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Hillary Clinton Stops In Flint, Spotlighting The City's Struggles


We're going to start the program again today with the latest from politics. Hillary Clinton took a break today from stumping in New Hampshire bring her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Flint, Mich., where the city faces a public health crisis due to lead in the drinking water. We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

RICK PLUTA, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton's visit capped an hours-long church revival meeting filled with songs, sermons and a pastor with a sense of humor as he noted the packed seats at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church.

KENNETH STEWART: I got a question. Where y'all been?


PLUTA: Elder Kenneth Stewart said Flint has suffered as the result of a state government blunder that caused lead to leach into the drinking water in homes and schools. The extent of the harm is still not clear, but many children in the city have shown elevated lead levels in blood tests. Stewart says now the city is benefiting from all the attention.

STEWART: We need you, God, in a miraculous way. We thank you, dear God, for the hearts of those that you're touching in an effort to make life better here in the city of Flint.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.

PLUTA: Clinton took the stage to the cheers of the congregation and said the people in this poverty-stricken, mostly African-American city have been let down by their government.


HILLARY CLINTON: What happened in Flint is immoral. The children of Flint are just as precious as the children of any other part of America.

PLUTA: Clinton said Flint needs help, but she also said reinvesting in cities has to become a national priority.


CLINTON: This is not the only place where children are being harmed by what they breathe and what they drink.

PLUTA: Ondante Lott was in the audience. He says the focus on helping cities like Flint is long overdue. He's skeptical of many of the promises that are being made, but he says the attention is welcomed.

ONDANTE LOTT: That's all I can do, is hope. I can't say I trust nothing. All I can do is say I hope it works out for the best. And right now, it's working towards that.

PLUTA: If there was any doubt Flint has become emblematic of the ills plaguing urban America, and that it has become a central issue in the race for the presidency, it's worth noting that Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has opened a campaign headquarters in Flint. For NPR News, I'm Rick Pluta in Flint, Mich. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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