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. Mercedes

    President Obama is doing an excellent job in Europe. Unfortunately, this will not be the case in the United States of America because this country is still to divided. Until this country comes together as a whole country and not divided among democrates, republicans, independents, conservatives, liberals, etc, etc... he won't be able to get much done. We as a country tend never to be satisfied with anything at home. Why? Who knows!!!!!

    April 3, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Pepou

    You know Shooky, "right or wrong my country" is inappropriate. Bush and his gang have been responsible for anti-americanism in Europe. My brother who loves the US has always refused to visit as long as Bush was in power.

    April 3, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    Mari..... at least there are several conservatives on this ticker that actually AGREE with Obama on this one..... just ask yourself one thing... are you even CAPABLE of agreeing with any single conservative point of view or decision that Bush made? My guess is "no"..... my point exactly.... it is the liberals that are full of hate, not us.

    If Obama does something right, we'll acknowledge it. Bush did some things wrong, but many things right....liberals are incapable of comprehending that or admitting to it. Prove me wrong by saying one thing nice about Bush.

    April 3, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Pat F

    Obama should direct this comment to his wife, who is "for the first time in her adult life proud of her country". A disgrace for which she has never acknowledged responisibility.

    April 3, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. case

    Good job Obama, call them on that crap!

    USA last best hope

    April 3, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Bob Evano

    Wow, a lot of right wing crazies here today. It's almost as if they all forgot which party and which "leader" got us in this unholy mess we are in right now.

    Oh well, what can you do with stupid people? Arguing with them is like trying to teach calculus to a chimpanzee.

    April 3, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. dian

    He is definitely the right person for the job. Good job America with selecting the right person. You don't realize the full impact of your selection. It's big!

    April 3, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Mary

    I am sick of all the people who put down the poorer Americans who only wanted a home. It is the underwriter who decides if a person can afford a loan. When you have a professional who is telling you that they have crunched numbers and you can afford it you believe them. President Obama seems to understand it was the greed of underwriters and brokers that caused the bad loans. No one is totally innocent, but quit blaming people who had a dream and were ignorant of how to afford it. They were the only ones who did not go to school and get a degree on economics and financial laws. No one is mentioning the brokers who were recorded laughing about the bubble they created and hoped it would not pop until they had all the money they needed. It was mortgage brokers getting poor people to sign loans they knew had clauses just to sell them on Wall street to make a profit. I heard some of them even made the payments necessary to sell them on Wall Street.

    April 3, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Woody

    If it wasn't for the U.S.A (thanks granddad), all of Europe would be speaking German right now. This shouldn't be made into a popularity contest - we have to look out for our own before others. Besides, personally, I will never care what France thinks anyway. To all liberals and losers out there: please go live in a country that has already fully introduced Socialism - Capitalism is a major part of what made the U.S. stand loud, proud, and honorably for the past 200 years, and the majority of us are not willing to give that up. Cheers.

    April 3, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. matt

    Just goes to show how the dems and libs are out of touch Gordon Brown isn't popular in england and Obama is just another dummy from the US

    but as a conversative i'm proud to worship god everyday and I don't care what you libs or dem think you can throw me in jail or tax me i'll never stop worshipping my god

    April 3, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Objective Thinking

    THIS gets Obama credit for "telling it like it is"? Are you serious??? Ron Paul tells it like it is 24/7. I don't see you guys giving Ron Paul credit for it. Give credit where credit is due. Seriously.

    April 3, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Lu

    You tell'em, Mr. President....

    April 3, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Dan, TX

    James April 3rd, 2009 11:04 am ET
    James asks:
    "Why do dems care so much about how the Europeans view us??? "

    Because they are our customers who buy our products and European money coming into our country is one of the reasons I have my job?

    Because if they don't feel allied with us, they won't provide as much money and troops to help weed out terrorism?

    Because we want to encourage tourism to the US and have the Europeans visit and spend their money here?

