(CNN) –On the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama each take the stage to discuss service and civic engagement in a forum at Columbia University.
What do you think of their ideas? How does the role of service determine what kind of nation we live in? What does national service mean to you?
Along with CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin, and Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, thousands of you weighed in.
Click "comments" below for a look at the entire conversation.
Obama is not all about government created service in absence of service from the private sector. He has a service plain and was just explaining it. Please don't make your comment a sound bite, Bill. Just read his position on Obama's web site to get a grasp of his position.
Watching the ongoing forum:
Judy W's references to McCains comments is creating a one sided debate. Also it appears Obama was able to listen to McCains answers to the question... tell me this wasn't the case!!! If so then that is plain wrong
OBAMA SAID SOMETHING THAT REALLY TOUCHED ME, JUST THE TRUTH OF HIS WORDS."IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE SOMEONE THAT CAN INSPIRE PEOPLE TO GET OUT THERE AND TAKE AN ACTIVE ROLE' THAT IS SO VERY TRUE, SO VERY TRUE, THEN HE SAID THAT HE AS PRESIDENT CAN DO THAT. NOW THAT IS A TRUTH THAT I CAN ATTEST TO. MY 27 YEAR OLD SON WHO HAS LIVED HIS LIVE AFRAID TO STEP OUT THERE AND TAKE A CHANCE, SURE HE WOULD LATCH ON TO JOBS THAT GOT HIM BY, BUT TOO AFRAID TO REACH FARTHER AND LORD KNOWS HE NEVER GOT INVOLVED WITH ANYTHING IN POLITICS, BUT NOW! SINCE HE WATCHED WITH ME OBAMA GIVING A SPEECH THE ONE ON RACE WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES ( MY SON) HE LOOKED AT ME AND DECLARED ABOUT OBAMA "THIS MAN HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!" I LOOKED AT HIM AND KNEW SOMETHING WAS DIFFERENT, NOW HE IS STILL IN MIMINUM WAGE JOBS, BUT GUESS WHAT HE IS NOT STILL IN MY HOUSE AFRAID, HE IS IN ANOTHER STATE GOING TO SCHOOL GETTING HIS GED AND NOT AFRAID TO TRY. AND AS FOR AS POLITICS IS CONCERNED HE IS WORKING FOR THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN.
I THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF HIM THE REST OF HIS LIFE!
YES!!! OBAMA INSPIRES US!
I'll say this, a doctor who chooses to provide medical care in rural towns where they live too far from a hospital is just as honorable as someone in the military.
Roland, I will agree whole heartedly with that statement.
my father served in the military, and those who go out there and put EVERYTHING on the line are just on a different level, yes those who go into the inner city are great, i applaud them however they are NOT
What is Joe Biden doing? Are the Repulicans paying this guy or what? Is he trying to ruin this ticket?
Obama needs to pull his card he's either with us (Dem) or against us. I wasn't to big on a Obama/Clinton ticket cause Bill was trippn and Hillary was a childish loser but now . I'll swallow my pride to get the Dem's in the office.
Advice to the Obama camp: take the gloves off, I know you want to take the high road but some americans aren't smart enough to see past the politics of the old that the McCain camp is pulling and the McCain camp knows it and are preying on the ignorant.
I think these guys are letting Obama get away w/o directly answering questions. I like his answers when he actually answers the question, but he takes a little too long to get to the answer.
Everybody in the BM is asking about lipstick. Why not ask if Palin paid all the Social Security taxes she owes/owed on wages paid to household employees. Ask Biden, Obama and McCain too.
then ask if the 2 candidates w9ill be willingf to denounce any and every Plum Book applicant who cheated, ever, on Social Security taxes.
McCain is saying the same bull the Bush said about retooling Americans who lost jobs over seas – 3+ million jobs! The campain promise that Bush made in 04 never happened. Why should I trust McCain when he is all for giving tax breaks to corporations, who in turn ship US jobs over seas and take in record profits and big bonus for the top dogs. I don't trust you McCain! I have been through enough over the last few years because of free trade! Top down job growth doesn't happen in the US any more, only the top.
