FAIRFAX, Va. -- It was just one line.

But Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney touched, ever so briefly, on the contentious issue of teachers unions as the Chicago teachers' strike entered its fourth day.

"We've got to help people get the skills they need for the jobs today. We've got to make sure our schools are competitive in the world. We can't continue to have schools in the bottom third of the world," Romney said, at a rally here with roughly 2,700 supporters.

"I will make sure we put our kids, the teachers and the parents first and we put the unions behind," he concluded.

Romney moved on quickly to other topics. But his comment is noteworthy because of the way in which the GOP candidate continues to tread lightly around the issue of teacher unions, which is currently causing a major schism within the Democratic Party and representing what some conservatives say is an opportunity for Romney.

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