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Kasich Uses Debate To Talk Water, Medicaid, And New Hampshire

Thomas Bradley
File photo

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the key to responding to a crisis like the Flint, Michigan, water contamination is to "be on top of it right away." 

Kasich was asked during Thursday's Republican debate in Iowa how he would have reacted to lead contamination crisis in Flint differently than Gov. Rick Snyder, who is facing heat for failing to do more. 

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Kasich says, "Every single engine of government has to move when you see a crisis like that." 

Kasich did not mention Sebring, Ohio, where elevated lead levels forced local schools to temporarily close.

Schools have since reopened, although two water fountains remain closed.

Kasich says during his tenure as governor he's had to react to emergencies like school shootings and storms and when those occur "you've got to go the extra mile."

He says: "People have to be alert. They have to be alert to problems and when you see a problem you must act quickly to get on top of it." 

Kasich also used the debate to once again defend his decision to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program, a decision unpopular with many hard-line conservatives. He also said he'd prefer discussions to limit public discussion about the federal government seeking backdoor access to many tech companies' files.

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Kasich also said his campaign’s focus on New Hampshire is paying off in the polls.

Kasich planned to stay in Iowa on Friday for a townhall meeting in Cedar Rapids.

The Iowa Caucuses are Monday, with New Hampshire hosting the first primary election on February 9.