Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is greeted by Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford as he arrives at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Mitt Romney entered President Barack Obama's home territory Monday, but not before commenting on the first Chicago Public School teachers strike in 25 years.
Romney released the following statement in response to the strike:
"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. 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. 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.' 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."
His comments were a direct attack on the state of educational affairs in a town run by Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel on Sunday also said he was disappointed teachers have decided to strike.
"I am disappointed that we have come to this point given that all the other parties acknowledged how close we are, because this is a strike of choice," Emanuel told reporters. "Because of how close we are, it is a strike that is unnecessary."
About 29,000 teachers walked out Monday on more than 350,000 students in Chicago. In response, the school district left 144 schools open for half-days and staffed them with non-union employees to direct activities for students.
Romney arrived at O'Hare International Airport shortly after 5 p.m. ahead of a fundraiser in Lake Forest.
The Republcan presidential candidate wiill hold a Tuesday evening event at the home of Melissa and Reeve Waud. The cost of tickets to attend ranges from $2,500 to $75,800 per person.
NBC Chicago has an array of reporters and producers covering the Chicago teacher strike. Check our live blog for continuous coverage and updates throughout the strike.