Political barbs fly amid Chicago teachers' strike
September 10th, 2012
03:02 PM ET
2 years ago

Political barbs fly amid Chicago teachers' strike

(CNN) – Mitt Romney implicated President Barack Obama Monday in the ongoing strike of teachers in Chicago, portraying his Democratic rival as bending to powerful teachers' unions at the expense of parents and students.

Romney's statement put him in the unlikely position of supporting Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat who previously served as Obama's chief of staff. Emanuel has been harshly criticized by union officials, who accuse the mayor of reneging on promises made to teachers, police officers and other civil servants.

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"I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city's public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education," Romney wrote Monday, adding that teachers unions were putting self-interest ahead of students.

Romney went on to assert that Obama "has chosen his side in this fight," pointing out that Vice President Joe Biden told a teachers' union in 2011 "you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President's commitment to you."

"I choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that," Romney concluded.

Asked at a press conference Monday about Romney's statement, Emanuel said that while he "appreciated" Romney's support of teachers and students, he did not view the Republican candidate's remarks as useful.

"While I appreciate his lip service, what really counts is what we're doing here and I don't give two hoots about national comments scoring political points or trying to embarrass or whatever the president," Emanuel said.

At the White House briefing Monday, press secretary Jay Carney said Obama had yet to make an assessment on the Chicago teachers' strike, but that the president's "principle concern is for the students and his principle concern is for the students and families who are affected by the situation."

Obama's campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt took a more critical approach Monday, writing on Twitter there were "Chuckles across Chicago as Romney tries to reinvent himself as the city's biggest cheerleader after attacking it for the past year."

"Romney apparently believes that fewer teachers and larger classrooms is the solution to education challenges," LaBolt wrote in a second tweet.

The two presidential candidates have long been at odds over some aspects of education policy, with Romney claiming Obama is too concerned with placating teachers' unions, which are major sources of Democratic campaign cash, and Obama saying Romney is wrong on his position that smaller class sizes aren't necessarily advantageous to better learning.

READ MORE: Ryan sides with Emanuel on Chicago strike


Filed under: 2012 • Education • Mitt Romney
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Unions are people, my friend.

    Idiot!

    September 10, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Ed1

    Unions at their best hold kids education extortion more like it I would not want my tax dollars for any union including GM just a bunch thugs as always they are just greedy period.

    Take the Unions out of government and kids so our taxes don't have to be held hostage.

    September 10, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. v_mag

    Robmoney gets really upset when working people stand up for themselves. In his mind, a corporation should be god-like in its power. A government, when run by Republicans of course, should be just as almighty. Working folks, on the other hand, should be grateful if they have a job, ashamed if they don't have a job, and quiet in either case.

    Anybody else ever notice how many times people on TV mix up the words "company" and "country"? That's very much a Freudian slip and indicates that they view corporations as little governments unto themselves.

    September 10, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. truth hurts

    At the White House briefing Monday, press secretary Jay Carney said Obama had yet to make an assessment on the Chicago teachers' strike, but that the president's "principle concern is for the students and his principle concern is for the students and families who are affected by the situation."
    ================================================================================================
    hahaha.... where's all the union support now obama and democrats??!! you weasels have no problem taking their hundreds of millions of dollars to give them everything they want. stand with them now as they paralyse chicago and its schools.

    obama, democrats and unions.... it's all about how much they can take, take, take, take, take.

    September 10, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Thomas

    We don't need public schools , we have chartered schools and online universities . We can out sorce smart teachers cheep from India ..

    If you don't have the money to send you children to privet schools , take up dancing or run for office !

    September 10, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. ConcernedSNCO

    Next Mitt will be blaming the president for the delay in workers constructing his car elevator. This guy is an idiot.

    September 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    One school district in trouble = front page, all political fronts yelling and screaming.

    Thousands of schools open safely and on time = chirp. chirp. chirp.

    Get real people. All things in this world are NOT about politics and this particular election.

    September 10, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Critical Thinking

    President Incomplete will say that the rights of the children and families comes first and it shouldn't be at the expense of the teachers that support them. both sides will need to come to together to make this work..aka double talk.

    September 10, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "my plan for education reform will do exactly that,"

    What plan? Newsflash: "we have to kill the public teachers unions to get rid of them as a funding source for Dems" is NOT an "education reform" plan. Other than that...hahahahaha, he claimed he has a plan even though he's never shared one single sepcific detail about one!!!! Go on Teatrolls...fall all over yoruselves believing that "I have a plan" means someone actually has a plan.

    September 10, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Keep abortion amendments out of our JOBS BILLS so that jobs are not held hostage to a fight over women's bodies and women's rights.

    September 10, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    I told you, Mitt is an IDIOT. A true statement. When corporations are people., unions are also people. Read labor law.

    September 10, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Rick in AZ

    Don't even pretend that you give a darn about the kids, Mitt. You,who wants to cut education funds, school lunches,affordable housing, medical care for children, food stamps and everything else for tax cuts to your millionaire friends, seems at best disingenuous. Yep, it's scool-teachers that are ruining this country. What drivel from Mitt.

    September 10, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Joan in MS

    Romney's position as "anti-worker" is about the ONLY position he hasn't flip-flopped over. Romney doesn't care about kids, he doesn't care about jobs ... his only concern is trying to "best his dad" to be elected POTUS. He's a fraud and a tax cheat! We've tried the "best his dad" routine before ...it didn't work out to well with GWB and the Iraqi war.

