The Washington Times - May 6, 2011, 11:47AM

Eighteen months out from the election and without even knowing who the Republican candidate will be, the National Education Association has already taken the first step to endorse President Obama for re-election.

The NEA’s political action committee approved a resolution Thursday recommending the country’s largest teachers union officially endorse Mr. Obama when the union’s representative assembly meets in July.

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“This is the time to make decisions about the direction of our country, and we have real choices to make. As activists, engaged educators, we should get involved now,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

Mr. Van Roekel said the union is concerned about Republican congressional proposals to cut spending on Medicare and other social safety-net programs, and said in a comparison with the GOP there is no question whom the powerful labor group should support.

“President Barack Obama has proven he deserves a second term,” he said.

Mr. Obama so far has no major opposition in his bid to be the Democratic nominee in 2012. Republicans, meanwhile, won’t have a presumptive nominee until a year from now.