Obama meets ‘Little Miss Flint’
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President Obama met Wednesday with the 8-year-old girl who convinced him to visit Flint, Mich., amid the city’s water contamination crisis.


The White House announced last week that Mari Copeny wrote Obama a letter describing her efforts to bring attention to Flint’s public health crisis.

“I live in Flint, Michigan and I’m more commonly known around town as ‘Little Miss Flint,’” she wrote.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, tweeted a picture of the president embracing the girl during his Flint visit.

“I am one of the children that is affected by this water, and I’ve been doing my best to march in protest and speak out for all the kids that live here in Flint," Copeny wrote last week. "I know this is an odd request, but I would love for a chance to meet you or your wife.”

Obama responded by writing Copeny a letter stating his intention to visit her troubled city and help its residents.

“I want to make sure people like you and your family are receiving the help you need and deserve,” he wrote. "Like you, I’ll use my voice to call for change and help lift up on your community.”

Obama made good on his promise Wednesday, urging the city’s 100,000 residents to stay strong as the government addresses their toxic water.

“It’s not good enough to fix the water,” he said. "We’ve got to fix the culture of neglect. We’ve got to fix the mindset that only leaves people cynical at our government.

“It’s a mindset that believes less government is the highest good, no matter what. It’s a mindset that says environmental rules, designed to keep your water clean, your air clean, are optional or not important … it’s an ideology that undervalues the common good, that says we’re all on our own.”

Obama also drank a glass of filtered tap water from Flint during his visit Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the city’s residents.

Flint’s water crisis began when its old lead piping system began leaching into the city’s water supply after the source was switched in a cost-saving move, increasing the risk of contamination for residents there.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who has accepted primary blame for not preventing the crisis, was showered with boos during his own speech Wednesday.