September 11th, 2008
08:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Live-blogging with The Best Political Team

Weigh in with CNN's analysts and contributors.

Weigh in with CNN's analysts and contributors.

(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.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (4,056 Responses)
  1. Aubrey

    I dont understand where they get the serving in the military is the only way to serve your country, how about teaching, so that we all wont be dumb and lacking behind the world, how about medical practice, so that we wont all die out early, how about Police, so that we can be protected in America from the people that live in America. We have this notion that America is perfect and we can do no wrong.....well WRONG!!!

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. kp

    it's easy for OBAMA to ride the coat tails of McCain's answers. This is the glaring difference between the two. McCain is a true leader and Obama is a follower.

    The flipped a coin McCain went first. I get that. However, they should have sequestered Obama. If not, then as McCain pointed in his segment, why didn't they just have all four of them together on the stage tonight and engage in what is supposed to be a bipartisan discussion on service.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. Louise

    McCain is full of it. He has been running a nasty campaign, and to blame Obama for the the tone of his campaign is ridiculous.

    And to Bill, just because Obama is at ease does not mean he heard the questions. I definitely believe McCain had the questions beforehand when he appeared with Rick Warren. Obama was in hostile territory, and he did well. The media never said anything about the possiblity of McCain having the questions. Now, who is the media supporting? I think it is obvious.

    Obama looks Presidential tonight.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Joe Boggs

    Can someone please tell me how Obama is supposedly for "hope" when he voted to end the life of a child who survived an abortion. This is truly baffling. Please vote for McCain, at least he has dignity for human life.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. Steve

    Hey Roland, quick question: Are your arms getting tired carrying Obama's water!

    You need to go suck on a Zoloft and even out a bit!

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Kaydee

    As a child advocate and parent I am extremely concerned that Sarah Palin's "appearance" as an "Evangelical Christian" is merely all talk. Anyone can go to church and be anti-abortion. Where were mom and dad when teenage daughter needed attention? Do the research. Teen pregnancies usually occur because the parents are somehow unavailable and disconnected from the family. The Palins were attending to political business instead of raising and CARING FOR (being involved) with their family. I see Sarah Palin as power hungry, and egoCENTRIC. Extremely self-serving. She does NOT represent my Christian beliefs because my beliefs embrace FAMILY FIRST. Look at George W. Karl Rove had him painted as a devout, Bible toting, spiritually filled Christian man and all of us Christians were fooled by him. I no more believe Sarah Palin is the "upright Christian" she portrays herself to be than do I believe George W. Bush to be. Anyone can say they are anti-abortion and ultra-conservative. But do their actions truly SUPPORT those ideologies? Are "true Christians" underhanded, deceitful, self-serving, manipulative, mud-slingers who lie to their friends, colleagues (American public) and settle things by strong-arming others? Or are they diplomatic and peace-making? (And I don't mean weak and spineless) Come on people this is PURE DECEPTION, once again. It's the same story with a pair of high heels. We bought it with George W. and now look at the opinion polls! I'm not saying either of these people are "bad people" but I do NOT believe either of them are honest about who they really are and what they really stand for because I believe they stand only for themselves, not the American people or CHRISTIAN VALUES! At least not mine! Don't be deceived by Palin like we were by Bush!

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. Johnny

    Roland this setting would be better if both candidates were together but this is a nice repreive/setting from the the divisive partisan politics that consistently gets displayed throughout this campaign by both sides and enflamed by the media.

    This general focus area is one where it seems Obama and McCain share commonality. As Americans (Republicans and Democrats) we spend more time pointing fingers at the other party for what they said or what they have or haven't done than trying to find the areas where we have common ground and working from there.

    Being an American isn't a zero sum game however both parties and candidates have forgotten some of the basic constructs and principles that our forefathers fought so hard for many years ago.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. Sandra

    Why do we have to read Candy, Bill and Roland? Don't we hear and see enough of them everyday. I thought this forum was suppose to be about service and not political. Judy asked a few political questions for McCain which I thought was unfair . I don't know about Obama because after the first question and his lingering answer (I didn't wait to hear the end) I turned the TV OFF. Same ole, same ole.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. Joni Jones

    Bill Schneider – I love you!

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. American


    How about a specific tax to support National Service?

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. Tommy

    I can't believe Barack didn't how 9/11 was being used politically by the Republican party.

    This is a appalling and should be brought to the public's attention, and we as Americans should demand it be stopped.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. Sherry

    Yes I agree with an above comment- McCain does seen to have two personalities- and I just don't trust him because he waffles between too often on issues- and in the past EVEn between parties. He's a War vet – and I appreciate that. But he's 72 and out of touch with the innovative ideas and progressiveness I hope to see achieved in the nations government.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. Paul

    What Schneider and the commentators fail to share with everyone is that ROTC is homophobic and the universities have a non-discrimination policy. When the military/ROTC gets rid of their divisive Don't Ask, Don't Tell, then it will no longer be an issue. Obama will get rid of DADT, McCain will not.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. Gail from Fl

    I am surprised and disappointed to hear that Candy feels Obama should do well because he is on home turf.... this is not a football game. I think he sounds better because he is the better candidate, with more ideas for the American public.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. Carla

    Watch the body language on the Time mag interviewer. Was on the edge of his chair, leaning in, hand movements – really engaged, hanging on every word of mccain. (also asking softball questions that favor him)

    Notice the change now that Obama's been on. He's sitting way back in his chair, telegraphing disinterest. Much tougher questions. Good for Obama, though – he's doing great!!!


    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. cnnticker

    this forum is not going to change a vote.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  17. OBAMA

    Obama's answers are soo much more specific than McCains. When McCain got asked about goverment role in our nation, he just replied that we have to be cautious about how much of a role it plays. Obama totally owned that when he explained specifically that the government is needed and that more government doesnt always mean more taxes. So all those people who say Obama isnt specific, there you have it!

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  18. Patti Zimmerman

    Barach is right to ask for civilian and military service. How exciting to be part of a new movement, to rebuild the honor of selfless service. Just like being asked to go green, we need to be asked to pay it forward for the next generation.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  19. tickerroland

    Here is the grand solution to the service issue for those who are compelled to do something:

    Right now, write down ONE THING you want to see changed in your community, and commit yourself to finding out how to make it happen.

    Then commit yourself to doing that for the next year. Just the next year.

    And on Sept. 11, 2009, determine what progress you have made.

    That's the starting point.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. Monica, Texas

    Obama makes a great point that if the gov't cuts the red tape and as a leader there is a call for action many more folks would volunteer their time and service....

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  21. Common Sense

    Can we all agree that 'Country First' is a vague, cynical platitude aimed at raising questions about your opponents patriotism. The whole theme of 'Country First' inherently downgrades community service to be inferior to military service.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  22. sjprugh

    As long as Senator Obame continues to attack the critical issues in this campaign... he should beat McCaint in November. No substance in the republican campaign, more of the same, as usual.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. Vishal

    uh gee, after spending 100's of thousands on a college education, do I really want to join the army and fight in a war I don't believe in?

    If Iraq was the reason 9/11 happened you would see more people joining. Truth is most young people don't believe in the war, and if they don't believe in the war, why in heck would they ever want to join?

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. abdul

    i side with katiec in what she says
    although cnn is an excellent channel (one of tthe best news channels actually)

    but i still feel that they are more republican
    they seem to side with mccain in ALMOST everything
    and they they cover up all his and palins blunders and mistakes.

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  25. Jennifer

    Concerned....RIGHT on the money!

    September 11, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
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