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July 31, 2012

Romney praises Poland as example of freedom, economic vitality

Mitt Romney wrapped up his foreign trip Tuesday with a rousing address to Poland’s foreign policy
community, praising the country’s economy and its commitment to freedom and insisting
it should be a model for the world.

“Rather than heeding the false promise of a government-dominated economy, Poland sought to stimulate innovation, attract investment, expand trade, and live within its means,” the Republican
presidential candidate said in remarks prepared for delivery. “Your successtoday is a reminder that the principles of free enterprise can propel an economy and transform a society.”

Romney traced Poland’s recent history, and found it offered hope for other nations.

“Unfortunately, there are parts of the world today where the desire to be free is met with brutal oppression: Just to the east of here, the people of Belarus suffer under the oppressive weight of dictatorship,” Romney was to tell an audience of about 400 people at the University of Warsaw Library.

The speech was to be his last major event of a six-day trip that’s taken him to Great Britain and Israel. Each stop has generated controversy—he questioned the British preparation for the Olympics, and angered Palestinian officials by suggesting Israel’s culture helped it prosper.

In Poland, controversy has been minimal. Early Tuesday, traveling press secretary Rick Gorka angrily told a reporter to “shove it,” and told another to “kiss my ass,” when they tried to shout questions at Romney after a ceremony at the solemn Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Gorka later

The day’s main event was the Romney address.

“The Arab world is undergoing a historic upheaval, one that holds promise, but also risk and uncertainty. A ruthless dictator in Syria has killed thousands of his own people. In Latin America, Hugo Chavez leads a movement characterized by authoritarianism and repression.  Nations in Africa are fighting to resist the threat of violent radical jihadism.  And in Russia, once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered,” he said.

But, Romney added, “In a turbulent world, Poland stands as an example and defender of freedom.”

He noted that Poland “went from foreign domination to the proud and independent nation you are today. And now, for both our nations, the challenge is to be worthy of this
legacy as we find a way forward.  The false gods of the all-powerful state claim the allegiance of a lonely few.  It is for us, in this generation and beyond, to show all the world what free people and free economies can achieve for the good of all.”

That economy, Romney said, should serve as a beacon to the world.

“From the depths of those dark times, this nation’s steady rise is a shining example of the prosperity that economic opportunity can bring,” he said. “Your nation has moved from a state monopoly over the economy, price controls, and severe trade restrictions to a culture of entrepreneurship,
greater fiscal responsibility, and international trade.”

“The world should pay close attention to the transformation of Poland’s economy. A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the
international stage. “



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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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