When you’re a presidential candidate, your every move is under the microscope. No one knows this better than Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. Last Sunday, she appeared in Flint at the House of Prayer Memorial Baptist Church, offering her support for the city’s water crisis.
To her detractors she was politicizing a crisis that has left countless number of children ill from contaminated water. Her supporters view the action as thoughtful and praised her concern.
It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Clinton was either unperturbed by the issue or didn’t give a damn.
“This is not merely unacceptable or wrong, though it is both,” she told the congregation at the church, “what happened in Flint is immoral.”
She repeated what she said weeks ago when the crisis first hit the headlines that if contaminated water was in the suburbs of the Detroit there would have been a different reaction from the state. “I think we all know we would have had a solution yesterday,” she said.
Clinton’s campaign team hit back at those who said she was politicizing the crisis, particularly Republican Gov. Snyder, who many feel is to blame for the problem and stonewalled assistance.
“This is a water issue,” said one Flint resident. “It’s not a political issue. We got kids who are suffering. We don’t have time for this partisan stuff.”
Thus far, Clinton has been the only presidential candidate from either party to tour the city and meet with Mayor Karen Weaver.
“We want you back home,” Weaver said, indicating her backing of the candidate. “We want you back in the White House.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders hasn’t’ visited the city yet, but he will be there with Clinton in March for a debate. He has already called for the governor to resign.
Republican candidate Donald Trump wasn’t there personally, but a tractor trailer truck, emblazoned with his “Vote Donald Trump for president. Make America Great Again,” was parked about a half mile from the church where Clinton spoke.
Several Flint residents congratulated Clinton for helping to bring the crisis to the nation’s attention. Rev. Kenneth Stewart, pastor of the church, put his endorsement in swaddling cloth. In nine months, he said, “the United States of America is going to give birth to a president…and I hope it’s a girl!” The congregation rose in resounding agreement.
Meanwhile, Clinton was quickly on the road again, back to New Hampshire for the nation’s first real primary where, according to the polls, she trails Sanders by double digits. The picture was almost as grim for her in 2008 when she bounced back and won it.
If she can make that happen again, it could be devastating for Sanders with South Carolina on the horizon.