According to the Washington Post, "President Obama closed out his eight-day tour of Europe Tuesday by reaching across cultural barriers -- meeting with Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders, slipping off his shoes to tour a 400-year old mosque and urging an audience of university students to 'build new bridges instead of new walls.'" More: "Obama told the students he believes in setting ambitious goals, including establishing a constructive relationship with Iran, ridding the world of nuclear weapons and forging peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He also said he would like to change the way the United States is viewed in parts of the world."
The AP adds, "The students formed a tight circle around the U.S. president, who slowly paced a sky-blue rug while answering their questions. He promised to end the town hall-style session before the Muslim call to prayer. Obama rejected 'stereotypes' about the United States, including that it has become selfish and crass. 'I'm here to tell you that's not the country I know and not the country I love,' the president said. 'America, like every other nation, has made mistakes and has its flaws, but for more than two centuries it has strived" to seek a more perfect union."
The LA Times editorial page believes Obama's overseas trip got mixed results. "As President Obama toured Europe and Turkey in recent days, he dazzled leaders and audiences with his rhetorical gifts and began the long process of restoring the United States' badly damaged prestige. To Europeans still smarting from Bush administration ultimatums, Obama was conciliatory, even humble… And yet he returns home with a mixed bag of results: applause and admiration but few commitments from allies wary of U.S. power and bluster."
The Washington Post on Obama's speech to Turkey's Parliament yesterday: "President Obama made his most direct outreach to Muslims around the world Monday, telling Turkey's Grand National Assembly that the United States 'is not and never will be at war with Islam.'"
The New York Times adds, "Showing more self-confidence each day on his maiden overseas trip as president, Mr. Obama, in addressing a majority Muslim country for the first time, appeared to have prepared carefully for one particular line in his wide-ranging speech. 'The United States has been enriched by Muslim-Americans,' he said. 'Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country."
"'I know,' he said, 'because I am one of them.' And then he paused. Throughout his speech, he had moved swiftly from passage to passage, but this time, he waited for the interpreter to catch up. After about five seconds, the applause came."
Indeed, Politico's Martin notes how Obama called "attention to the non-traditional aspects of his upbringing like never before – hoping to turn his biggest political liability at home into a powerful asset abroad."