April 3rd, 2009
08:55 AM ET
9 years ago

Speaking in Europe, Obama slams 'anti-Americanism'

STRASBOURG, France (CNN) - At a town hall meeting Friday in France, U.S. President Barack Obama lambasted what he called "anti-Americanism" in Europe and called on European nations to change along with the United States.

At times in recent years, the United States has "shown arrogance and been derisive," he told the packed crowd. "But in Europe there's an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious.

"Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad."

"On both sides of the Atlantic these attitudes have become all too common," he continued, saying such attitudes can leave both sides "more isolated."

In order to confront the economic crisis, both sides must find new ways of working together, the president added. "Let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing. But it cannot be America alone that changes."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. mark

    He does realize he isnt speaking for most Americans ever since his pathetic start to the presidency??

    April 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. rice, bryan

    when we have president that couldn't read, it was embarassing to listen toGW when he was overseas. say what you want, Obama is a smooth operator. he doesn't come across as some dumb texan, who is carrying a couple of shootin' irons. he doesn't make up words because he can not read what has been prepared. he doesn't check with the boss to make sure what he says is correct.
    i spent time overseas, and can personally tell you that we are not looked upon as leaders of the free world. that is a notion that is being taught here by peabrains. we lost respect even before GW, we lost it during the 80's. we just reinforced it, we are overspending, overindulging, arrogant. the 80's was decade of decadence, and the reason why we are in the mess we are in now is because we had another decade of decadence.

    April 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. trying to be reasonable in WV

    Why do some people insist on believing that being a patriotic American necessarily requires one to be a isolationist xenophobe (look it up . . .)?? While we have justifiable pride in who we are and what we stand for as a nation, we shouldn't believe that we have some corner on good ideas and that everything foreign MUST be bad . . . . The fact that the Bush 43 administration diplomacy was ham-handed, arrogant, and counterproductive is abundantly obvious to all but the most chauvinistically ideological.

    I and many others are grateful that the current administration is trying to engage our European allies more constructively. SMART foreign policy, what a concept!!!! Does this mean we cave on national self-interest and sovereignty issues? Of course not! But why is getting along with Europe in and of itself a bad idea?? Well, it's not.

    April 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Ghost

    Fair, I agree that there is alot of partisan games being played here. If the CNN posters are represetnative of Americans, I am quite worried.

    And I know I am just as responsible and the usual, they started it doesn't quite cut it. I can only speak for myself when I say that I at least try to have some civl convos with folks that have different POVs. It is rather hard when both sides have issues. Especially issues with spelling and grammer. But I digress.

    Fact is I find myself definding the way I think around here. I am not liberal in the since that I kinda believe in the death penalty, think we outta either help everyone or help no one (See Ron Paul). So I think both sides have some prejudices brewing.

    But is it wrong if they are proved right?

    April 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Captain

    He should be careful...
    Most of the people who hate America live here... and voted for him...

    April 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Simmy

    Lynn, I'm with you.....President Obama is truly 'THE ONE' for these times in which we live. I am so thankful to be alive in such a wonderful time in history.

    I wonder if I would be as evil as some of the Republican bloggers, had McCain/Palin won.......... I hope and pray not.

    God bless President and Mrs. Obama....Administration......America!!!!

    April 3, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Alisha, MN

    Well said President Obama! I am so glad that we don't have a mansy, pansy, freeze-dried, jelly back president.

    April 3, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Cassey, MN

    Atta-boy! I love my president. He is the best thing this country has seen since Kennedy!

    Obama 2012

    Love you, Barack.

    April 3, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    At ' frank in Texas"- I am a forth generation Texan of German heritage, my ancestors fought and died at both the Alamo and Goliad and I want Texas to stay in union as part of America, for Texas to secced from the USA would be insane.

    April 3, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Helen, NY

    Obama is a stupid guy. He does not what is he is talking about. He cannot answer questions straight away.. You should answer what is asked for instead of twisting the points. Did you see the town hall in Strasbourg, France. CNN will not report it but my friends there were booing him because he does not know how to answer questions. It is serious business. It is not public relations.

    April 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. obama-mama

    Captain April 3rd, 2009 12:18 pm ET

    He should be careful…
    Most of the people who hate America live here… and voted for him
    Are you one of them?

