Chicago public school teachers picket outside of the William H.Wells Community High School on September 10, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 26,000 teachers and support staff hit the picket lines this morning after the Chicago Teachers Union failed to reach an agreement with the city on compensation, benefits and job security. With about 350,000 students, the Chicago school district is the third largest in the United States.
WASHINGTON -- As negotiators continue their efforts to end the Chicago teachers' strike that began today, the issue has entered the presidential campaign.
Mitt Romney said today that Chicago teachers are turning their backs on thousands of students -- and that President Barack Obama is rooting for the teachers.
But Obama's top spokesman says the president has not taken sides. He says Obama is urging the teachers and the city to settle quickly.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's former chief of staff -- has said the strike was unnecessary, since negotiators were making progress. Emanuel today told teachers, "Don't take it out on the kids of Chicago if you have a problem with me."