Updated 09/10/12 – 4:46 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was making the Chicago teachers’ strike an issue in his campaign against President Barack Obama.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports Romney was scheduled to come to Chicago on Monday for a fundraiser at a private home in Lake Forest, with the price of a ticket anywhere from $2,500 to $76,000 – depending on how much access you get to the candidate.
Meanwhile, Romney weighed in on the teachers’ strike in his rival’s hometown, calling it a clear example of a union whose interests conflict with those of the children.
“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 said in a written statement. “Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet.”
He also said President Barack Obama made clear which side he’s on, criticizing Vice President Joe Biden’s speech to the American Federation of Teachers, to assure the union of the president’s support.
“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 said.
But White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama “has not expressed any opinion, or made any assessment” about the strike.
“Our principal concern is for the students, and his principal concern is for the students and families who are affected by this situation. We hope that both sides are able to come together to settle this quickly, and in the best interests of Chicago’s students,” Carney said. “We certainly haven’t expressed an opinion on how it should be resolved, we’re urging the sides to resolve it.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, although Romney saved all his criticism for the union, he’s not on the same side as the mayor, either.
He said, if Romney really wants to help Chicago’s schools, he’ll make sure the tax cuts he’s proposed will not be paid for by cutting education spending.
“While I appreciate his lip service … what really counts is what we’re doing here, and I don’t really give two hoots about national comments scoring political points, or trying to embarrass … the president,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel defended Obama’s “Race To The Top” education grant program, saying the president is committed to making sure local school districts are held accountable for their results, and that the best qualified teachers are hired at public schools.