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By phone, Obama woos teachers

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President Obama on Thursday appealed to the nation’s largest labor union for help during the home stretch of his re-election campaign.

“If you believe in investing in education and making sure we don’t have a budget coming out of Washington or out of statehouses that are all about cutting the things that we need to grow, I’m going to need you guys working as hard as you can for the next four months,” he told the members of the National Education Association in a phone call Thursday afternoon.

Representing more than 3 million teachers nationwide, the NEA is not only the largest union in America, but also the first to endorse President Obama for a second term. Last summer, long before the Republican Party had picked its candidate, the union lined up behind Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.

“We are so proud to be the first and largest union in America to support your re-election,” NEA President Dennis van Roekel told the president on Thursday.

Mr. Obama’s phone call, made from the campaign trail in Ohio as the teachers union gathered in Washington, came two days after Mr. Biden delivered an impassioned speech to NEA delegates. He told them that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney doesn’t “respect” the work they do and is intent on slashing federal education spending to finance more tax cuts for the wealthy.

The Romney campaign shot back and accused Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden of catering to their friends in big labor while failing to deliver jobs for younger workers.

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About the Author
Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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