In Poland, Romney gains support of iconic Solidarity leader
July 30th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
2 years ago

In Poland, Romney gains support of iconic Solidarity leader

(CNN) – Lech Walesa, the shipyard worker who went on to inspire the Solidarity trade union and the eventual fall of the Iron Curtain, said in Poland Monday he wanted U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to be successful in November's general election.

"I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Gov. Romney, get your success – be successful!" Walesa said, according to a translation of his remarks provided to a small group of journalists allowed into the meeting between Romney and the Polish leader.

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Romney's stop in Poland came after an invitation from Walesa, who in 1989 helped form the first noncommunist government in the Soviet bloc. Walesa later was elected president.

Romney and Walesa met in Gdansk, where the Solidarity movement began. The presumptive GOP nominee also toured historic sights in the city, including the World War II Westerplatte memorial, and met with Poland's current Prime Minister, Donald Tusk.

In the brief meeting viewed by journalists between Romney and Walesa, the Polish leader criticized the current direction he saw America heading, and suggested new leadership was required to re-establish the United States' position in the world.

"I wish we could still be establishing something new and something better," Walesa said, according to the translator. "I'm very confident we can accomplish it."

He continued, "Poland and many other countries will certainly do their best to help the U.S. restore its leadership position."

Romney, he said, shared the viewed of "individuals who have struggled all our lives."

Walesa's warm embrace of Romney is not a surprise, given his apparent coolness toward President Barack Obama, Romney's rival in November's general election.

In May 2011 Walesa declined to meet with Obama, telling Agence France-Presse the meeting "would only amount to a photo opportunity." And in 2009, Walesa – who won 1983's Nobel Peace Prize – was quoted in The Wall Street Journal expressing surprise that Obama had also won the award.

"Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast – he hasn't had the time to do anything yet," the Wall Street Journal's website quoted Walesa as saying.

Obama's image in Poland was further shaken in May when his use of the term "Polish death camp," rather than Nazi death camp, sparked outrage.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Poland
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Jules

    A former shipyard worker who supports Romney. He doesn't have a clue about who Romney is or what his policies are. He found a union and the GOP bust that union. The poor old man does not have a clue.

    July 30, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. truth hurts

    yeah, the polish people were another obama bus victiom. one of the usa's many allies thrown under the bus by obama so he could slap the russians on the knee and promise them more when he had more flexibility. november we get to throw obama under the bus.

    July 30, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Joi Gibson

    You can have him!

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!!

    July 30, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. davec.0121

    And of course, if prominent Americans took sides in a Polish election, they would bitterly denounce U.S. interference in their internal affairs. Walesa is a great man in many ways, but the world has passed him by.

    July 30, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Richard

    I find it interesting this guy wants Romney – how much did Adelson pay him? If he refused to meet with the President and endorses a man he knows little about it makes one wonder the motives. Does he know Romney is against Unions of any type? He was PAID OFF!

    July 30, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. John Hix

    Lech Walesa belonged to another generation just like Romney does. Dispecable that Romney is floundering around on a world tour to stir up promises he can't deliver when it is the US that deserves his attention and that he is running for office in.

    July 30, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Jarod

    @truth hurts... and then maybe you could follow? Listen the Polish are butt hurt because the President decided NOT to place defense where the Polish thought we should and guess who has turned out to be correct? Not ONE INCIDENT since! Maybe the POlish and the "others" that Lech claims wanting to see Obama gone are angry because they cant live off of past triumphs earned during the Cold War and thereby have to live a less glorious life. I.e. Their problem has been solved; he's a useless figure.

    July 30, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Jules wrote:

    A former shipyard worker who supports Romney. He doesn't have a clue about who Romney is or what his policies are. He found a union and the GOP bust that union. The poor old man does not have a clue.
    ---------------
    I agree. Walesa does not realize that Mitt Romney represents the same type of forces that Walesa fought on the docks. I have said it before and now would be a good time to repeat it.

    To the average citizen, there is no difference between a society where government runs all of the businesses and a society where businesses run all of the government. No difference. None.

    July 30, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. chuck weidemann

    Union leader loves the republican party....great headline for all those union loving republicans. Talk about a world turned upside-down!!! I guess we all have it wrong Romney does relate to the common working man.....as long as they live in Poland and fight the commies!!!!

    July 30, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Steve, New York City

    Jules – (comment above) . . well said !

    July 30, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. chuck weidemann

    By the way...don't most republicans think unions are the commies???

    July 30, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Dave Jaipersaud

    Direct quote from the article "Lech Walesa, the shipyard worker who went on to inspire the Solidarity trade union". Lech was the leader of the Trade Union in Poland, Romney wants to get rid of Trade Unions in the USA so how can someone such as Lech support someone who wants to destroy Trade Unions. Isn’t this the definition of hypocrisy. My guess is if Lech really knew what Romney is about he would change is statement.

    July 30, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    Good for you Flip. How much did you pay him to say that?

    July 30, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    I respect Walesa, but he is wrong in his support for Mittens. Makes me wonder if Mittens has pledged to outsource American jobs to Poland, in which case I can understand Walesa's endorsement.

    July 30, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. ge

    looks like a lot of american jobs headed for poland

    July 30, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. Donna Conley

    Methinks Lech has his eye on some of those jobs that will be outsourced by the Mittster.

    July 30, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. cali girl

    whatever, Poland has nothing to do with the US elections. Lovely how he still had fundraisers from the millionaires club in a foreign land.

    July 30, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Roy

    Romney's for President of Lies, Distortion and Hate. The President of no details, just hate Obama...No spine, just hate Obama. This man is a worthless robot of the Tea Party...When is he ever going to tell the truth about anything, His taxes, His business, when was governor , his faith and his detailed vision for America. Instead he lies and distort others, like he did in the primary. I deal with many republicans who say he has no spine and that he is worse than John Kerry (And they cannot stand or trust him) . MITT STOP LYING TO AMERICA. GIVE AMERICA YOU DETAILED PLAN IF YOU HAVE ONE TO STICK TO.

    July 30, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Alfredo

    Yeah... the Polish support him. That's a ringing endorsement...lol

    July 30, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. justicenonexistent

    "Poland and many other countries will certainly do their best to help the U.S. restore its leadership position."

    If it weren't so incredibly sad, it would be ALMOST comical that someone outside the US sees us better than many within.

    Romney 2012!

    July 30, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Give me a break , he was a union solidarity leader .

    He must be loosing it, how much did Romney pay him off ?

    July 30, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. ST

    Walesa is also lacking diplomacy. This is not the way leaders talk! The world looks has turned up-side-down!

    July 30, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Darryl

    Is Mr.Walesa not current with Mr. Romney and his stand on UNIONS ? Poland deserves what it gets if the don't start keeping upwith the times. This is NOT 1940...........or is it ? LOL..LOL...

    July 30, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "Poland and many other countries will certainly do their best to help the U.S. restore its leadership position."
    -----–
    But, but, but, but... I thought Obama took care of all of that... made the rest of the world love us....

    July 30, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. svatoid

    But, they were Polish death camps–the Poles detested the Jews and cheered their demises. In fact after the war, many of the few Jews that returned home, were murdered by Poles. I assume that Mitt and Walesa can talk about their distaste for Jews, in general.

    July 30, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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