April 3rd, 2009
08:55 AM ET
5 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. Stephen from Baton Rouge

    How refreshing, a President that can CREDIBLY criticize the Europeans for their often misguided criticism of American policies, while humbly admitting to the embarrassing mistakes the U.S. has made over the past decade.

    April 3, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Karen- PROUD OF MY PRESIDENT

    Good Job Mr. President! Our President is absolutely right recognizing the arrogance of the US at times but pointing out the good as well. Finally we got a REAL President for the people.

    April 3, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. William

    It looks like Obama is getting a taste of reality. All the attitudes about America were not the Bush's fault. I just hope he doesn't try to appease the rest of the world by selling the US out.

    April 3, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. John in Ohio

    Way to go Barack, standing up for America.

    Wonder how the Limbaugh Listeners will spin this to make it sound bad? New meme, or old schemes?

    April 3, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. Veronica

    Well said President Obama!

    I wonder how the repubs are going to turn this one around.
    God Bless our President,his family and May God bless AMERICA

    April 3, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Jean

    Well done Mr. President. Europe need to acknowledge that they too are a part of the world not just America. It is too easy for them to blame America so they don't have to admit their own failures.

    April 3, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. TonyS

    So when is Obama going to pull our troops out of Europe?

    April 3, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Solo Nieves

    Anybody who has been to Europe can vouch for what he has said. The arrogance and attitude that we recieve when we spend our money over there is terrible. Even the woman have attitudes once you open your mouth to talk and out comes something other then a accent from their side of the world. They all think we are cowboys who don't care about anybody or anything.

    Most people will dig into his comment but I commend him for standing up for the tourists who enjoy travelling without being hated.

    April 3, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Kenneth

    To those who doubted President Obama's foreign policy experience ... what do you think now? President Obama has in two days done more for foreign relations than President Bush accomplished in 8 years. President Bush created a divide that could have sent us into World War 3 but President Obama is closing that divide by simple open and honest communication. Not pointing the finger or denying responsibility but communicating that the only way to resolve the economic issue is for all nations to become involved. Arrogance is not the key to success and many Congressmen and Senators need to acknowledge that fact, get behind OUR president, and assist US in becoming the driving force that we are intended to be. Well done Mr. President ... Keep up the outstanding work!

    April 3, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Thomas

    This is change we can all believe in.

    Well done Mr. President. Good luck to you in your efforts to rebuild our reputation so thoughtfully discarded in the past.

    April 3, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. ari from virginia

    GOOD For HIM

    Way to go Mr. President.

    "WE're Back in the SADDLE, again!!!!"

    April 3, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Anthony In Miami

    President Obama makes me happier every day. The way he handled this was short of brilliant. The funny thing is all the negative comments on here from people who haven't traveled out of their home state, much less across the oceans! Some people need to quit while they are ahead. He defended our country while taking responsibility for things not of his making. Word of advice to all the nay-sayers, Right-wingers, hateful minded, & Other Republicans who always find a way to disagree with something: STOP THE MADNESS! HAVE AN IDEA AND LEARN HOW TO PRESENT IT IN A THOUGHTFUL AND INTELLIGENT MANNER! AND STOP REPEATING WHAT SOMEBODY ELSE TRIED AND FAILED AT- -I.E.- -YOUR REPUBLICAN BUDGET RESPONSE! He is your President too!

    April 3, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Where's ALL THE RIGHT WINGERS responses to this ???? You know, the ones during the election that called the President and his wife unamerican, the ones that connected our first Family to Rev Wright, the ones that suggested that Obama was an unamerican Muslim ??? He is defending our country and...yes right wingers you folks also....against any bad press . Doubt that there will be any apologies only watchful eyes to find something else wrong with our First Family.

    April 3, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Alan

    Doug in New Jersey's at it again. Listening to Rush Limpburgher's hate speech every day has fried your brain, dude.

    For the first time in EIGHT YEARS I'm PROUD of our president. I voted for Obama and I am PROUD of America because we actually voted him in and he's doing what we voted him in to do.

