(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 never answers any questions. Mccain is better.
I'm 35 years old and have never volunteered, I'm ashamed to openly admit. But, Obama has inspired me to serve a cause bigger than myself.
big government is bad for the US, Obama is bad for the US, the basic unit of society the FAMILY needs to "change" more then anything then you won't need public works programs....
If the nation turns back God, then and only then will things get better.
For anyone who actually has the interest of this country at heart will vote based on facts that party affiliations. I, as an independent thinker does not believe that Palin can handle the enamous task of a U.S. President should something happen to Mccain. We should not forget that Mccain is not the young man he once was, and that means his vp candidate should be ready on day one.
For these reasons I am not sure if I will voting for Mccain.
The saddest thing is knowing that the content of this forum and the manner in which is was moderated and held will be reduced to the background noise in lieu of tomorrow's next new attack ad.
Our politics is more a referendum on who we are as an electorate as it is the politicians who try to earn our votes. If we tuned out the nonsense and demanded solutions, then every day could turn into a forum or debate on substantive issues.
Obama is the next REAL inspiring President Americans have been waiting for. The new USA generation is the hope for this country! Obama can become a true leader who we can count on, can'y the American people see that? It is beyond my understanding that people are actually considering voting for MacCain-Pailen ticket, are you serious? A man who has been in the power for so long and has done nothing! and what about a lady who judges others on such strong conservative beliefs, yet has a daugther who is pregnant and who feels forced to now get married probably because "Mom' put her on the spotlight of the entire world!
Come on Americans! Make the right choice for a TRUE CHANGE, the change we are screaming for! VOTE FOR OBAMA-BIDEN!!!!!!!!!
At 57 I have discovered that one man whether President or not, can only do so much to help the country. However, someone that inspires and motivates others to step and change will get my vote everytime.
I'm sorry I"m one of those young voters and I've never paid attention to Politics but Obama inspires me to do better not for just myself but for people in my community. Man. I respect McCain but Obama just reaches a spot in my soul that makes me actually believe in the American dream. That is not only possible for me but for anyone who works hard. Obama needs to be our President.
I can offer several reasons why the McCain-Palin ticket is the wrong one for the nation, but let me highlight one that I expect most people–not that familiar with the Washington DC "inside the Beltway" scene– understand.
The next Administration has about 9000 high level political vacancies to fill, somewhat less for McCain, since some current GOP appointees would stay on.
There is no "moderate Republcian talkent pool," just the regular true GOP believers, who have been carrying feckless and abysmal policy calls in virtually every federal agency and regulatory office in town, financial services, stem cell research, health care, eductaion, Iraq, environmental, etc. etc..
Our nation and its government would operate more honestly and fairly, if all of these political GOP operatives were forced out of their job by an incoming Obama Administration. That won't happen if McCainwins.
Seriously, this man Obama inspires me to want to do more for this country. He really is a breath of fresh air.
Fresh air? Sounds like your breathing Ether. Look at the facts not the gloss and smooth words.
You know – i never went into this election on the side of either one of these two candidates. It is utterly amazing to me how blindly people will follow a candidate and ignore the obvious in certain situations. It is proof that pot and mtv have taken a toll on the american minds over the past 20 years.
I love the comments about Palin's inexperience by bloggers and commentators and the willingness to ignore the inexperience far beyond Palin's by the primary candidate Barack. Amazing. Drink the Kool-Aid Drink – crazy! Now tell me MTV and Pot has not affected your minds lol. WOW! That's all I can say is WOW!
Obama is back !!! I get that good feeling again when I hear him speak. Go Barack, git 'er done !!!
Well, this forum was deliberately non-political, so there weren't any fireworks and none of the candidate were particularly put on the spot.
But the essential difference that emerged was Obama stressed government as a source of inspiration for service while McCain was more inclined to advocate for service via private sector organizations.
But in the end this forum will not change anything in the dynamic of the campaign!
I thought the press was not going to use cheap tactics today in honor of 9/11. OK so you don't the meaning of that word!!! Did some not notice Obama is 1/2 white?? Has no idea what blacks in USA had to live like in history.
