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Hillary Clinton Calls For Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder To Resign Or Be Recalled

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 7/03/2016 Amanda Terkel

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Sunday called for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to either resign or be recalled over his role in the Flint water crisis, marking the first time she has publicly backed those measures. 

"I agree the governor should resign or be recalled, and we should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that," Clinton said to loud applause during the CNN Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan. "But that is not enough. We have to focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint."

"I support 100 percent the efforts by  your senators and members of C ongress to get the money from  the federal government in order  to begin the work that must  occur to fix the infrastructure," she added. "T he state should also be sending  money immediately to help this  city."

Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been calling for Snyder to resign since mid-January. But Clinton has been the one to really elevate the city's struggles with lead poisoning to the national level. She sent two of her top aides to Flint early on to assist its mayor, who later endorsed the former secretary of state. She was also the first presidential candidate to visit the city.

The responses were, in many ways, emblematic of the way the two candidates approach problems. Sanders went big early on, calling for something that was aspirational but many didn't believe was very realistic. (Snyder is, after all, still in office.) Meanwhile, Clinton called for more incremental measures, such as telling Snyder to ask for federal assistance for Flint residents. 

And the Clinton campaign has been highlighting the different approaches. In an interview with CNN earlier on Sunday, campaign spokesman Brian Fallon asked, "If the governor stepped down tomorrow, would that make a difference in the everyday lives of the people who can't take showers and can't brush their teeth?"

"What Hillary Clinton is doing is trying to figure out a way to make a difference," he added. "So Sen. Sanders put out a very nice press release calling for Gov. Snyder to step down. Hillary Clinton's not going around defending Gov. Snyder. She thinks he's falling down on the job too. But what she's caring about is what can make a difference to people."

Fallon told The Huffington Post on Sunday night that the campaign never had a problem with calling on Snyder to resign. The difference, he said, was the emphasis that Snyder's resignation would not be enough -- more had to happen to solve the problem.

During the CNN debate, Sanders said that what is going on in Flint is happening elsewhere in the country. 

"A ll over this country, middle- class families are struggling,  and cities and towns are  struggling in order to provide  basic services," Sanders said. "A mong many other things, we need  to rebuild our crumbling  infrastructure, our water  systems, our wastewater plants,  our roads and our bridges. T he wealthiest country in the  history of the world has to get  their priorities right and take  care of the people. N o more tax breaks for  billionaires."

Clinton also said she would commit to removing lead from water, paint and soil within five years. 

Snyder tweeted during Sunday's debate, defending his record and essentially hitting the candidates as political opportunists. 

Organizers in Flint recently launched their effort to recall Snyder, which requires getting hundreds of thousands of signatures in a 60-day period.

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