Obama: "Our Biggest Advantage Is That Our Muslim Populations Feel Themselves To Be Americans"

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MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS: Do you believe that Europe has been as sensitized as the United States and Great Britain has?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Here’s where I actually think that Europe has some particular challenges, and I said this to David. The United States has one big advantage in this whole process, and it’s not that our law enforcement or our intelligence services, et cetera, are so much better -- although ours are very, very good, and I think Europeans would recognize that we’ve got capabilities others don’t have. Our biggest advantage, Major, is that our Muslim populations, they feel themselves to be Americans. And there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition that is probably our greatest strength. Now, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t subject to the kinds of tragedies that we saw at the Boston Marathon. But that, I think, has been helpful.

There are parts of Europe in which that’s not the case, and that’s probably the greatest danger that Europe faces -- which is why, as they respond, as they work with us to respond to these circumstances, it’s important for Europe not to simply respond with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems, but there also has to be a recognition that the stronger the ties of a North African -- or a Frenchman of North African descent to French values, French Republic, a sense of opportunity -- that’s going to be as important, if not more important, in over time solving this problem. And I think there’s a recognition of that across Europe, and it’s important that we don’t lose that.

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