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Romney gaffes contrast with Obama in 2008
Under fire » The Brits, Palestinians and even some Poles say they aren’t impressed.

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Still his comments drew criticism from China, whose state-run Xinhua News Agency said Romney’s "hawkish remarks" could worsen an already tense Mideast situation.

Things went better for Romney in Poland, where Obama is widely unpopular because of his administration’s efforts to improve relations with Russia — a country many Poles view with deep suspicion.

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On the other hand, Romney has branded Russia the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" — language that pleases many Poles and reminds them of Ronald Reagan whom many of them revere for helping to bring down communism.

Ex-President Lech Walesa, former leader of the Solidarity labor movement that helped end Communist rule, has never forgiven Obama for perceived snubs, including the U.S. president’s refusal last year to receive him privately during a presidential visit to Poland.

Walesa effectively endorsed Romney when they met Monday in Gdansk, where the Solidarity movement was born in 1980. The current leaders of the movement, however, distanced themselves from the Romney visit, citing the candidate’s "attacks against trade unions and labor rights."

That didn’t appear to detract significantly from an overall positive reception, which Romney’s supporters hope will translate into Polish-American votes in swing states.

"Romney has shown that he is well oriented in Poland’s affairs. He said what sounds good to a Polish ear," said Bartosz Wisniewski, an analyst for Poland’s International Affairs Institute.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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