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Obama: Romney Politicized Chicago Teacher Strike

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Obama: Romney Politicized Teacher Strike

AP

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President Barack Obama weighed in over the weekend on Chicago's teacher strike, days after union delegates voted to suspend the strike and head back to class.

In a taped interview with "Today Show" host Savannah Guthrie, the president stuck up for his former chief of staff and stood up for teachers. He also accused presidential candidate Mitt Romney of doing some "teacher bashing" along the way.

"I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher bashing as evidence of reform," Obama said in the interview that ran Tuesday on NBC.

On the first day of Chicago's first strike in 25 years, Romney said in a statement he was "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."

He went on to say, "President Obama has chosen his side in this fight, sending his Vice President last year to assure the nation's largest teachers union that 'you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President's commitment to you.'"

Obama took care not to pick sides during the interview but did say Romney tried to politicize the issue.

"All across the country people want results," he said. "It was very important, I think, for Mayor Emanuel to say, 'Let's step up our game,' and it was important for the teachers union to also say, 'Let's make sure we're not just blaming teachers for a lot of big problems out there. Let's make sure we've got the resources.' So I'm glad it was resolved, but I do think that from the perspective of Democrats, we can't just sit on the status quo or say that money's the only issue. Reform is important also."

When asked if he was a good student, the president was quick to say not really.

"I would say I was a mediocre student until I got to college. I goofed off way too much. Malia and Sasha are so far ahead of me, basically in all respects. They're just better people than I was at their age. I couldn't be prouder of them."

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