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Mitch Perry Report for 3.7.16 – Dems tag team on Rick Snyder in Flint

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Wouldn’t it be interesting, as comedian Sarah Silverman noted on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night, for all of the candidates — Republicans and Democrats — to debate at one time?

The differences between the two parties standard-bearers would become event more evident. Take the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, for example.

During Thursday night’s GOP debate in Detroit, the Fox News crew asked all of one question about the situation in the Detroit suburb. That’s where thousands of children from mostly low-income families drank lead-tainted water after officials switched the city’s water supply to save funds, and the government ignored warnings of a real problem.

Marco Rubio faced the only about the situation, and how did he respond? By saying, essentially, that it was unfair to criticize the state’s Republican Governor, Rick Snyder.

“The politicizing of it I think is unfair, because I don’t think that someone woke up one morning and said, ‘Let’s figure out how to poison the water system to hurt someone,'” Rubio said. “All of us are outraged by what happened. And we should work together to solve it.”

It’s a little different situation with the Democrats, where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spent the first quarter of their two-hour debate in Flint last night discussing only the water situation there.

“It is beyond belief that children in Flint, Michigan, in the United States of America in the year 2016 are being poisoned … I believe the governor of this state should understand that his dereliction of duty was irresponsible. He should resign,” Sanders said.

“The governor should resign or be recalled,” Clinton added, the first time she had called for this measure. “It is raining lead in Flint.”

But an hour earlier a spokesman for Clinton said it was silly to call on Snyder to step down.

“I think that, in a nutshell, shows the difference in their two approaches,” Brian Fallon told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “If the governor stepped down tomorrow, would that make a difference in the everyday lives of the people who are drinking contaminated water who can’t take showers, who can’t brush their teeth? What Hillary Clinton is doing is figuring out a way to make a difference.”

Well, OK then. Mark another occasion where Clinton has followed Sanders lead in this campaign.

There were several other sparks in the debate, with Sanders taking it harder to his opponent than has been seen during the campaign.

The two will engage in another debate on Wednesday in Miami.

In other news …

Marco Rubio comes to Tampa later today. Rubio polled well in a survey released Saturday, but the fact that it was paid for by an anti-Donald Trump super PAC has taken some of the buzz off it.

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy came to St. Petersburg on Friday.

While most of the Tampa political establishment remains aloof, many in their community continue to protest the proposed Tampa Bay Express toll lanes project that could rip up parts of their neighborhoods.

Bob Buckhorn agrees with the notion that the GOP is in chaos with the rise of Trump.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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