President Obama on Flint Water Crisis: 'I Would Be Beside Myself' as a Parent

PHOTO: President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit on Jan. 20, 2016.PlayCarolyn Kaster/AP Photo
WATCH President Obama Visits Michigan to Address Lead Contaminated Water in Flint

In his first public remarks on the water crisis gripping Flint, Michigan, President Obama said he would be "beside myself" if he were a parent there.

“I am very proud of what I’ve done as president, but the only job that’s more important to me is the job of father,” Obama said Wednesday during a visit to Detroit. “And I know if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself if my kids’ health could be at risk.”

At the request of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Obama on Saturday declared a national emergency in the state, ordering federal aid to assist in relief efforts.

Remarking on his meeting with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver Tuesday at the White House, Obama said “I told her that we are going to have her back.”

Elevated levels of lead have been found in the city's water supply after the city disconnected from Detroit's water line to save money and began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014.

"It is a reminder of why you can't shortchange basic services that we provide to our people and that we together provide as a government to make sure that public health and safety is preserved," Obama said.