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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Mr. Bean" Displays His Class and Smarts on the World Stage

Romney aide tells reporters to ‘shove it,’ ‘kiss my ass’

By Josh Visser

WARSAW, POLAND - JULY 31: U.S. Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, prepares to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on July 31, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. After visiting London, Israel, and the polish city of Gdansk, Romney traveled to Warsaw to meet with the Polish President and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

At least it wasn’t Mitt Romney who said it.

After an international tour highlighted by the Republican presidential nominee being verbally spanked by British Prime Minister David Cameron and then being accused of making “racist” comments in the Middle East, the last thing Romney needed was another flare-up in the media.

But a top Romney aide provided that Tuesday in Warsaw, Poland when he told reporters to “shove it” and “kiss my ass” as they hurled questions about the gaffes on the trip.

Travelling press secretary Rick Gorka grew furious as reporters shouted questions after Romney visited the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Romney was headed back to his car when reporters began asking questions from behind a rope line, Politico reports.

“Kiss my ass, this is a holy site for the Polish people,” Gorka said to the press crops. “Show some respect.”

He also told a CNN reporter to “shove it.”

Gorka reportedly called several journalists to apologize for his remarks.

Journalists complained they weren’t given any other chances to ask questions. Romney hasn’t taken questions from the media since last Thursday in London. Even Fox News scolded the Republican for not taking questions.

The travelling press corps said Romney only answered three questions from them during the entire seven-day trip before he made his way for the airport Tuesday.


Speaking in the Polish capital Tuesday, Romney chided Russia and evoked Poland’s struggle against the Iron Curtain.

“In the 1980s, when other nations doubted that political tyranny could ever be faced down or overcome, the answer was, ‘Look to Poland’,” Romney said in a speech in the library of Warsaw University. “And today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer is to ‘Look to Poland’ once again.”

Romney has said that Russia is “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

It is speculated that one of the reasons Romney picked Poland for the third nation of his tour, is that his tough talk on Russia will play well there.  

A Rocky Tour

The three-nation tour was intended to shore up Romney’s foreign credentials. In 2008, Barack Obama visited the Middle East and Europe during his presidential campaign, highlighted by his speech in Berlin which was attended by more than 200,000 people.

Romney’s tour has similarly been memorable but for different reasons.

On Monday, Romney was forced on the defensive after he told a group of wealthy Jewish donors at a breakfast in Jerusalem that their culture was one of the reasons Israelis were more economically successful than Palestinians.  

And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence.”

The comment drew immediate criticism.

“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,” Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told The Associated Press.

“It seems to me this man (Romney) lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people,” Erekat added. “He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."

The Israel trip followed an excursion to London, where the British press labelled Romney the “American Mr. Bean” after his comments on the Olympics drew ire from Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the general public.

Romney called the preparation for the London Olympics “disconcerting,” although he later tried to walk back those remarks.

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