Mitt Romney spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in Midtown this morning. He began his remarks by referencing the address Bill Clinton gave at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month. Mr. Clinton’s speech was widely touted as one of the highlights of the DNC and was seen as one of the main factors behind a subsequent surge in the polls for President Barack Obama. Mr. Romney, who was introduced by Mr. Clinton at the CGI meeting, said he hoped the “kind words” from the ex-president would give him the same kind of boost President Obama got after the DNC.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today,” Mr. Romney said to Mr. Clinton. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good. After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.”
After thanking his his host, Mr. Romney outlined his view that private businesses can help the developing world overcome its problems–as long as government policies give them freedom to do so.
“Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system not only because it is the only system that creates a prosperous middle class, but also because it is the only system where the individual enjoys the freedom to guide and build his or her own life. Free enterprise cannot only make us better off financially, it can make us better people,” Mr. Romney said, according to a prepared version of his remarks distributed by his campaign.
Mr. Romney also made a thinly veiled reference to another leader who is in New York to deliver a speech this week–Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is in town to speak at the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday and has spent the early part of the week giving assorted interviews.
“I’ve laid out a new approach for a new era. We’ll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs,” said Mr. Romney. “Today, we face a world with unprecedented challenges and complexities. We should not forget—and cannot forget—that not far from here, a voice of unspeakable evil and hatred has spoken out, threatening Israel and the civilized world. But we come together knowing that the bitterness of hate is no match for the strength of love.”