Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s overseas trip has left his team struggling to explain some of the remarks he made in Great Britain and Israel. But in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, some Poles expressed satisfaction at the hopeful’s choice to visit their home country for the last leg of his trip.
“Definitely it will put Poland back on the political map of the world," said Mieszko Kalita. "Because President Obama kind of forgot about our existence because of the reset policy towards Russia, and Romney clearly with this visit - first to Israel and Great Britain - and then to Poland, clearly sees those three countries as the most important ones.”
Kalita, 49, has been running a grocery store in the neighborhood for almost 25 years. He said he disagreed with President Obama's 2009 decision to abandon a plan that would've construct a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, which was developed by the Bush administration. The president said at the time that the decision was based on updated intelligence about Iran’s missile programs and advances in missile technology.
Before he left for his foreign trip, Romney echoed Kalita’s thoughts at an appearance in Reno, Nev. last week. Speaking at the Veterans of Foreign War National Convention, Romney said that President Obama moved “in the opposite direction” from nurturing alliances, beginning “with the sudden abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic.”
In May, Obama angered Polish leaders when he mistakenly referred to Nazi death camps as “Polish death camps.” He apologized, and in Greenpoint some said they didn’t consider the incident noteworthy.
Marek Wojcicki, 55, who owns a pharmacy on Manhattan Avenue, said he was disappointed with more practical matters, such as the failure to eliminate visa requirements for Poles visiting the U.S. Wojcicki said he thinks that under a President Romney the two countries would establish a better relationship.
“I am very glad he went to Poland, because Poland is a big partner to America,” Wojcicki said. “And Poland is the people you can trust.”