Portland, Oregon (CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate, sided with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday in the strike by unionized Chicago teachers and urged President Barack Obama to stand behind his former chief of staff.
"Rahm and I have not agreed on every issue or on a lot of issues, but Mayor Emanuel is right today in saying that this teachers' union strike is unnecessary and wrong," Mitt Romney's running mate said at a campaign fund-raiser in Portland, Oregon.
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"We know that Rahm is not going to support our campaign, but on this issue and this day we stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel," Ryan continued.
The Chicago Teachers Union, which represents nearly 30,000 teachers and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district, called the strike after negotiators failed to reach a contract agreement with school administrators despite eight months of talks.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that Obama had yet to make an assessment on the walkout, but that the president's chief concern is for students and families affected by the strike.
Ryan urged Obama to take a stance on the labor tumult in his hometown.
"This does not have to divide the two parties," Ryan said. "And so we're going to ask, where does President Obama stand? Does he stand with his former chief of staff Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with the children and the parents, or does he stand with the union? On issues like this, we need to speak out and be very clear."
Earlier Monday, Romney released a statement expressing disappointment in the union's decision to strike, saying the group was putting self-interest ahead of students and parents. He also implicated Obama, saying the president has long sided with the unions, which are reliable sources of Democratic political donations. Unlike his running mate, Romney did not explicitly state his support for Emanuel.
Emanuel said he did not view Romney's remarks as helpful.
"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 a news conference.
Republicans have gone after public sector unions as a budget-cutting strategy in certain states and have demonized them as part of a broader attack on organized labor.
READ MORE: Political barbs fly amid Chicago teachers' strike
..trying to embarrass or whatever the president.
Good! The Mayor needs support from the tyrannical dictatorship of one of the worse unions in the nation. Who has been hurt? The kids. Who will be hurt? The kids. But what are unions for anyway but to hurt to the kids as long as they get their demands. These excessive salaries must be cut back also for the citizens of Chicago. Obama will never back his ex chief. After all he's a crooked politician from the south side of Chicago elected way over his head for the Presidency.
Nooooooooooooo thank you.................
If we want better education in america... we have to pay for it...
We like good healthcare... and we pay for that.. so I don't see why government thinks children don't deserve better ...
I think most of us understand the difficulties of being a teacher – it's not an easy job and you certainty don't do this for the money. However, the timing of this strike and the demands are not reasonable given the economic state of this country and of Chicago. I wouldn't typically agree with Rahm but it sounds to me that the City has been more than generous at this point and the teachers are really coming out of this looking bad. This is taxpayer funds that their salaries come from and with so many people out of work – this is not the time for this fight. The teachers and their union should accept the terms that they have been offered (anyone in today's economy would be estatic to have a guaranteed 16% increase over four years, much less be estatic to just have a job) – and get back to work.
Unions are in charge by putting great pressure on parents and politicians. You'll only see unions reeled in when taxpayers start shooting union officials and politicians. Then the real people in charge in this country will be in charge.
I am far from a union supporter, nor am I a democrat, but to say the teachers are putting their interests ahead of the kids is disingenuous. By definition all who strike are putting their interests ahead of their employers; that's the nature of a strike. Ryan's statement just smacks of grandstanding and politics.
Does Paul Ryan think voters are idiots.Siding aside, what is his solution to the problem.we know what he stands for, but is he a problem solver or a finger-pointer.
Emanuel HAS to say that the strike is irresponsible, he can't side with the teachers on this or he won't get re-elected.
I was the child of a teacher so I, to some degree, understand the life of a teacher. However, I have no sympathy for these teachers or their strike, part of which is an illegal strike as they have no legal right to strike over the choice of hiring and they want the union to have that power rather than the principal. If they don't come to a resolution soon, I'd be happy to see a Reagan-esque move a la air traffic controllers and fire the lot of them, as there are plenty of unemployed teachers who would love to have those jobs.
Teachers in Chicago: be reasonable, stop striking illegally, stop holding children hostage & using them as pawns in your agenda and get on with a resolution
American unions = Chinese businessmen's best friend
I am a Democrat and I am pro union, but in this case, children and families need to come first. The strike is hurting our children and families. End the strike now!
I think all the teachers across the nation should all just quit on the same day. They don't get the respect they deserve so why continue doing the welcome mat's job
Ryan is an obsequious, pandering, lowlife S.O.B.!
Give us the facts on the issues in Chicago, not just anti union rhetoric. 8 month of negotiations means that some very big issues are being discussed. As a teacher and former union negotiator I have some experience with this process. There must be some real job changing language that is being negotiated, probably around performance evaluation. Having taught 35 years and dealt with many administrators I had only 2 that I thought were competent to evaluate staff. We don't mind being evaluated, it is how it is done and what part we play in the process. Expecting each child to progress 1 year every year is a great goal but unrealistic with the home life, lack of prenatal care, nutritional neglect and parental absence for many kids today. Blaming teachers for societal deficiencies is what is going on here as a means to destroy the last standing unions.
GOP is desperate on every thing. If they side with the mayor that is their business they don't have to let Obama get in to that. This is no more than trying to score political point in which it has no value for the GOP. GOP you guys are losers.Let Romney be a president of the Mormon church than running for the president of the USA.
The one things both sides agree on is that public sector unions are unreasonable and detrimental to the function of public services. Public sector unions must be outlawed. Fire all of the strikers and hire new.
Too Funny! Like a Pavlovian Dog, a teacher's Strike brings out the Tourette's Response of a TeaFreak like Ryan!
Paul Ryan's support would scare the daylights
Out of me.
Ryans for it then I am agaist it. Just another ploy to make Obama look bad. He didn't get involved with wisconsen why would he get involed here it is a city and state thing.
No surprise there...GOP stands against the Union, regardless of the issues.
Romney/Ryan just lost thousands of teachers' votes. Like mine.
This is reporting? This is quality news? Absolutely NO word about what the issues are in the contract negotiations, just the usual right and left sound bites and meaningless political banter. Politicizing the issue at the expense of educators and children. Nice CNN.
Wages before children...fire these teachers. They make more money and benefits than most Americans, especially in this present day economy. Everyone is having to cut back and take a loss. They should too!
If 85% of Chicago students can’t read at a 4th grade level do the teachers deserve raises and bonuses along with better pensions? A simple Yes or No will do.