What foreign trip revealed about Mitt Romney's world view, gaffes aside
Mitt Romney wraps up a seven-day trip overseas. His immediate audience was abroad, but his message – self-reliance and private enterprise build better countries – was for American voters.
Set aside the missteps in London, Jerusalem, and Warsaw that grabbed the daily headlines, and what stands out from Mitt Romney’s seven-day overseas trip are the glimmers of a world view that should help American voters make their presidential choice in November.Skip to next paragraph
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Private enterprise, small government, and cultural attributes that include self-reliance are the hallmarks of a nation’s success and prosperity, according to Mr. Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. In extolling those virtues while overseas, he made clear that his intended audience was American voters.
As he spoke at each stop, Romney’s objective was to differentiate himself from President Obama and one of his core messages: that whether the issue is job creation or health care or education, government is part of the solution, not the problem.
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Romney unfurled his message, one way or another, at each stop: in London, by vaunting the role his business-world experience played in his turnaround of the struggling 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and in Jerusalem, by using a speech to donors to underscore the role that “culture” and national qualities such as economic freedom, self-reliance, and a strong work ethic play in determining a nation's success.
But it was in a speech in the Polish capital of Warsaw Tuesday that Romney laid out his clearest vision of the path he believes the United States should take to address its economic challenges.
“Today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer is to ‘Look to Poland,’ ” Romney told his audience at Warsaw University Library. “The world should pay close attention to the transformation of Poland’s economy,” he added. “A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a stronger military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.”
Poland is the rare European country that has avoided a recession during the global economic downturn. Its economy grew by more than 4 percent last year, as other European economies shrank, some considerably.