Teachers strike causes political fallout - FOX 32 News Chicago

Teachers' strike causes political fallout

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago teachers strike was a lead story from coast-to-coast.

Conservatives made no secret of enjoying the angry confrontation in President Obama's home-town of Chicago; between a big public employees union that's endorsed him and his former chief of staff.

Before heading to a $3 million fundraiser on the North Shore late Moday, GOP nominee Mitt Romney criticized the Chicago teachers for going on strike and attacked President Obama's long-running friendship with teachers' unions.

In Iowa, running mate Paul Ryan tried a different tactic on the Democrats, gleefully embracing the mayor in comments off-camera.

"This teacher's union strike is unnecessary and wrong," Ryan declared. "We know that Rahm is not going to support our campaign, but on this issue and this day we stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. We stand with the children and we stand with the families and the parents of Chicago because education reform, that's a bipartisan issue."

A staunch Democrat, Rahm Emanuel had a strong reaction to the GOP support in this mess.

"I don't really give two hoots about national comments scoring political points or trying to embarrass the president," the mayor said.

But with the president's home-town embroiled in the country's largest teachers' strike in two decades, the White House felt compelled to say publicly that he had not chosen sides.

"His principal concern is for the students and families who are affected by the situation. And we hope that both sides are able to come together to settle this quickly and in the best interests of Chicago's students." Carney

Over the long term, perhaps the biggest danger for the mayor involved the potential cost of settling the strike. The proposal the union rejected would require the public schools to find an extra $320 million, on top of already back-breaking budget shortfalls.

One board of education insider projected a string of mind-boggling billion-dollar deficits for at least the next three years.

Neither the mayor nor anyone at the Board of Education offers even a clue as to how the school system will close those projected deficits. There may be "painful cuts," said one insider, as well as tax increases.

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