    As for anyone bemoaning how we always act like Bush did nothing - please once again list his accomplishments over the past eight years. Please. ACCOMPLISHMENTS. POSITIVE MOVES. HELPFUL to the country and not to a limited few at the top who are owed favors.

    Sure - he did a few things. Most wrong. Fewer right. A VERY short list when compared to all the harm he and Cheney did.

    April 3, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. a canuck

    President Obama is the only politician I have ever heard ....who tells it like it is...straight from the shoulder so everyone can understand....with no reading between the lines or politicking..... He is unique and amazing.

    April 3, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. The Death of America by Obama

    obama will always be a disgrace. And his wife will always tell her same old tired story about herself.
    Yea,well there are many people who did not get to go to Princeton and Harvard...and they have stories too. But being white no one cares.
    The obama's are nothing more than parasites on this country.

    April 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. my

    if this country would be always perfect people would not blame. This country tends to take care of other countries, and if something does not work, it is blamed. It is natural process, people tend to blame, most of them have to blame to feel not guilty.....
    but there is no perfect country, person. So the blame always will surface at times. Unfortunately people rather see the worse than the better. Because the worse hurts, make them unhappy, and we all want to be happy

    April 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Chaz

    Here in this nation we have terrorists, liberals and conservatives. Why do terrorists try to pose as nutjob versions of liberals or nutjob versions of conservatives and post on the internet?

    April 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Thebe

    President Obama can say this because he is respected. Can you imagine Bush or Cheny [shudder!!!] saying this? It would rain shoes on them.

    April 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Expat American

    In Europe, If you told someone you were American between 2000-2008 someone might spit in your face...Thank you Bush and the Republicans.

    Now in 2009, someone might want to talk to you about Obama's policies..

    Red State Americans think that they're the center of the world...but since very few actually have passports, they would never know that many Europeans (no matter where) actually have a more intelligent global perspective than Redneck Billy Bob; and many if not most Europeans (no matter where) speak English as is required in school.

    Does Redneck Billy Bob speak Italian, Spanish, German?....not likely.

    April 3, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. jjr

    To John in Ohio,

    As a Rush listener, I find nothing wrong with what President Obama said, he was right on! Maybe we could change a few attitudes on this side of the pond as well, what do you say?

    April 3, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Kevin in Ohio

    @jaye April 3rd, 2009 9:54 am ET: "Just look at all the Anti-Americanism in the United States – it all comes from the republican party.
    The republicans have officially become Anti-American AND Obsructionist.
    So, shame on the republicans, the naysayers, the Obama haters, and the news networks that allow lies and innuendo from these republicans to be spread on their airwaves."

    Jaye...look in the mirror, and you will see the true hatred that liberals have had for this country. The "party of NO" started with the democrats way back when.... beginning with obstructing Supreme Court Justices, and right up to obstructing everything during the Bush administration. Turnabout is now fairplay...and our RIGHT.... as long as we still have the Constitution.

    April 3, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Jarrod

    Proud of the man. Now for all of you griping that the left says the same thing, its becuase we CARE and want America to be better. Ever see those parents with terrible kids that do nothing while the children get into all kind of mayhem? A good parent diciplines a child when needed. The same is said of a good patriot, when we do make mistakes, its out patriotic duty to fix it, not sweep it under the rug.

    April 3, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Kevin in Ohio

    @jfs Memhis, Tn April 3rd, 2009 10:27 am ET– "Where's ALL THE RIGHT WINGERS responses to this ???? "

    This happens to be a rare statement by Obama I agree with. Europe has been nothing but ingrates since World War II.

    April 3, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. pam Eugene OR

    He is plain and simply brilliant. I am so proud of both the Obamas' this week. Michelle has taken Europe by storm and they love her.
    A far cry from the attitude towards Americans for the past eight years.
    Thank you Mr. President and Mrs. Obama.

    April 3, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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