In Poland, Romney gains support of iconic Solidarity leader
July 30th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
10 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. RealityBites

    Why so much hate from the all inclusive club on the left...?

    July 30, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. CanadaONE


    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who called his comments racist and out of touch.

    July 30, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The only society where government runs all of the businesses is totalitarian communism. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a society where businesses run all of the government. So how do you make them equal in comparison??
    What does whether or not we seen a government completely run by businesses or not have to do with the fundamental truths in what I wrote? Nothing.

    If one end of the spectrum is totalitarian communism, then the other end is imperiaistic capitalism.

    July 30, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Dude

    I wonder how much money Mitt paid for that meaningless endorsement?

    July 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Dr Me

    Mitt is an expert in foreign policy in fact he has friends that own their own small countries.

    July 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. ABCD

    The man looks like Karl Peters on the photo. It is not by coincidence. They might relate to each other!

    July 30, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. The Elephant In The Room

    Mr. Walesa, you just demonstrated how out of touch you are. You`ve damaged your credibility severely by backing union-busting Republican, Mitt Romney.

    July 30, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. curious

    Another Polish joke.

    July 30, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. king

    i guest this wasela guy wants american jobs outsource to their country real bad huh. where was him when the bush policies was causing his people to jump off bridges. does he want some more of that with mitten on steroids. he might not have no body left in his country to jump off anything when romney gets a hold of the worlds economy.

    July 30, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Vic of New York

    So why did Romney avoid Afghanistan? Maybe he was trying to line up countries that would even be seen with him? As it is he blew it in London, and his remarks in Israel were so far Right only Bebe would contenance them!

    July 30, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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