April 3rd, 2009
08:55 AM ET
6 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. Michael M. Noonan

    Anthony and others,

    As a conservative (and sometime Republican) I wish you would restrain yourself in predicting how people, who are not reflexive leftists, will react to whatever Obama does (this is often predicted with the requisite name calling and spewing of vitriol). When we(or at least I) agree with the President, I'll support what he's doing (and I agree that this was the appropriate time to take on European anti-Americanism, so congratulations Mr. President. When I think he's wrong, we (and probably all conservatives) will voice disapproval. If we didn't, toward whom would you all be able to use your ad hominen attacks? I'm really put off by this infantile tactics.

    April 3, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Sue

    Go get 'em Rocko!

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

    that's rather amusing considering that there are many american's who express and/or are "anti-Americanism'.

    April 3, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. ANGIE IN PA

    Proud Of My Country and Proud of My President And First Lady!

    April 3, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Kevin

    Well said!

    April 3, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Rob

    This coming from a man who, with the rest of his administration has been bashing the U.S. for some time now. What, he gonna show those Europeans how to properly bad-mouth the US?

    April 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. johnny

    I love this President more every day! I am so proud of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama!

    April 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. barking dogs

    I think its really anti cowboyism,shoot your mouth off first and listen afterwards.

    April 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. German

    This president is smart.

    April 3, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    Very well said! And, this is just one more reason why I love President Obama.

    April 3, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Super MOD

    While I do not like the direction he is taking this country, it is good to see him stand up for the US. I just wish he would stand up for our Constitution, Preamble, and Bill of Rights more. These are sacred documents that make us the greatest country in the world. They need to be protected.

    April 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Jeffrey in Georgia

    This is the sort of balance that I appreciate seeing in a politician. He acknowledges that the Bush administration was wrong, and that America needs to change its foreign policies, but he does it without sacrificing the American virtues of patriotism, pride in one's country, and recognition for past heroism that so many liberals are willing to cast aside in order to correct a problem.

    The country cannot be saved by extremism. We must bring it back into balance, where it belongs. Incidents like this give me hope that Obama understands that.

    April 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. gl, Pittsburgh

    that's rather amusing considering that there are many american's who express and/or are "anti-Americanism'.

    Yea, and they are the REPUBLICANS!

    April 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    I am proud of my President.

    April 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Jarrod

    Amazing that when we have a prez capable of diplomacy, that so many hate. I am proud to have a prez smarter and better educated than myself. I didnt feel that way the last 8 years, when every word out of Bushes mouth made me cringe, and his overall level of intellect felt like conversing with a 4th grader. The world is complex, and its important to have someone represent us than can understand it. All the republican heroes (Palin, Coulter anyone?) seem to be good at being loud and stubborn, but not intelligent. None seem to understand science or have anything to say other than tell me what morals I should have. Not what I look for in a leader.

    April 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. patriot

    Wow, imagine that! A guy who can actually assign blame to BOTH sides when it is due, not a either/or proposition! If nothing else, this kind of dialog is change we can believe in. It's great having a thinking man for a president!

    April 3, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Joe the Troll

    Reading these comments it is clear that most people define "Anti-Americanism" as "not agreeing with my politics."

    April 3, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Kev

    Ok, I've seen enough of those who think someone who has served in the military shouldn't vote democrat. I'm a former Marine and I support our President. I vote democrat and probally will until the other side can prove themselves again. The President is right. Anti Americanism needs to stop. Overseas and here in america. To stop it here how about everyone support our President. Many have said they have no president or hope he fails. Not once in Bushes eight years did I ever hoped he failed. No matter how bad I didn't like what he did to us. He is our President whether you like it or not. So get behind him and voice your displeasures respectivly and offer alternative to what you don't like about his agenda or move to Europe. It's one thing to disagre or not like your president it's another to hope he fails which in turn brings down your country. This I believe is the start of Treason or just being un-American.

    April 3, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Lynn

    No way that Senator McCain and his wife could have accomplished what President Obama and his First Lady have done in just three days.

    April 3, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. John

    Europeans arrogant, elitist, self-absorbed, and anti-American?

    Situation: NORMAL

    April 3, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Neil

    Europeans think we're the bad guys because we ARE the bad guys. We kidnap people to secret prisons and torture them. We invade countries and kill innocent people for no good reason. We align ourselves with fascists and bolster their economies so they can exploit workers and impose rule on powerless populations. We base our international relationships on fear, not trust or dialogue. Our appetites are driving an entire continent to starvation. We line the pockets of bankers and corporate executives while millions of our own children are driven onto the streets, homeless. We would rather murder children than risk them falling prey to unpopular religious organizations.
    We used to be the good guys. We're the bad guys now.

    April 3, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. a canuck

    TO; the death of america by Obama.......WHAT PLANET ARE YOU LIVING ON ???????

    April 3, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Jim

    @ Expat American

    I lived in the Netherlands in 2005 and 2006 and traveled all around Europe during that time and multiple times in 2007 and 2008. Not once did someone act rude to me for being American. On the contrary, many people were very interested in hearing my opinion on things. The overwhelming response I got was "We don't dislike Americans, just your president".

    My personal take on things. Those in Europe that truly are anti-American are analogous to the Americans that blindly think the US is the best country at everything, is the best place to live in the world no matter who you are, and have never actually been outside the US in order to have an actual frame of reference for their opinion. It's just close-mindedness.

    April 3, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Danielle

    Way to go, Mr. President!!

    April 3, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. T from MO

    Anthony in Miami

    Here again is an example of the liberal elitist mindset. You assume that anyone who would leave a negative comment never traveled. I've seen posts on these boards that conservatives never leave their home state. Some of you also assume that conservatives are rich and only care about themselves. I think this is a good example of how the democrats have been able to manipulate your minds with their forked tounges. Why would someone who is rich and cares only of themselves never travel out of their home state? Think deeply about your stereotypes that have been shoveled into your minds by the internet and understand the conflicts. Open your eyes and your mind. Please.

    April 3, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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