- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 24, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Sunday that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder should not have to resign for how the state handled the contaminated water crisis in Flint.

For months, Flint residents have been exposed to lead-contaminated water that the government told them was safe to use. ABC News reported that thousands of children likely will have developmental and behavioral issues because they drank, brushed their teeth with and showered in the tainted water, and will need millions of dollars of care for the rest of their lives.

Mr. Bush said on ABC’s “This Week” it was “horrific” that the water contamination has been going on for several months with no oversight, but he supported Mr. Snyder for taking responsibility and handling the situation with care.

“He’s taken responsibility, and I admire that,” said Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor. “He’s not saying that it’s someone else’s fault. He’s rolling up his sleeves and trying to deal with this. But he has a responsibility, he’s admitted it. And so does the EPA and so does local government.”

Mr. Snyder has been called on to resign for not taking responsibility for the problem early enough, but Mr. Bush said it should not come to that.

“He needs to do what he’s doing, which is to accept responsibility and begin to solve the problem,” he said, calling Mr. Synder a “great governor for Michigan.”

Mr. Bush also blasted claims that the super PAC that supports him, Right to Rise, is clearing a path for GOP nomination rival Donald Trump by running attack ads against other candidates, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Right to Rise has been sending out flyers to early primary voters attacking Mr. Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of Mr. Trump, the Republican front-runner.

An article in The Weekly Standard suggested that Mr. Bush’s lasting legacy in this presidential election cycle would be to guarantee Mr. Trump’s nomination.

“I’m the only guy taking Trump on,” Mr. Bush said. “I’m the only guy that takes Trump on directly because I don’t believe that he’s a conservative and I don’t believe that my life commitment to the conservative cause is going to be validated by having a guy be our nominee who’s not a conservative and who does not believe in a hopeful, optimistic message.”

• Anjali Shastry can be reached at ashastry@washingtontimes.com.

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