BERLIN, GERMANY (CNN) - America’s allies in Europe are crucial to the success of anti-terror efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and in helping solve economic problems at home, Sen. Barack Obama told CNN on Friday.
“Part of getting that right is having the Europeans engaged and involved in this same battle that we’re involved with,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told CNN’s Candy Crowley in Berlin, Germany, on Friday where he had addressed an estimated crowd of 200,000 a day earlier.
Asked what message his traveling abroad three months before the election sent to Americans, Obama said getting commitments from the United States’ partners would help address some of the domestic issues Americans are facing.
“If we have more NATO troops in Afghanistan, then that's potentially fewer American troops over the long term,” he said, “which means we're spending fewer billions of dollars, which means we can invest those billions of dollars in making sure we're providing tax cuts to middle-class families who are struggling with higher gas prices … that will have an impact on our economy.”
Obama left for Paris later Friday for a visit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Illinois Democrat is in the middle of a multi-nation tour in an effort to boost his foreign policy credentials.
Obama, accompanied by fellow Sens. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, and Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, has visited Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, and Germany. He will visit Great Britain after his meeting with Sarkozy.
The meetings are meant “to send the message that Americans want to partner with these countries in order for us to be successful, and also to relieve some of the burden on our fighting men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Obama said.
Asked if he saw his trip as some sort of rebuke against President Bush's foreign policy, Obama said that was not his intention.
"You know – that is not my job on this trip, I think that if you look at how we have tried
to conduct this trip – that I have tried to abide by a rule that has been historically I think very important – which is that whatever political differences that we have – we have one government at a time and that when public officials like myself who are not the president, travel overseas, that we are not in the business of spending all time second guessing our president," he said.
Tune in for the full interview on “The Situation Room” at 4 p.m. ET Friday.