(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.
At this point I don't think this will be win or lose. I think this one will be a draw. I found McCain far more likable though than at any other point in the election, but I am enjoying Obama as well. I feel with Obama though that he is simply more sincere especially with the vicious tactics of the McCain camp of late it seemed difficult to me to believe McCain is truly genuine about making an effort at unity. It seems a bit disingenuous. I feel that Obama simply has more invested emotionally as if McCain is more embittered. I noticed McCain seemed a bit dismissive as well when greeting Senator Obama at the stage. He seems to me to be a little angry at Obama which directly contradicts his words.
That is a keen insight, Mr. Schneider. After 8 years where we put the onus on the private sector to provide this service, it ends up coming short. There is a need for government. And these services will do a lot to provide that patriotism and belief in America that we had immediately after 9/11 but lost thereafter. That is why i am choosing Obama
Great point Bill. An opportunity. Americans are fearing jobs lost overseas. Well creating energy jobs on our homeland is great AND those jobs are not likely to leave the country, nearly impossible in fact.
Wow, Bill, you're so observant. Do you ever actually analyze or do you just...you know...tell people what's happening exactly the way that it's happening? I know children who can do that, Bill. And they would be, at the very least, entertaining. So if you're just gonna sit there and be old and ramble on about nothing in that monotone you call your voice, try, just TRY to make a JUDGEMENT as opposed to: "McCain is a Republican. Obama, a Democrat. How interesting!" Yeesh.
Lt Col A (Retired),
We are not electing a President based on how many years of military service he has. If we were, then of course McCain would win hands down. We have a whole host of issues concerning us today (especially the struggling economy) and we need someone who can best handle all of those issues.
Did Obama get to hear the answers to McCain's questions before he appeared on camera???
If he did – then this was a set-up in favor of Obama.
So Military service is the standard for public office....I to salute your service...but the people iI know who are in the service were the ones who didn't have the ambition or drive for college!!!
Its about time we had an intellectual in the office of President!
Building military and economy to sustain our existence are made ny organizing a common good and exploring change. Community organizers built this country, go back to the history of this nation. Without common unity, we wouldn't have had the glory we have in the nation or to drive the British out and secure our own independence. Obame represents the fabric of the whole idea.
Obama still wont provide a plan! All talk but no specifics
Why is the media acting like Obama and his camp is attack Gov. Palin? It's the McCain camp who is throwing smoke grenades. I have several friends who've been to Iraq several times and they have been shot. So upon their return will that qualifiy them to run for President. What change will McCain bring after beening in Congress for 26yrs years. The McCain camp had a heart attack over the pig comments, so it's okay for McCain to say it and not Obama. Truth is if Obama wipes his nose with his left hand instead of his right that will give people something to talk about.
I think the McCain/Palin ticket is a joke and it will show in November if not God help us all.
Praying for a Change
Sarah Palin's interview with Charles Gibson (shown during network evening news) hit the nail on the coffin. She made it "absolutely and totally" clear that if McCain and she are elected in Nov. we will have four more years of Bush's policies. Period. No ifs and buts. I could picture Bush/Cheney sitting in front of Gibson and giving those answers!! (except for personal things such as her son going to Iraq). As expected she hit the "fear panic button" about extremist muslim terrorists out there ready to destroy our way of life and country!! What a bunch of buu!! We have had enough of this crap. I would ask her a simple question – why are rest of the democracies in the world including our allies, India, are not as panicky as she is??? Every democracy is on the alert but they are not carzy like her views seem to reflect. And she has one track mind – she will solve every problem this country faces by drilling in ANWR and rest of the Alaska. I am scared to death as to what will happen if McCain and Palin are elected – worst than the last eight years. She seems so unqualified to become a President of the greatest nation in the world. She was told that if she shows that she is one tough cookie she will get elected and I completely agree with Sen. Chaffe's comments totally.
Thank you Bill. You hit it on the head. Obama is smart, and has new ideas. Isn't that change? What new ideas have we heard from McCain?
I like the fact that Obama is not pretending he didn't hear McCain. It was a coin toss – just like football, the one that goes last gets the randomly chanced advantage. The whole cone of silence was such a rediculous concept anyway.
To be perfectly frank the president is half of the executive branch of the goverment. The other half is the cabinet and the VP. The advisers get about as much done as the pres himself. I see Obama choosing a much stronger cabinet then McCain, if just by virtue of his pick of Biden, who is a very independent (personality not party) person, will challenge the hell out of him. I don't know Palin enough to know if she will do the same of McCain. I mention this because the people you have serving with you is as important as your own service when it comes to being the pres.
It seems Obama is very bright. If you give him a minute to tell you. It will be a minute well spent with the knowledge you have gained.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Sen. Obama is about the future. He has plans. People just need to get in where they fit in and stop being so pessimistic. Anyone who has a problem with trying to help people, give people purpose, and advancement should take a look inside themselves.
Obama is still not being detailed enough on the "how" he is going to do these great things for everyone. I still hear bigger government, more Washington control and less community leaders.
PS – I didn't like the way he answered the 911 reaction question. Poor question since it is easy to look back and pick only on those items that didn't work!
The issues are complex, and Obama is showing an intense analysis of the problems and putting forward intelligent solutions.
For example: On energy, the seemingly simple solution of drill now, pay less is obviously simple and easy to grasp. However, if one looks at the issue with any closer scrutiny you will know that allowing oil companies to drill in places they have not done so before will yield no new oil for about 10 years, and thus there will be no immediate effect. Furthermore, the world's oil supply will be completely gone in our (my generation's) lifetime if consumed at the current trend, so we must make a change to our infrastructure in order to survive.
To say that "Obama is too lofty he takes to long to get to the point." is insulting to the intelligence of America. Complex problems require well formulated, intelligent, often complex solutions.
Unquestioned belief is dangerous – educate yourself on the issues!
I love CNN!!! Best political team on TV! I love reading your thoughts as the event rolls along.. but.. WHERE IS ANDERSON!!! ANDERSON WILL YOU MARRY ME???? :-)
I completely disagree – he specifically stated that each service area has its role. He did this when he was discussing the roles of FEMA, Red Cross, etc. during disasters.
Are we getting a little Teste' tonight?
Thank you Roland, well said.
Great point, Roland!
Im late joining but can any of the cnn specialist answer how can you ask for volunteer time from work where the only work some can find is contract work that can end at anytime.. I can't afford 4 more years of the republican party honestly..
I come from a family of one brother who served two terms in Viet Nam as a Marine and the other was an MP in the Army for 25 years. I was a public school teacher for almost 20 years in one of the "toughest" schools in the state of MD. We all gave to our country and communities. I dont think we should get into a hiearchy of which service means more.