    April 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. 3tourIraqiVet

    For those who seem to think that how we are perceived in the Europe (and the rest of world)is not important then I challenge you to open your narow minds and then consider this reality...

    European Countries are also democracies > Democracies hold periodic elections > Elections driven by Anti-American sentiment elect Anti-American Leaders > Anti-American leaders do not feel the need to co-operate with us on trade laws, national security matters, nor will they support our foriegn policies toward rogue nations...therefore...

    It's detrimental to our Economy, our National Interests, and it puts our National Security at risk.

    I firmly belive if another cycle of the Bush Foreign Policy had won out in November...we would be facing plethera of Chavez/Ahmadinejad clones all over world.

    Im sure that doesn't concern Appalachian Republicans right?

    April 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. j

    A BIG thumbs up !!!! He spoke plainly and said what needed to be said. We can all try to work together or sink together.---- Many European banks and the ultra rich became even richer during the past 8-10 years, along with Americans.

    April 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Brent

    BROVO Mr. President. After eight years of the Bush Administration, President Obama has alot of fixing to do. He's doing a great job.
    Nobody can do it better. BROVO!

    April 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Tonya

    Bush did alot of damage. Hopefully President Obama can fix it....

    April 3, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. tee

    We love America, that why we made the right decision and voted in the right person. People like you hate America and most of them people that live here. like the ones that don't look like you.

    April 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Blue is my favourite colour

    Obama's choice of words coupled with his ability to think, reason and listen are what make him so popular overseas as well as in America. He is not presumptuous, and gives equal ground to anyone who wishes to express an opinion.

    He did that when a heckler at one of his primary rallies continued to rant. Obama gave the man his chance to talk and more importantly, Obama listened and explained himself. He did not change the man's mind about how he felt, but he did thank Obama for at least giving him the floor so he could let him know how he felt. NO ONE has ever done that that I can remember. When that happened–I knew he would be a winner. There are many things I don't like about America, but I am grateful that Americans chose this man–things are looking up!

    April 3, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. patrick

    If "American Liberals" seem to be in-step with most of the rest of the world in the way they view America, maybe the problem is the American conservative.

    April 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Nini

    He spend every chance he got to put America down and count what was wrong about America and now he is trying to fix it with one sentence.
    You don’t bash your own country that you happen to be the President of while you are in foreign soil Mr. President.

    Someone needs to remind this guy that his oath of office was to serve and protect the interest of the United State, he is under the impression that he took an oat of Popularity.

    April 3, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. rob


    Great post. I didn't vote for Obama but he won the election and it had one of the biggest voter turnouts in recent memory so he is truly our elected President. Now that he's in the seat I truly hope he succeeds. If he fails our nation fails...its that simple. Somewhere down the line politics became an all or nothing option in this country...we need to realize that our diversity and ability to overcome obstacles is what made this nation great. The attitudes I see now here in DC are that if it's not the Republican way it's wrong...or if not the Democrats way its wrong.... well usually the real answer is somewhere in that gray and often left unused area in the middle.... we need to rediscover it.

    BTW I'm a 22yr veteran who is still serving so thanks for your service!


    April 3, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Venkat

    Jeff wrote "No American should ever get sentimental about what Europe thinks. Europe is just another economic competitor who occasionally shares some common goals with the US. But they'd just as easily cheat us blind if we allow them."

    What you said is true about every country. So, we liberals (or anti-americans for some) are not asking american to be naive and get cheated. We have to look after your interest like a smart kid in school yard not like a bully in school yard. We have to manage the perception well, which in itself means being at least half good as we want to be perceived. Because, deceptions don't lost long. GBA.

    April 3, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. april

    Why is he having a town hall meeting in France? His ego has really expanded beyond belief. If he isn't there to speak to the leaders–he should save the money and come home where he could actually talk to the unemployed, visit a tent city, or a food bank, or soup kitchen.Who does he think he is, he's a sitting president that hasn't accomplished a thing.

    April 3, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. walleye

    The world is a much smaller place than it was 50, 20 or even 10 years ago. We are all on this planet together and need to work with each other. What a novel idea. Try to make friends instead of alienate them. BEST PRESIDENT we have had in a long time.

    April 3, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. dumbocrat alert

    the G20 is playing osama like a drum.

    April 3, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. A.J.

    Bravo. Stick it to the French. I am a Republican and they need to hear this.

    April 3, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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