Romney lays out 'aid with trade' in major foreign policy speech
September 25th, 2012
10:18 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney lays out 'aid with trade' in major foreign policy speech

(CNN) – Mitt Romney sought to bolster his foreign policy credentials Tuesday, stressing his plan to strengthen aid to developing markets overseas through free enterprise and trade.

"The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America's own economy," Romney said at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

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The annual event, established in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, features discussions and programs on how to improve conditions for girls and women, spur development, and better global health and technology. President Barack Obama will also address the gathering later Tuesday.

Romney argued his plan, which he calls the "Prosperity Pact," is a break from past policies. The guidelines state that the U.S. would provide aid to developing countries that remove barriers to investment and trade.

"I've laid out a new approach for a new era," Romney said. "We'll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs."

While Romney acknowledged the growth of microfinance systems–the practice of granting small loans to individuals or groups in impoverished countries–the Republican nominee's campaign said in a separate memo that microloans are only a "poverty alleviation strategy" and called for a "much greater focus" for small and medium-sized businesses that are too big for microfinance.

Romney also took the opportunity to bring up the recent unrest in the Middle East, including the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens two weeks ago.

"Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem," Romney said "But that's not the whole story."

READ MORE: Romney makes Clinton joke–in front of Clinton

Citing the Tunisian fruit vendor who set himself on fire and sparked the Arab Spring, Romney said the vendor who was humiliated by government forces wanted to provide for his family.

The freedom of an individual to work, Romney said, is at the core of his foreign aid plan.

"Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike," Romney said.

Romney's comments come a day after the White House hopeful railed the incumbent president over foreign policy, particularly Obama's handling of tension in the Middle East and other Arab nations.

Romney used a campaign stop in the battleground state of Colorado to question Obama's comments in a recent interview during which the president said recent unrest in Libya would not prevent the country from developing a functioning government that adequately represents its people.

"I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance," Obama said in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview Sunday. "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."

Romney said Obama's comments belittled the gravity of the situation defined by the armed militant assault on the consulate.

"These are not bumps in the road, these are human lives," Romney said in Pueblo. "These are developments we do not want to see."

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • New York
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. g

    the king of outsourcing finding new cheap labour

    September 25, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. The REAL Truth...

    Romney said in Pueblo. "These are developments we do not want to see."
    There ARE developments we don't want to see Mitt, and one of those is you being in the White House. It's incredibly bad taste that the GOP has the gall to let you politicize the terrible death of an American Ambassador for personal gain. The sign of a fool is one who doesn't know when to keep their mouth shut.
    The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action(s) !!

    September 25, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. cbatchelder

    We would be very lucky, as a nation, to have Mitt Romney as our president. His ideology is founded on the basis of the natural force of freedom being able to satisfy the dreams of the largest number of people and therefore enriching us all.

    September 25, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. JAY

    Frst time Romney has sounded presidential. Why doesn't he use this kind of rhetoric when speaking to the masses? I am part of the 47% and maybe he feels we are not bright enough to understand if he speaks presidential to us. I am an unemployed senior citizen on social security who is taking care of my very elderly parents. Believe you me, I would much rather have a job and have my parents healthy!! I am neither unable nor unwilling to get a job. That 47 % comment TRUELY showed that Romney is ABSOLUTELY AND TOTALLY out of touch with the almost half of the people of this wonderful, hard working country.

    September 25, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Mitt Romney sought to bolster his foreign policy credentials Tuesday, stressing his plan to strengthen aid to developing markets overseas through free enterprise and trade."

    So says the man who just recently this year sold his China free enterprise market shares because he's running for President for Pete's sake and can't have no China investments stinking up his campaign.

    September 25, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. ThinkAgain: Mittens 47% ... Veterans, grandma and the disabled are all moochers!

    "Romney said Obama's comments belittled the gravity of the situation defined by the armed militant assault on the consulate."