I loved this forum. It was so warm and American. I think it was a perfect way to commemorate 9/11. I do wish the tone of the forum would rub off on the negative McCain campaign.
he is a breath of fresh air. saying military service to the anon guy up there is better than another. wake up. you need a certain mindset to kill people. you have a different mind set to save people. being a dr. is different from being a lawyer...but they can both do goo.
the right wing is so hateful. what a turnoff. ugh
This was big for Obama. He was comfortable and eloquent without being too wordy. He was gracious and completely responsive. Didn't dodge a single question. He answered, then amplified, and with specificity.
McCain obfuscated and evaded. Now the public is responsible for negative campaigning? By that logic, 99% of Americans would be voting for Obama since McCain began the negative stuff many many months ago.
Andrea Mitchell et al. are calling it "high minded," and I guess it was, in light of today's sad anniversary. But I think both McCain and Obama are gonna come out blazing tomorrow.
And I can't wait for Palingate to be fully exposed. If she's impeached as Governor before the election, what does McCain do then? I might note that Biden said only yesterday that Senator Clinton might have been the better choice. I smell something floating in the air, but I'm not sure it's from an elephant or a donkey.
This has been FANTASTIC. Thanks, CNN, for giving those of us who love a lively discussion an outlet for our various frustrations and honest concerns.
'What kind of a peace do we mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enfored upon the world by American weapons of war. We must adjust our own attitudes. For in the final analysis we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our childrens future and we are all mortal"
Wonder if the Republicans ever head this speech?
why do conservatives say keep government out of it but yet want to impose their views on the women of America about their own bodies. yea, keep government out unless it beneifts the religious conservative right. what a double standard.
America is still the land of "Opportunity" but is bleeding internally.
Gov is still important to create roads, parks keep things organized for us all...without this control humans will be in termoil as you can see in other parts of the work – the reason we have our loved ones in the harms way.
We need new thinking to gather what has been scattered in gov, in our lives and we need a leader who can inspire us, who see the future, who can gather people to make the see the sense of "community service" and why that becomes the core of how we think about other human beings...and not be so self centered.
Our first responisbily is our country, then rest of the world. We need thrive so we can help others. "You can't expect a ill person to cure another ill person – can you? then how we can help others, if we can't help ourself.
I cannot falthom another term of Repulicans. Eight years of hell...American respect worldwide has fallen to all time lows...the economy has fallen to all time lows...the job market is in disarray...the confidence of Americans has vanished.
So, why, in any common sense arena would America want to endure another four years with a government who cares nothing for their own people?
McCain is from yester-year...he resonates from a period where America was once a proud nation rich in accomplishments. But what worked then will not work now.
America needs a new direction with new ideologies and a new perspective to take it forward. America needs to break away from its past...it needs to start doing things that will prepare its future...ITS CHILDREN...to be ready for the challenges of today and for tomorrow.
Is the new direction with the leadership of Obama and the Democrats?
It certainly does not lie in the hands of the Republicans...so why not try the alternative...vote Barach Obama.
@ Red State Tex: If "The Government" is the problem- how do we fix it? That's kinda a vague complaint.
I am scared of Sarah Palin. I have a Journalism degree and a Masters. I'm a tough mom, have managed large budgets, and negotiated sizable vendor contracts. I'm no more ready to be Vice President or God-forbid President of this country, than my neighbor.
I've always supported Barack Obama and have particularly admired his judgment, intellect, and over 20 year service to this country. I want my leaders smarter than me - but obviously still able to identify with my needs and concerns. How many Columbia and Harvard educated individuals decide to work for low pay in poor neighborhoods in order to create job training programs and improve community safety?
As a woman, I want equal pay for equal work and the choice to make my own decisions about my body. I want separation of church and state.
What makes the McCain/Palin ticket so different from Bush/Cheney? Isn't eight years enough?
I am still watching this, and I still have the same opinion of Obama- I have to laugh because he wants to be our President. And while he is a good speaker and has "lofty" plans which everyone can aspire to, I just didn't see in his background where he accomplished anything that would give me reason to vote for him. He has shown nothing; he just talks about what he is going to do. I gotta give it to him. He's just a really good speaker, that's about it.
The tide is turning again. Obama did a wonderful job.