U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney praised Poland for embracing free market principles after years under communist rule, calling it a nation "with an extraordinary future."
In a speech delivered Tuesday in Warsaw at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Romney celebrated the historical bond between the United States and Poland, saying they belong to "the great fellowship of democracies" along with Britain and Israel, the other nations on Romney's recent foreign policy tour. He thanked Poland for its role in helping the U.S. achieve independence from Britain, and said it stands as an "example of freedom" in helping to end Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney visit the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw, Poland, July 31, 2012.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave to people on the street before his meeting with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Old Town Hall in Gdansk, Poland, July 30, 2012.
Romney meets with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Gdansk, July 30, 2012.
Romney pauses next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, July 29, 2012.
Romney greets the crowd after his visit to the Western Wall.
Romney meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, July 29, 2012.
Romney walks down Grosvenor Place to avoid a traffic jam and is recognized by bystanders. He was walking to meet Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Embassy of Ireland in London, July 27, 2012.
With the headline "Mitt the Twit", The Sun newspaper criticizes comments regarding the London Olympics made by Mitt Romney in London.
Romney meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Irish Embassy in London, July 27, 2012.
Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium London, July 27, 2012.
Romney said the U.S. and Poland speak the same language of "freedom and justice" that upholds "the right of every person to live in peace," linking Pope John Paul's call for resistance against Poland's communist rulers in the 1970s to the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950s and the current Arab Spring movement in North Africa and the Middle East.
Romney said Poland has enjoyed economic growth over the last two decades by rejecting "the false promise of a government dominated economy" and embracing "a culture of entrepreneurship." "Perhaps, because here in Poland, centralized control is no distant memory," said the former businessman. "You brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous economy." He said the struggling economies across Europe and around the world should "look to Poland" as an example.
The presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee said a Polish politician shared with him "an economic truth that has been lost in much of the world ...you do not borrow what you can not pay back." The comment was an apparent reference to criticism by Romney's fellow Republicans of U.S. President Barack Obama's handling of the large U.S. government deficit.