    Just because Mittens is incapable of understanding what President Obama meant and can't see how much President Obama has done to help emerging democracies in the Middle East doesn't mean we're all as stupid as Mittens.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 25, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    To bad romney the tax cheat cares more about foreign countries then he does about the USA ,he doesn't even keep his money here and sends your jobs to China and sent Massachusetts government jobs to India as mass gov. Would you trust this gop goof ,when the state of mass won't even vote for him ?????

    September 25, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    So, he plans to send more jobs to China? Is that his Master Plan, to turn us into another Latin American Banana Republic? Wonderful! What's your commission, Mitt, or is it going into your offshore blind trust?

    September 25, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. ThinkAgain: Mittens' 47% ... Veterans, grandma and the disabled are all moochers!

    @cbatchelder: "We would be very lucky, as a nation, to have Mitt Romney as our president. His ideology is founded on the basis of the natural force of freedom being able to satisfy the dreams of the largest number of people and therefore enriching us all."

    Mittens' ideology is founded on lies and flip-flopping, saying whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear. He's a man without a core, content with writing off 47% of our country as freeloaders and filled with an intense desire to funnel even more wealth upward, in the mistaken belief and all evidence to the contrary that somehow, some way that wealth will trickle down onto the unwashed masses.

    Only a fool will vote for Mittens. Only someone incapable of accepting the FACT that President Obama's policies have made our country stronger and safer, with an economy that is slowly turning around, including 30 straight months of private sector job growth, a commitment to investment in OUR country and OUR people and OUR future.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 25, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. Pete

    This speech was different but Romneys the same making his plans sound so easy to achive,to create just like his dismantling companies when he was CEO at Bain,nothing to it.His telling voters of his no detail policies till after his election,you'll have to vote for him to get details later ,how original,how arrogent,how idiotic,on face value alone..People want,demand details,they won't purchase things of value,homes,cars,etc on just someone's word,they want proven details,facts before putting money on something that will ultimately effect them in the near future,the presidency is the same but some people are lax in this area and take political lies,inuendoes over facts because they won't read,research a peticular candidate.And it shows just how lies,inuendoes have made this campaign closer than it really should be,if all the facts were laid out than Romney would be left outside in the cold,he's not like us,he can't relate to us and he's definitly won't work for us,you've seen his speech to the wealthy elite in Florida and if elected he'll be more blantant in catering to just those wealthy elitist that lined his pockets to get him there.So before you vote,think of this as an expensive purchase that will effect you and your families future,believe me it will and not for your good either....

    September 25, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. ThinkAgain: Mittens' 47% ... Veterans, grandma and the disabled are all moochers!

    @JAY: "Frst time Romney has sounded presidential. Why doesn't he use this kind of rhetoric when speaking to the masses?"

    Why? Because he has contempt for you and everyone who isn't in the monied class. You saw the tape; he thinks you and I are freeloading moochers looking for a handout.

    Which is ironic, given that his own father when a boy received "welfare relief" (according to his own mother, no less).

    It doesn't matter what "presidential" words come out of his mouth, Mittens is a loser, and doesn't belong within 100 miles of the White House.

    September 25, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Ancient Texan

    The Real Truth- But you approve of the president spiking the football 50 times in regard to Bin Ladin just to further his political cause. DOUBLE STANDARD!

    September 25, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Sorensen

    Romney did not, and can not, ever do anything "major".

    September 25, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. AnnsTheMan!

    I'm glad Mitt will be looking for places for rich Americans to invest their monies! Go Mittens!!! Oh, wait, none of those investments will be here at home? What country are you running for president in?

