July 31st, 2012
07:35 AM ET
11 years ago

In Poland, Romney heralds economic freedom

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's speech in Warsaw Tuesday – his last on a week-long foreign tour – offered effusive praise for Poland, the country that has proved to be the smoothest stop on his three-nation trip.

Romney framed the former Soviet-aligned state as an example of free enterprise at its best, and linked the economic successes of the country to principles he cites frequently as a presidential candidate: smaller government, living within budgetary means, and a climate that fosters innovation.

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Describing Poland as an "example and defender of freedom," Romney said the alliance between the country and the United States was based in a common system of beliefs.

"Our nations belong to the great fellowship of democracies," Romney said. "We speak the same language of freedom and justice. We uphold the right of every person to live in peace. I believe it is critical to stand by those who have stood by America. Solidarity was a great movement that freed a nation. And it is with solidarity that America and Poland face the future."

Romney’s Tuesday speech marked his last public remarks on a week long, three-country foreign swing meant to bolster his foreign policy credentials ahead of what is expected to a close November election.

The trip also brought the candidate to London and Israel, where he met with political and military leaders and visited various historic sites. His first two stops were marred by stumbles, including a suggestion that the organizers of the London Olympics were ill prepared to host the 2012 Games. In Israel, his remarks in support of the Jewish state provoked an angry response from Palestinian leaders. But his stop in Poland was largely free of any major gaffe from the candidate.

Poland has a somewhat frosty relationship with President Barack Obama, who reversed a decision by former President George W. Bush to install a missile defense system in the country.

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.

Large numbers of Polish-Americans reside in U.S. battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio, lending another political angle to Romney's visit there.

Romney's stop in Poland came after an invitation from Lech Walesa, the shipyard worker who went on to inspire the Solidarity trade union and the eventual fall of the Iron Curtain. 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.

On Tuesday, Romney's stops in Warsaw included a visit to the country's Tomb of the Unknown Solider and a meeting with the Polish foreign minister.

In his speech, Romney said Americans were "inspired" by Poland's history, mentioning the country's struggle against Nazi occupation during World War II and the Solidarity movement begun by Walesa.

"I, and my fellow Americans, are inspired by the path of freedom tread by the people of Poland," Romney said.

Romney also hailed Pope John Paul II, the popular leader of the Catholic Church who died in 2005. Romney said the late pontiff "understood that a nation is not a flag or a plot of land," but instead a "community of values."

Praising the Polish economy, Romney linked a history of living under communist rule to what he saw as a commitment to free enterprise.

"Perhaps because here in Poland centralized control is no distant memory, you have brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous economy," Romney said.

In his remarks, Romney only briefly mentioned Russia, which he has labeled the United States' top "geopolitical foe." Romney said in Russia, "once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered," listing the country alongside Syria, Venezuela and Belarus as examples of places where "the desire to be free is met with brutal oppression."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Poland
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Right wingnuts, who post for Fox foreign owned media and the republican party, should demand a raise in pay to continue to work for the party of plutocrats. Love him or hate him, Mittens is a disgrace.

    July 31, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Most people who listen to Mittens word salad speech will respond with a hearty, "Huh!"

    July 31, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens' struggle to get money from the Chinese Communist gambling czar is also a struggle for Mitt's economic freedom.

    July 31, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    effusive praise for Poland, the country that has proved to be the smoothest stop on his three-nation trip.
    Except for that incongruous and baseless endorsement from, of all people, Lech Walesa.
    But I guess Anglo-Saxon "culture" makes for strange bedfellows.

    July 31, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |

    Romney the wimp is now pro union ,wow!!!!his union busting masters won't be happy .romney hasn't had a job in ten years so what does he know about workers rights and where are your tax returns ??????

    July 31, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  6. The Elephant In The Room

    Economic FREEDOM??? That is nothing but more WORD SALAD from Mitt Robmoney. It high time the press DECONSTRUCT the drivel out of the GOP camp.

    People in the US are free to make the choices they want. I believe the Poles have benn inspired by us, not the other way around, Willard.

    July 31, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    Hey Flip....how's that press secretary curse episode working out for you? So far, you've been embarrassed in Britain, refudiated in Israel, and so far done OK in Poland, but you've still got time to make sure you gaffe in every country you've been to.....what a trip you've had....

    July 31, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. GI Joe

    Uhhhh – not a good dress for hiding flaws. It makes her look "frumpy". ha ha haha haha ha ha

    July 31, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Yes, and yet, if Americans attempted to organize and challenge authority in an attempt to secure a better future for themselves and their families, Romney would be screaming about how they are envious and wanting to strangle free enterprise by criticizing the rich. What a fiasco his trip was: if anyone with a brain had any doubts about Romney's lack of readiness for the world stage, Romney put those doubts to rest with a perfomance that surpasses any of his screwups during the primaries. In spite of that, I saw the usual flood of apologists for Romney on here yesterday, spinning like Dervishes in an attempt to justify the latest additons to the Everest-sized heap of mangled statements Romney and his staff have spewed forth since they entered their 6th year of running. This was unreal, even for him. The only thing he did not do was buy a house in Britain, Israel, and Poland.

    July 31, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  10. chill

    Poland? A free economy? What about their health care system, Mitt. The state healthcare system is funded in two ways – through government budgets to healthcare and through compulsory individual contributions to the state healthcare insurance scheme. Sounds like a bunch of Socialists to me? Bet they even have regulations.

    July 31, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  11. anon-i-mouse

    This guy will have us in WW III if he gets elected. His dangerous rhetoric and carless words are not what's needed in a leader. He frightens me.

    July 31, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Isn't it ironic that a man who is against labor unions at home can go abroad and praise them as "freedom"?

    July 31, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. dave oldread

    thriving econamy, they have a hugh black market and still use the polish money even though the euro was forced on them,the citys might be beter off but the poor in the country side that mittens never seen is POOR.

    July 31, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  14. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Willard is now the subject of Polish jokes.

    July 31, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. Mike Texoma

    Nice to know there might be someone left that will talk to us.

    July 31, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. American People

    The American People want to see mitt's tax returns for the last 20 years. We want to know how many jobs he off-shored and how much of the profits are sitting in off-shore accounts evading taxes.

    July 31, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Steve, New York City

    Wow -that was one heck of a comment Romney made about the Palestinians. Trying to talk up cultural superiority/inferiority? Amazing. NOW he sounds more like the (negative) stereotype that some people have about Mormons (which I do not believe – people are people). I am guessing Romney is glad that his trip is over.

    July 31, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |