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President Obama tells Detroit he's got Flint's back

President Obama assured the people of Michigan that the White House has Flint's back during this state of emergency.
President Obama assured the people of Michigan that the White House has Flint's back during this state of emergency.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

President Obama reassured the people of Michigan that he's "got Flint’s back" Wednesday, during a visit with representatives from Detroit’s auto industry.

What quickly turned into a congratulatory speech about the resurgence of America’s Motor City began with a few words about the tragedy in Flint, where 4 percent of the children have been poisoned with lead in the city’s water.

"I am very proud of what I’ve done as president, but the only job that’s more important to me is the job of fatherhood," Obama said. "And I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kids' health could be at risk."

The president met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver at the White House Tuesday after declaring a federal state of emergency in Flint, designating a federal coordinator and allocating federal funds.

"I told her we are going to have her back and all the people of Flint’s back as they work their way through this terrible tragedy," Obama said.

"It is a reminder of why you can’t shortchange basic services we provide to our people and that we, together, provide as a government to make sure that the public health and safety is preserved."

Go deeper:

  • Libby Nelson's article explaining the Flint water crisis and how a city's attempt to save money ended up poisoning 4 percent of its children
  • Connor Coyne, a father and Flint, Michigan, resident, wrote a first-person account of what the media got wrong about this state of emergency
  • Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder addressed the Flint crisis in his State of the State address this week: "I am sorry, and I will fix it"