Mitt Romney said Tuesday that he thinks teachers unions should be banned from making political contributions because union leaders often negotiate contracts with Democratic politicians they've helped elect, a situation that he called "an extraordinary conflict of interest."

"I believe that we simply can't have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politician, and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids," Romney told host Brian Williams in a 45-minute appearance at NBC's Education Nation Summit in New York.

He said it is "a mistake" to allow unions to make such donations.

Romney's argument against political donations by teachers unions appears to be at odds with the Supreme Court's 2010 landmark Citizens United ruling, in which the court found that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts on campaigns.



President Obama has grabbed a significant lead over Mitt Romney in Ohio and holds a slender edge in Florida, according to two new polls by the Washington Post, indicating that there are fresh hurdles in the way of the Republican challenger's best route to victory in the Electoral College.

Among likely voters, Obama is ahead of Romney in Ohio 52 percent to 44 percent. In Florida, the president leads 51 to 47 percent, a numerical but not statistically significant edge. Among all registered Florida voters, Obama is ahead by nine percentage points.

The new numbers come one week after a Washington Post poll in Virginia showed Obama with a clear lead there. More than half of all money spent in the campaign has focused on these three states, and many analysts say Romney has to win two of the three to capture the White House.

The new polls add to the evidence that Obama has benefited most from the two parties' conventions, a series of sharp, long-distance exchanges and a barrage of television ads. Nationally, polls continue to show a close race but with new-found momentum for Obama in the battleground states that are likely to decide the election.



Here's something on which President Obama and Mitt Romney can agree: The National Football League should settle a dispute with the union representing referees after a controversial ruling by officials at the end of the Green Bay-Seattle game Monday night.

"I've been saying for months we've got to get our refs back," Obama said as he arrived at the White House after speaking at the United Nations.

"I'd sure like to see some experienced referees with NFL experience come back onto the NFL playing fields," Romney said in an interview with CNN in Vandalia, Ohio.

A labor dispute between the NFL and the referees union has resulted in substitutes officiating games.

The calls made by the replacements -- topped by Monday's call -- have generated numerous complaints from players, coaches and fans.