I think Obama will help me much more than you when my job is lost because of unfair free trade. Lastly – why doesn't the US push India to relax the restrictions to allow Walmart to set up shops in India? They sure took plenty of our jobs, why don't they allow Walmart to operate?
This is fair free trade?
Fabian- I am trully offended by this PATRIOTISM, HONOR COUNTRY, RESPECT, DISCIPLINE, only in the military is ignorant. The everyday citizen who fights to protect their neighborhoods from violence, helping those less fortunate and teaching children in a tutoring effort is just as honrable to country, discipline and patriotic. Where do you live in Beverly Hills because while the military is fighting in other countries we citizens are fighting on the front lines for our future generations to have a better life just like you are fighting for our freedoms. Volunteering in the military is honorable but not supreme to the community volunteering they are equal.
How can you not elect this man!!!!
People put themselves at great harm to do lots of jobs in the US – not just military (and my sister and her husband are in the military) – but I dont think they deserve any more attention than fire fighters, police offices in gang task forces etc. We all work and risk our lives and we dont get anything special.
If call yourself a Democrat, please switch parties so that your channeling of Fox News Hillary hate is consistent with your party affiliation . Hillary's committment to the Democratic party can not be seriously questioned. Hillary will campaign more for Obama and to greater effect than any other of the other contenders. She will do that because she wants a President in the White House who will support her work in Congress to advance the Democratic philosophy and agenda that she and Obama both support.
If Obama wins, he'll have a superb legislator to work with,in Hillary. If he loses, than Obama and Hillary will have their work cut out them. They will work together regardless and we need too as well.
Roland ....as a DR. I not putting my life on the line...unless I'm doing it in a combat zone.
Roland, what is your take on Obama not doing town halls with McCain? I attended one with McCain and I think everyone could learn more about both candidates rather than having to be put through such a fine line with one or two moderators...why not let the people ask the questions, not the media?
Man, Ms. Sarah sure sounded like she didn't understand the "Bush Doctrine." Tim Russert would have made mence meat out of her.
There has been a huge difference in these two candidates so far during this forum. Obama is giving very specific answers, programs and ideas and we didn't get any of that from McCain. As usual, he was very general in all his comments.
How about this to all of my anti-tax friends (yea, you, Grover Norquist):
If we care about the military so much, would you support a specific tax that would go only to the members of the military that would significantly raise their pay and benefits?
If Palin doesn't know the Bush doctrine, what does she know about the established doctrines and practices of American foreign policy?
She is obviously less equipped to be president than Charlie Gibson. How acn McCain get away with springing someone so inept on the country at the last minute, just because she makes women identify with er as amother?
I agree with Dan!
Obama talks and talks and says nothing.
I,think if Mccain is serious about our security and Troops, he should discuss bringing back the draft , let's not be protected by a few,lets all protect our country . So before their children go to college they should protect the interest of America and serve,let's see how much they really support sending more troops . When Mccain served there was a draft in place, so since he loves to mention ,his service time he should'nt have a problem with the draft.
Great idea on the veteran corp. spacific plans how refreshing.
I would make absolutly sure that the military had the chance to at least a 4 year degree. If they willing to give their lives, they should have help to go to school to better their lives!!! Obama shares this idea, MCCain does not...McCain voted against it!!!
I'm bothered that the candidates speak in terms of ideals. Let's face it, they make promises in terms of absolutes that they can't guarantee. Then, they do a ballet around questions that they are either unprepared to answer, afraid divulge their true feelings about, or simply don't have a clue as to how to respond because they didn't expect the question. I don't like this. I just want to here some honest responses even if they do have to choose their words carefully. Anyone who is really interested in the issues could care less about the personality appeal, gender appeal, or the insane attempts to manipulate and distract people from the obvious.
Yes, I am a democratic voter, but I am unimpressed with the rhetoric on both sides. I think we all basically gamble when we vote because even though we may not like to admit it, like our religious leaders, politicians are human, and we mistakenly put faith and hope in them that is akin to that which we put in God. They are nowhere close, but we have to make choices that we believe are better or at least the lesser of evils, so to speak for the country. "Change" and "Country First" are great mantras, but give me a break! V.P.s aside, they both need to man up. McCain also needs to stand on his own and let Palin be a real V.P. and campaign like one on her own. If she needs protecting, then why did he pick her?