    September 25, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. rs

    cbatchelder-
    Really- you believe that? What "ideology" are you referring to? Mr. Romney is all about enriching Mr. Romney.He worships at only one pillar- profit at all costs. He lies to get it, he exports our jobs, he is invested in China- a nation he claims Mr. Obama is too soft on, he bankrupted retirement funds to get it. He will even cut his own taxes if he becomes President. He has no morals whatsoever. He has said he doesn't care about the poor, and don't forget that he wrote off half the country for the crime of being poor, minority, on Social Security or Medicare.. He is too lazy to actually campaign (prefering public-free fund-raisers), and can't be bothered actually learning about America, and it's varied and complex problems. He is a fool abroad, and a mean plutocrat at home.
    Vote for Romney (and unless you are a millionaire), you are voting against yourself.

    September 25, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Thomas

    Romney's comments come a day after the White House hopeful railed the incumbent president over foreign policy, particularly Obama's handling of tension in the Middle East and other Arab nations.

    Romney , Monday Morning Quarterback .

    September 25, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Lisa P

    "I've laid out a new approach for a new era," Romney said. "We'll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs."
    -----------------------------–
    It doesn't work without infrastructure, at least not at the size Romney is imagining. That's the genius of microfinancing - it works with the infrastructure that's there and benefits the entrepreneur him or herself. As higher initial investments are required to make up for a lack of, say, readily available (and reliable!) sources of power or clean water, power and profits shift to the foreign investors and you're back in the 1970's or 1980's with development that is mainly just a way to exploit a cash-starved populace. It's never been that third world people don't work - they work like no other group of people in the world - but the work they do rarely translates into cash to spend on the sorts of things America (though really, now, mainly China) has to sell. Is development about giving people the tools to improve their lives, or is it about improving the industrialized countries' bottom lines? Mitt Romney seems to be picking the latter, whether he knows it or not.

    September 25, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. 1twinsfan

    I am home today and I was watching Romney's speech. I fell asleep. Really. But when I am awake, I find Romney's rhetoric to be quite dangerous. His vision of the world stage is incredibly outdated.

    September 25, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Wilson

    Romney is "obama lite." But "lite" is much better than full blown "obama." Romney will cause much less damage in his 4 years than if obama is given another 4. Hopefully by then the country will wise up and we will elect someone that will actually fix what has been broken over the past couple of decades.

    September 25, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Keep us all on our heels...

    Here is what Mitt was saying in his secret Mitt speak. "Hey, I like investing in foreign countries more than the US. The labor is cheap, they don't talk back and if they do, we just have their government shoot them and we put in some new workers. The pesky american workers expect to get paid more than we like paying.. I say .. invest in other countries."

    September 25, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. v_mag

    I'm really getting concerned about W. Is he in a bunker? Is he sick? Has he had a stroke, or gone off the wagon? Or off his rocker?

    Where's Elmo, er, Wacko? Not on the campaign trail, just as he wasn't in 2008. Not in the news. Not making a speech or going to the convention or in an ad. George Wacko is MIA. Maybe he's on a secret mission with Seal Team 6, or sleeping off a big night in Laredo.

    Or maybe he's just following orders to never, under any circumstances, remind the voters that his clone is running for president.

    September 25, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. usa

    Romney and his policies are a breath of fresh air ! Solid and practical – inspired by American principles and its people, which the current administration has sought to severely diminish over the last four years.

    September 25, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Romney argued his plan, which he calls the "Prosperity Pact," is a break from past policies. The guidelines state that the U.S. would provide aid to developing countries that remove barriers to investment and trade.

    "I've laid out a new approach for a new era," Romney said. "We'll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs."

    **********************************************************************************************************************************
    How would giving aid to a country create jobs in the United States???? Haven't enough jobs gone overseas? Don't be fool..

    September 25, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. MR.CANADA

    The best choice for the U.S is at least 8 – 12 more years of Democratic goverment to secure the supreme court. Can not believe this Romney guy has 45 perecent voters support . Sure glad my daughter just moved back to Canada!

    September 25, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. judy

    all this so he can buy back his china shaes and outsource some more. Yeah we really believe you mittens. You wouldn't lie to us . After all the taxes you have paid. Forward 2012. vote all repos out.

    September 25, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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