John Kasich says if he were ‘King of America’ he’d ban teachers’ lounges

Washington CNN  — 

While lighting into teachers unions Wednesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he would ban teachers’ lounges if he had the chance.

“If I were not president, but if I were King of America, I would abolish all teacher’s lounges, where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us,’” Kasich said at an education conference in New Hampshire sponsored by education group The Seventy-Four and The American Federation for Children. The comment drew a few laughs from the crowd, which is spending the day hearing from Republican presidential candidates.

Kasich is known for being blunt and direct, but earlier in his talk, he noted some times where he had worked with the teacher’s unions in Ohio before.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said that the governor didn’t mean literally replacing teachers’ lounges in schools and said he using a metaphor.

“He thinks teachers have far more support in their communities than they sometimes give themselves credit for and they shouldn’t pay attention to the small number of pot-stirrers in their ranks who try to leverage problems for political gain,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said in a statement. “Anyone thinking he was making a comment on buildings or school architecture or space usage might need to look up the word ‘metaphor”in a dictionary.”

The Seventy-Four is a non-profit, non-partisan group founded by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown. The American Federation for Children was started by Republican donor Betsy DeVos. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were scheduled to speak later in the day. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke earlier.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to The Seventy-Four as a conservative organization.