    We want free trade, we don't want protectionism, so we want to be viewed positively by as many as our trading partners as possible.

    April 3, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Bo from the ATL

    To "KEV" the ex Marine:

    Well Said!!

    April 3, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Deborah, Bronx

    Frankly speaking I doN'T think our President should have gone there!! (my e-pinion), he should have just kept quiet on that Topic!! It's a NEW administration, Europeans areN'T STUPID, he should have given it some Time, before making Any comment of Such Nature (since we ALL KNOW where the Anti-feeling is coming fr). I think his Trip was a real Success, however, I do believe he made a 'Blunder' here making this speech!!, as given a little Time, Europe and America would have been Buddies again.

    April 3, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. annoyed

    I hate to break it to Republicans but what other countries think does matter. We are one planet, not seven divided by continent. I hate to break it to you but life continues outside of your "real American" towns. The economy is global and countries are connected. You all seem to have this Ronco "set it and forget it" mentality as if America can exist and only interact within itself. People are not zombies because they support the President. You Republicans are the warmonging, pro-life (yet do nothing for unfortunate children and care nothing for the poor) zombies. Your beliefs encompass three things: war, tax cuts, prejudice...that is it. So spare me the zombie label. Not of my multi-degreed multi-cultural friends are zombies and we do not agree with everything Obama does but we do have ideological parallels with the President and support him trying to make the lives of Americans (all of them, not just the White, the male or the rich) better! 😉

    April 3, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Disillusioned

    America sure does come in handy when there's trouble and countries need help. Who do the other countries turn to ? America. That's who. But when something goes wrong, who gets blamed, the Americans that's who. Having said that, We do have to admit we blew it these past 8 years. The first 4 years (of the last 8) we had Bush, then we (not me) turned around and voted for him again. I love my country, but sometimes we suck.

    April 3, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I love this guy!

    He tells it like it is, and it is sooo refreshing!

    April 3, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. BTC in VA

    Travis for Colorado – I am an immigrant that spent almost 30 years in the military serving this Country and you are dead wrong about immigrants. Most love this country and many have given their life for it.

    April 3, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. RNC + DNC = politics as usual

    Anti-American sentiment?

    his wife saying she wasn't proud of America
    and The One ranting against Bush's failed policies
    and generally making fun of all the other candidates
    and his pastor and supporters saying how horrible America is
    and Obama's support of Israel
    and continuing killing in Afghanistan

    Certainly THAT didn't have anything to do with it.

    April 3, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Janelle


    I hope everyone read your post and gave it the credit that it is due. Everything in our life is based from a global standpoint now and the ability to work together with other nations is critical to maintaining everything that our country stands for.

    Our president is smart enough to understand that and has the ability to make it happen.

    April 3, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Rob Johnson

    Sounds like Obama struck the right balance–America has been arrogant in the past, but we're not the cause of all the world's problems either.

    From everything I'm seeing and hearing, Obama made a very strong impression on the other world leaders at the G20 summit, and is off to a good start in renewing America's image abroad. He is a natural leader, and even in a room full of leaders, he stands out from the crowd and commands respect.

    What a nice change from the last 8 years! You go Obama!

    April 3, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. yeah, and it hurts our feelings

    but you can make it better, buy our products

    April 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Jerry

    My goodness, reading through some of these comments is depressing.

    I grew up in Northern Ireland, have lived in a number of different countries and have now settled here in the US. One of the most important lessons I've learned in my life is that "Them and Us" attitudes get you absolutely nowhere. Whether it's Europe vs America or Left vs Right, tribalism is nothing but destructive.

    Examine Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and tell me that you don't have far more in common with the rest of humanity than what divides us.

    Stop bickering please, and try and find some common ground.

    April 3, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Jeff

    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.

    Except for two brief times when Americans were helping to clear their homelands of fascist troops, Europeans have never welcomed or respected Americans. No one should kid themselves otherwise.

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