(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 came out and proved why he is ready to be president, McCain proved why he should stay a senator
Both the candidates are missing the point: America needs real leadership to restore our democracy, civic discourse and the idea that people have to compromise to accomplish anything. Our country is continuing to split over the cultural issues the politicians serve up like so many hot-potato volleyballs. Let's show the world why the United States is a great nation rather than just telling everyone all the time.
From a Canadian perspective, I have often admired Americans' sense of civic duty and service that we, sadly, sometimes lack. However, I hope that my American friends will one day regard "the government" as less of a threat and more of a tool (a limited one at that) to accomplish things that individuals cannot.
Senator Obama appears poised to make a positive difference through limited government, which I hope folks embrace - rather than vote against their collective interests. However, as an outsider I am sure you will collectively choose what is best for your nation.
Whatever the choice, we will still be your great friend and northern neighbour (except for Alaska!)
Brian, Windsor, Ontario
Is Mrs Palin willing to to go to war with Russia for Georgia? That is madness. Georgia was the aggresor. If we follow American foreign policy since Wilson's 14 points of 1918, the two separatist provinces deserve their independence from Georgia. May be there should be plebicites in both.
A war with Russia will be nuclear. That will mean the end of civilization as we know it and, perhaps, the extintion of life on the planet.
US foreign policy needs a reality check: WE NEED THE COOPERATION OF RUSSIA – BETTER: THE FRIENDSHIP OF RUSSIA
Somebody should have told Sarah Palin what the Bush doctrine is? Maybe she should have called me.
I think the candidates (and Obama is my pick) should be talking about the 'so what' for each of the issues- so that people 'get it' about why any of these things matter
-securing healthcare coverage for kids and uninsured- what that means to those who already have it: lower premiums overall because taqxpayers and those are are insured are not funding the freecare pool
-shoring up the economy- so that our national security is ensured, foreign interests won't be the only ones who can buy US real estate,
-getting out of Iraq- so fewer of our servicemen die needlessly, so we can spend the money at home and avoid tax increases, and have money to fund education which is vital to our future
-change in Washington- so that insiders and friends of the powerful will not be able to get rich, run the economy into the ground, and leave the taxpayers to pick up the tab
they need to be giving the answer to 'so what' on each of their planks.
I wish Obama was the President in 2000. I voluntereed in Americorp, Peace Corps, and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC). I probably would have done a lot more if I felt the government would have given financial incentive.
Now I'm going in to debt attending law school. Obama's hands-on approach to making America a better place is exactly like mines. And I'm going to keep working to create a better society. But man it would be nice if there the government was more supportive.
Is the demo motto "be right and Lose"?
You people don't understand the American voter proclivity for the underdog/abused/ media repressed/ position/candidate.
The more Palin is abased, the more votes you are delivering to the GOP.
I can't believe no one in the Obama/Islama/bin laden party doesn't get this....Thank God...or Allah...whatever delivers victory in November.
You want some advice on 9/11?? Do good!!! Be nice!!! Be respectful!! And most importantly, be honest!!!! Read a book, write a letter, visit your girlfriend, etc. Do good deeds. It doesn't have to be today or tomorrow or the day after, be nice to people...our country deserves better...
And by the way, I do good things so don't think I'm all talk!! LOL!! I do have a lot(I mean, A LOT) friends, so...LOL!! I walk the talk baby!! LOL!!
Take care guys...
I guess Bill Schneider can't identify three of Mr. Obama's accomplishments that clearly define his ability to lead. That's not a problem; neither can Obama's Campaign Manager.
As for Ron; Get a life. I would not go around saying I to be a liberal and Republicans think it's about them, them, them! You are wrong Ron! When was the last time you gave to a charitable organization, when was the last time you sent a package to someone you have never met that's serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters of war?
I doubt if the thought ever crossed your mind Ron because you are a liberal and onlt think about you, you, you!
I work at Wesleyan University where Obama gave the commencement speech in May; the entire speech was prodding the graduates to commit to service to their community, state, or country. It was extremely moving.
This forum was really interesting, and I loved the comments from the analysts as it went along.
