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Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate In Detroit

Mar 4, 2016

Four Republican presidential candidates spent seven and a half minutes talking about Detroit, Flint, and manufacturing at a debate held in Detroit Thursday night.  

Texas Senator Ted Cruz blamed Democrats for problems faced by Detroit and other urban centers.


“Detroit is a great city with a magnificent legacy that has been utterly decimated by 60 years of failed left-wing policies.” 

Cruz says he would cut environmental rules and reduce taxes.  

Ohio Governor John Kasich was asked about fixing Detroit’s schools, which have suffered from labor troubles, and rodents and mold in classrooms.  The district is expected to run out of money next month.   Kasich says he would streamline federal education funding and give local authorities more responsibility. 


“Fixing schools rests at the state and the local levels and particularly   at the school board level.  I also believe you need to introduce vocational education at those schools.” 

Kasich also called for more charter schools and voucher programs.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio said the Flint water crisis is being used as a political football and defended Governor Rick Snyder. 


“I don’t think someone woke up one morning and said, 'Let’s figure out how to poison the water system and hurt someone.' But accountability is important.  I will say I give the governor credit.  He took responsibility for what happened, and he’s talked about people held accountable and the need to change it – Governor Snyder.”

Frontrunner Donald Trump was not asked any questions during that portion of the debate.  The event did  succeed in focusing more on the issues than on personal attacks. That according to a local Republican.  Howard Morris is a local business owner and a member of the Washtenaw County Republican Party.  He attended the debate at the Fox Theatre.  


"There was more specificity.  There was more intelligent dialogue, even when there was sparring and personal items that were going back and forth.  They seem to be rooted in real character issues that relate on the presidency."

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are scheduled to debate in Flint on Sunday. 

Michigan’s presidential primary elections will be held next  Tuesday, March 8th.  

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

— Amanda LeClaire is an assignment reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact her at 734.487.3363 or email her aleclair@emich.edu