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
It's interesting to see Emmanuel in this tussle after working in the Obama administration. Now he's faced with governing and finding out how selfish these unions really are. The average wage for these teachers is over $70,000 / year. Plus they get pretty generous benefits and pension. There's an awful lot of people, and teachers working in America that would be grateful to have those jobs. Plus they don't want accountability. If they were truly interested in the kids, they would embrace accountability and be asking for some type of "pay for performance" based on some objective measure of student performance.
R & R remind me of what the late Casey Stengel said of people who thought they were special and weren't: "empty suits flailing in the breeze." They're grasping at every straw to try to score points. I hope the great majority of the electorate sees them as the fools they are. Romney's only real qualification to be president is that he wants to be president. Ryan is a dangerous extremist and dedicated disciple of the late Ayn Rand (Read government is evil, rich and powerful is good, and the rest of us don't matter.).
American law makers get an automatic raise every year by the laws they made. American teachers have to beg for a raise. Fox guarding the henhouse?
This union, to strike at this time, was dumb dumb dumb. Hand them their hats Rahm.
Why does the president need to get involved in a local teachers strike,,,this is the city of Chicago's problem.
"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." <<- Mr. Ryan, you would like nothing more than to show a "division" of the "parties" here, pull that bleeding heart off your sleeve
Nice move Ryan. It now puts the ball squarely in Obama's court. Does he back his pal Rham and the republican position which came out 1st, or the union which has been loyal to his campaign. I already know what his answer will be. Let's talk about it over a beer.
Ryan please return to the wiener mobile ...adult playtime is over!
It really takes some cajones to write that last paragraph. I have to assume the writer doesn't plan to write for a real news organization.
Emanuel inherited a broken system, just like Obama. Ryan is only trying, obviously, to exploit the situation for his own political gain. He is viciously hostile to teachers, firefighters, cops, and other public workers. He went after the unions in Wisconsin and tried to gut them. This guy is dangerous. Anyone with half a brain ih her or his head knows that standardized test scores are not a good measure even of student learning, let alone teachers' merit. The conservatives are trying to destroy education in this country. They want people ignorant and scared so they can continue to to turn the entire nation over to corporations and make themselves and their buddies more rich. The US is going to end up one big fat banana republic from coast to coast, and I'm not talking about the clothing store.
Ryan needs to take a few government classes. City schools are not the jurisdiction of Congress or the White House. He should pay more attention to issues that are the responsibility of the federal government and stop mis-directing the publics attention.
i belonged to a union for a bit over 7 years... in all that time i can't think of anything that they've done for me or any of my coworkers... i can't decide if the dues that i paid those guys was legalized racketeering or if i'm just being paranoid... and i question that if i can report my employers violations to the department of labor, why is there a need for any union...?
Why should Emanuel trust Ryan? The GOP would gladly disband the Dept. of Education and cut more funding to schools.
Say what you want about Ryan, he's willing to take a stand on many issues. Obama,hasn't said anything, and it's his town, and the mayor is from his administration. Of course, he doesn't want to torque off his union cronies to whom he is completely beholden.
How long until this turns into another Wisconsin battle?
Normally Political Ticker does not allow comments from me. In this case neither side should demonize the other but a lot of Taxpayers are questioning why public sector unions have amassed so much higher pay and benefits than private workers?
given that Ryan is an unequivocal union buster of course he would support anyone who was opposing a union, regardless of the reason. He's such a right wing child of privilege FRAUD.
Let see how this Mayor and ex. chief-of-staff handle this strike.
He already went too far when offer 4% raise for 4 years, in which the average teacher makes about $74K . These high paid teachers and union affraids that they fail the low standard test and fear of 6,000 teachers reduction so the budget? Are there a loophole in Chicago for this kind of unusual salary?
i hope each of them is fired and sent packing
get some real teachers with youth and creativity and take this trash and put them in the street!
How about we stop having the president comment on every issue. This is a state issue not a federal goverment issue.
While in no way do I support the Republican's general dismissing of public unions, in this case there is a basis. Teachers in Chicago are paid an average of 74 grand (more than I make). According to the board of ed web site, they have off 4 weeks during the school year and that year is 10 months long. So, can I work for 9 months and get paid 74 grand?
When asked his opinion on the issus, Obama voted present.
Support teachers...or require all parents to home school their own children. Take your pick?
I'm not surprised. The elephant in the room (pun intended) is the support of teachers' unions and other unions for Obama. I got a call from the NEA the other day. They got an earful. Public school teachers have no candidate this time, at least not in the Republican or Democratic Party. Obama was, and continues to be, MIA Wisconsin. Arne Duncan's resignation would be a good place to start. Maybe he'll get my vote, but he would be wise NOT to take teachers' votes for granted. My vote will be EARNED!
Rahm says he thinks Ryan might be trying to embarrass Pres. Obama. How could that be? What embarrasses a person is not what somebody else does or says about you...its what you do or say yourself.