With a speech lauding Poland as a “defender of freedom,” Mitt Romney finished a trip abroad Tuesday that was long on symbolism but short on new policy, a combination that may have given his presidential campaign much of what it wanted despite some well-publicized stumbles.
The trip produced pictures of the presumptive Republican nominee meeting with political leaders in England, Israel and Poland as he tried to burnish his image as a potential commander in chief. He also appeared at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and with Polish icon Lech Wałęsa, images that could appeal to particular voter groups in the U.S.
Mr. Romney’s contrasts with the Obama administration were implicit, as he pointed out Poland’s commitment to free enterprise and shrinking government spending and said other nations could learn from that example. In private meetings and in his formal address, he was quick to thank the country for committing troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“We have fought together, we have died together,” he said. “We share a common cause, tested by time, inseparable by foe.”
Shortly after his speech, Mr. Romney cited his visit in a news release about the formation of a new group called Polish Americans for Romney.
But also during the trip, the campaign was rattled as Mr. Romney offended local sensibilities in London by appearing to question the city’s readiness to host the Olympics, and he angered Palestinians with comments about their economic difficulties.
Mr. Romney stuck to a cautious approach in his speech here, praising the formerly communist country’s growing economy and commitment to freedom. He drew a contrast with Russia, where, he said, “once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered.”
“At a time of widespread economic slowdown and stagnation, your economy last year outperformed all the other nations of Europe,” Mr. Romney said. He referenced President Ronald Reagan, a beloved figure by many here for his role in ending the Cold War, and Polish-born Pope John Paul II.
President Barack Obama’s campaign on Tuesday called the trip “an embarrassing disaster.”
“It’s clear he was simply unable to represent America on the world stage,” senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said during a call with reporters. Referring to the candidate’s comments on the Olympics and Palestinians, Mr. Gibbs said Mr. Romney “both offended our closest ally and triggered a troubling reaction in the most sensitive region of the world. He certainly didn’t prove to anyone that he passed the commander-in-chief test.”
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)