Rocky European trip comes to an end for Romney | News | DW | 31.07.2012
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Rocky European trip comes to an end for Romney

American presidential candidate Mitt Romney has completed the final stop of his foreign tour in Poland. Romney's three-country trip will likely be remembered for reasons he'd rather forget.

Hoping to increase his foreign policy credentials during the trip, Romeny delivered a speech in Warsaw on Tuesday and told the Polish audience not to listen to "the false promise of a government-dominated economy." That's a theme he has stuck to in the US to distance himself from what he considers President Barack Obama's policy of expanding government into the economy.

Romney praised Poland as an example of small government and free enterprise.

His comments in Poland wrapped up a tour of over a week that took Romney to the UK and Israel as well. At each stop, small gaffes caused unwatned headaches for Obama's Republican challenger.

The most recent slip-up in Poland came from Romney's traveling press secretary, Rick Gorka, who told reporters to "shove it" when they pushed on why Romney had taken so few questions from American reporters on the final day of the trip. Gorka later apologized.

While in Israel on Monday, Romney angered Palestinians when he told Jewish-American donors in Jerusalem that he may move the American embassy to Jerusalem if elected president . Israel seized Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Six Day War. Currently, foreign governments - including the US - have their embassies in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.

Romney also suggested that culture was partially responsible for Israel's resounding economic success compared to the poverty in the Palestinian territories.

"It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "It is a racist statement, and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation."

Romney similarly stirred up controversy during the first leg of his trip in Great Britain, where he attended the opening of the Olympic Games. He criticized Britain's preparation for the games, drawing rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron, a fellow right-of-center Anglophone politican.

mz,slk/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)