(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.
I would support a specific tax that would go only to the members of the miltary, cause I beliveve that they are the most under pay people in the government.
I think this topic is definitely who Obama is in reality which is why he looks so comfortable. He believes in community service not just military service. Service to our country must be met with support when they come home. That is the only way to build trust.
There appears to be some common themes to comments from liberal Obama mania supporters....emotional frustration, victimization, anger, resentment, and a conviction that the solution to all problems is comes from government, not individuals and business.... all reflecting their negative moods about our country. Are you proud of anything?
Roland, as a former member of the U.S. Army, I would agree with that type of tax but I think it should only go to soldiers that are in harms way. It can also be given to soldiers returning from the battlefield that have special needs.
Roland, u have definitely got the 'no government handouts' chant from the GOP and the rich right, as we all know as far as they are concerned, it only applies to non republicans and the poor, and isn't it strange how the 'no government handout' crowd in the WhiteHouse (that includes McCain) always gives the biggest handouts to the richest in the country.
One thing I can say that this is an attitude with most 'conservative/republican' governments, because the same applies to the the conservative government and their rich cronies in Canada.
I'm concerned about why Bay is being so very negative. Please stop being so cynical. Can't we just have a conversation? Roland stop messing with Bay!!! LOL!!!!
gee BK, you think we can afford 350 million / day for a war?
Cecile – McCain might have given smooth answers, but he has put the country in a very dangerous position by selecting such an unseasoned individual for his running mate. There is no way this woman can EFFECTIVELY take over on January 1. The reason I voted against George the First was because he selected Dan Quayle in an attempt to woo female voters. We're smarter than that! I'll vote against McCain because Palin is such an irresponsible choice.
Dear Senator McCain (sent to him online),
I watched and listened to your presentation on social service made tonight at Columbia University in New York. There is one question I have about your comments, please could you help me with an answer.
You said very forcefully that faith-based organizations should be encouraged to continue their social service work, which, you said, is independent of government involvement, including funding. There are two parts to my question:
First, faith-based (also called churches) organizations, I thought, are
tax-exempt. This means, in effect, that everyone pays for them, including the government who must recoup taxes lost through exemption by finding it elsewhere (and the American public is usually that elsewhere) – is my perception correct?
The second part of my question focuses on the support of the government of faith-based programs and their social service work as created by Mr. Bush. You have not mentioned (that I have heard) what you intend to do about this support
– will it be continued, will its development be changed so that it does not fail as it has in the Bush White House, will you expand it, and if so, how?
One of the largest faith-based organizations involved in work in Louisiana is the Salvation Army, and it is also one of the highest government funded organizations through faith-based funding and other grants – it is also one of the largest, and yet you stated categorically that these organizations are not funded by the government. Why did you say this when a large number of them get this indirect and direct funding often funneled through local, county and state governments to local chapters? As 501(c)3 organizations all of these faith-based groups have access to a wide array of government grants, particularly those that are "managed" at local, county and state levels. The continued very poor monitoring of these grants and their uses are a cause of very great concern, often resulting in widespread abuse, but little is done about this – will you monitor 501(c)3 government grant spending including faith-based grant spending better and with some verve?
I am really perturbed about the answers to these questions – either you don't really know or you forgot, which in both cases is very serious.
My comment was waiting moderation but seemed to disappeared. I was asking why the candidates and pundants don't explain how they are going to accomplish all the wonderful programs they are explicating. Has the presidency change from executive branch to legislative ?
I like Obama, but the moderators need to ask some REAL HARD questions here ... American's are waiting for the content ..
BK.. like we can afford 10billion dollars for Iraq/month??
Thank you Bill, Roland, Candy & Bay – who would have thought 10 years ago people could sit on their sofa's at home and have thoughtful discussion direct with media. This is a great way for the media to connect with what regular people are feeling about what's going on as it happens.
It is remarkable to think that obama has any weight when it comes to inspiring anyone to serve. What has he ever done?
LOL BK, we can't afford Bush's/ McCain WAR either.. So your point is???? PLEASE!!!
Who will be there to serve the investment bankers and defense contractors if we don't elect McCain? Roland, your comment on
the rich hating government handouts unless Bear Stears, Chrysler,
or Fannie Mae needs it was brilliant. Call Obama's campaign
manager and tell him to replace the lipsticked pig comment with
that one!!!!!!!!!!! Do it NOW!
Hey Roland, that is an interesting Idea!
Service? Anyone in politics is of service, no way I would do it! I respect all politicians that run, and serve, and that is another service, to be a politician really. There is Military Service, there are Social Services, and I think McCain represents Military and Obama Social. Quite reflective of the party's I would say.
Bay – at least you stay committed to the cause...cynicism.
Put Mccain's military resume in to trash. That is not what we need right now.
we need a person who can get us out of the recession.
I dont think we can afford McCain, we are already in a deficit from war, McCain would continue that deficit. Last time I checked democrats usually have a surplus when leaving office!!
Bay, you sound like my conservative Republican fiance when she knows she's wrong...
Mussolini was "on-topic" most of the time.
QUESTION FOR ROLAND MARTIN. IF IT IS DEEMED RACISM FOR 10% OF WHITE VOTERS TO STATE THAT THEY WILL NOT VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA BECAUSE HE IS BLACK, THEN WHY IS NO ONE INCLUDING MR MARTIN COMMENTING ON THE APPARENT RACISM DEMONSTRATED BY THE PROVEN FACT THAT 95% OF BLACK VOTERS SUPPORT OBAMA? THE BLACK VOTE IS THE ONLY DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP THAT VOTES IN SUCH A MONOLITHIC PATTERN(ACCORDING TO CNN POLLS). THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR A STRAIGHT FORWARD, NO SPIN ANSWER.
Obama seriously learned his lesson from the Saddleback forum.
McCain was masterful in telling stories and playing to the audience.
So what do we get right now? Obama telling a story.
He knows he screwed up in California.
Somebody watched the tape and learned something.