President Barack Obama said he’d be considered a moderate – possibly even center-right -- in Europe, even if that’s not the case in his own country.
President Barack Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt during a press conference in Stockholm, Sept. 4, 2013. (AP)
“You know, I have to say that if I were here in Europe, I’d probably be considered right in the middle, maybe center-left, maybe center-right, depending on the country,” Obama said Wednesday in Stockholm. “In the United States sometimes the -- the names I’m called are quite different.”
Obama made the comment during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt. He was responding to a Swedish reporter who asked what kind of Swedish ideas Obama had seen that he would like to bring back to the U.S.
Obama said there is much that America can learn from Sweden about green energy.
“It is a gorgeous country. What I know about Sweden, I think, offers us some good lessons. Number one, the work you’ve done on energy, I think, is something that the United States can and will learn from, because every country in the world right now has to recognize that if we’re going to continue to grow, improve our standard of living while maintaining a sustainable planet, then we’re going to have to change our patterns of energy use and Sweden, I think, is far ahead of many other countries,” Obama said.
He went on to say that Sweden has a free market but also makes “investments” with government spending.
“Sweden also has been able to have a robust market economy while recognizing that there are some investments in education or infrastructure or research that are important, and there’s no contradiction between making public investments and being a firm believer in free markets, and that’s a debate and a discussion that we often have in the United States,” Obama said.
“You know, I have to say that if I were here in Europe, I’d probably be considered right in the middle, maybe center-left, maybe center-right, depending on the country. In the United States sometimes the -- the names I’m called are quite different,” he said.
Obama also offered praise for Sweden's civil politics.
“I do get a sense that the politics in Sweden right now involve both the ruling party and the opposition engaged in a respectful and rational debate that’s based on facts and issues; and, you know, I think that kind of recognition that people can have political differences but we’re all trying to achieve the same goals, that’s something that Swedes should be proud of and should try to maintain,” Obama said.