities to respond to a catastrophe of this kind, not just to deal with the people that have been impacted by it, but to ensure that something like this never happens again.”
Expect Flint’s water crisis to be a central issue for the Democratic presidential debate in that city this Sunday night. The debate will be hosted by CNN.
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