    September 10, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. demwit

    "Journalists for Obama" T-shirts sold out within minutes at the dem conviention last week. Did you get yours Kevin??

    September 10, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    In GOP/Teatroll land, "education reform" means the following:

    1. Set up a coupon system that requires PRIVATE institutions to get approval in order to receive the coupons.

    2. Fill board in charge of approvals with religious ideologues and right wing extremists.

    3. Only approve private religious institutions to receive the PUBLIC MONEY to provide educations for our children, so that our children will be indoctrinated them into right wing fundamentalist group-think, and grow up believing that evolution is 'just a theory', that Nessy is proof that dinosaurs and humans shared the planet like in the Flinstones and that the separation of church and state is a dirty myth manufactured by the 'gay agenda', 'godless commies' and people they believe 'hate Amurika.'"

    4. Watch college attendance by Amurikan students shrink rapidly and drastically.

    5. .....

    6. Profit.

    September 10, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -truth hurts

    At the White House briefing Monday, press secretary Jay Carney said Obama had yet to make an assessment on the Chicago teachers' strike, but that the president's "principle concern is for the students and his principle concern is for the students and families who are affected by the situation."
    ================================================================================================
    hahaha.... where's all the union support now obama and democrats??!! you weasels have no problem taking their hundreds of millions of dollars to give them everything they want. stand with them now as they paralyse chicago and its schools.

    obama, democrats and unions.... it's all about how much they can take, take, take, take, take.
    **********************************************************************
    Its a local matter, idiot: I would have thought that a conservative would appreciate the fact that its a local matter. And since when did the GOP give a damn about education, since the righties seem to think everything can be solved with a tax cut and a voucher? Talk about take, take, take: has any conservative "ideas" ( and that's stretching the bounds of credibility by calling them that) about education translated into nationwide progress? By the way, Obama has opposed the unions on merit pay and school choice, so please bother to do some homework( pun intended) before you bother to post your lies on here.

    September 10, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. DC Observer

    Unions are a deterrent to progress in the US. Teachers' unions protect incompetent people over more ENERGETIC AND QUALIFIED Tenure is a dirty word in America - we should redefine Tenure as - the promotion of the incompetent over the qualified where performance matters naught for job security and where the edcuation of America is hald hostage by money grubbing union heads....

    September 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. v_mag

    @truth hurts - Your comments have virtually no relationship with facts, and thus your moniker is pretty ironic. You're on the side that will get hurt by the truth in the long run.

    Unions are about as weak as they have ever been. They have been beaten up on by corporations and Repugnant administrations for a hundred years. At the same time, the income gap has been consistently widening, with the poor sliding deeper into poverty and the middle class narrowing as more of its members take up their place in the bottom strata. Your rich SOBs and corporations have increased their share of the total wealth as they have steadily beaten down working people.

    Now we have a situation where welfare and government handouts go almost exclusively to the rich and corporations, in the form of tax breaks, loopholes, contracts, and fraud. When a corporation gets publicly caught, it buys its way out of trouble with some of the money it has already appropriated from the taxpayer. They nearly always come out ahead in the deal, and the bosses walk instead of doing hard time, leaving me and other working people to clean up after them and pay their way.

    I'm sick of rich people and the idiots like you who mindlessly support them.

    September 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Ambulance chaser Mitt suddenly cares about people in Chicago? That would be a story, if it were true. He's spent the last year bashing the city, and now he expects he'll pick up a few votes with his worthless comments?

    September 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. dpcfoh

    If I got a flat tire on the freeway, Romney would blame it on Obama. Why would Romney even say such a thing? And we wonder why the voters make everything political, because our "leaders" do it.

    September 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Thomas

    @GI Joe
    oH HECK – Look them up and write them down for yourselves.

    Democracy
    Socialism
    Fascism
    Communism
    Corporatocracy
    Autocracy
    Plutocracy

    and any of the others that some folks throw out to make people seem "other" or "scarey". Knowledge is POWER.

    Either theres to many choices or not enough for most people !

    What if I'm a Gay libertarian conservative , who likes hand guns and fishing , thinks Palin is hot , loves clean coal and wants to save the whales , has a boyfriend is in the military . Dose that mean I'm a socialist because I will get health care when we get married ?

    September 10, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. truth hurts

    Why doesn't Rahmbo just give the teachers unions everything they want?
    The teachers unions are just people and deserve everything they demand, and more, right?
    Why is Rahmbo hurting the kids by making the teachers strike like this??
    He just needs to raise the taxes on the people in Chicago to pay for whatever his union supporters want.

    It is always a pure pleasure to see the leftists get eaten up by their own greed and hypocrisy and union beasts that they have created.

    September 10, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. DC Observer

    Obama is the biggest sham in the history of US politics -- the king of pandering ..... the prince of partisan politics.... the destroyer of transparency.....the master of race baiting.... the champion of class warfare ..... a true snake oil salesman feeding the base with false hope while he destroys the fabric of America and tanks the economic foundation of the nation .... If he gets a second term, recession will set in in 1-2 years and this nation will implode ....

    September 10, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Facts don't LIE

    yep the Chicago's teacher strike is all Obama's fault. That should play well with the right wing...go for it Mitt!

    September 10, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Maxx

    Romney is getting desperate.

    September 10, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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