The bottom line for me is that Obama speaks from the heart, is real, and I believe with every ounce of my being that he cares about this country and the people in it. And while I'm sure McCain has just as much love for this country and the people...I just don't feel like he has the "big picture", like Obama does.
I was a Clinton supporter, but more than that...I am a Democrat. Obama has my vote and full support.
And Roland...you're amazing! I love your idea of a year of trying to make a difference. What a wonderful place this would be if we ALL did that. Kudos to you!
Beth – Altus, OK
McCain somehow manages to bring up his POW experience no matter what the question posed. I was, however; very surprised by his response on foreigners coming in to the U.S. on Student Visas. I'm not an Isolationist. However, if I'm not mistaken, the pilots who flew those planes into the WTC and the Pentagon on 9/11 came into the U.S. on Student Visas and learned to fly at a flight school in Florida. The problem with these So-called Student Visas is, this is a very large country-once they're here, they can be anywhere.
Bay,,,, what you mean is: that this forum ,,, you hope wont change a vote. I take a lot of issue with your single issue thinking,, I have watched you and your brother for years.. Based on what I hear from both of you its always about the life issue,,, it always goes to that issue ,, except for "protecting" your pro-life candiate at all costs.
I wish politicians were not so... professional, you know? I do not know where we are going with this business in Pakistan and Georgia, with Putin and Chavez, and of course with the Iranians as well.
Since I do not know where this is all going, and because it is so difficult to know what any politician might do to win an election, I am at a loss as to what to think about this election.
Can we still see all the angles? We should remember the end of Carlito's Way, when you fail to see all the angles. It seems like so very much is happening. Can we resurrect Teddy Roosevelt or something?
Senator McCain says his derisiveness towards Senator Obama because he didn't agree to the town hall debates. And that is why his ads have been going negative. Will some body point out how childish of a response that is? Isn't it like, I am throwing bricks at your house because you won't play with me.
McCain did not spell out how his philosophy of change and national service would look in terms of government initiatives, programs, or support.
On the other hand, Obama was specific. There is a proverb that says, "without a vision, the people perish." He laid out a clear vision. One under which this country will prosper. And it will, in my opinion, go a lot further to strengthen our security against outsiders who try to cause us harm.
The best team is McCain and Palin.
They tell the truth
They do not say Uh,Uh,Uh.
Sarah did an excellent job on her press interview.
I would trust her and certainly
Candidate for President, McCain.
I have been listing to these two men talk about our military and what would they do to keep ppl in the military. Well If I was the Pres. this is what I would do for the FULL military ppl : FREE HEALTH CARE , FREE HOUSING [on base] NO TAXES [at all] also they would get better pay after four years of service they would get $80,000 to 100,000 a yr. The military ppl give up all there rights just to serve us and to keep the mother land safe for us all. Also the big companies [tabacoo] would take half of there profits and put it to health care / cancer research. Also the Oil companies would take half of there profits and put it to fixing our roads, highways, bridges. WE NEED A NEW PARTY called the Party of the People.
there are too many mis-informed people here! Have you heard an unscripted Obama? Every other word out of his mouth was uhhhh. Please tell me what he has done for his country and state! Nothing. Dick Durbin does the work while Obama campaigns! Then so he doesn't get kicked out of the party like Lieberman and kicked to the curb like Hillary he give Obama credit for the work! The 90% absentee voting is a FACT!!!
Mike- Palin and Guiliani never condemned or denigrated community organizers. They merely noted that it really is not political, executive, or frankly even relevant experience, and cannot be marked as such.
I have been on the fence with this election. But the more I think about Palin disrespecting community service and claiming that she turned down the bridge to nowhere when she really didn't, the more I think it will be hard to vote for that ticket. At least Obama doesn't seem as mean-spirited.
I feel censored. It is okay. It is what I have come to expect from the media these days. All sensationalism and reality stuff. No substance or hard questions. Can't blame a citizen for trying. I miss the time when Journalists were journalists!
Obama..shows humanity by including all...his knowledge is incredible....his even demeanor is so wonderful in contrast to the last 8 years..he gets that real people do extraordinary things!!