July 2nd, 2008
09:45 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama highlights plan for national service

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/30/art.obamaflag.gi.jpg caption="Obama has been looking to emphasize national service."]
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a plan to create volunteer and service opportunities to help tackle some of the nation's most pressing issues, part of his weeklong focus on patriotism and national service.

"This won't be a call issued in one speech or one program - I want this to be a central cause of my presidency," Obama said in a speech at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

"We will ask Americans to serve. We will create new opportunities for Americans to serve. And we will direct that service to our most pressing national challenges."

He added, "When you choose to serve - whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood - you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."

Obama highlighted his time as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side and his stint heading Project Vote, a group that helped register 150,000 new African-American voters in the Illinois city, according to his campaign.

"I wasn't just helping other people. Through service, I found a community that embraced me; citizenship that was meaningful; the direction I'd been seeking. Through service, I discovered how my own improbable story fit into the larger story of America," he said.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also touched on the "spirit" of service witnessed after the September 11, 2001, attacks and take aim at the Bush administration's failure to capitalize on this opportunity to call Americans to service.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. Adam from NY


    July 2, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. oil rules

    Sounds like expanding government to me and I didn't see anything about the military. More Socialism at work. Please, he better keep this stuff to himself until after he is elected or he is going to get McCain's numbers up in a hurry.

    July 2, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |

    no matter what he says.... no matter what he does....




    Seriously... what are the republicans gonna run on...? anyone.... ?
    (crickets chirping)...

    July 2, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. ANGIE

    this man is gonna make a wonderful president!!!

    July 2, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Angus McDugan

    Good work. It is alway popular to take a shot at Bush. Should help drum up some additional votes.

    July 2, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. E-EU



    July 2, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Jamaal

    That man is so Presidental and his Wife she has stolen my heart! Obama 08

    July 2, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Lee

    Holy Good-Citizenship, Batman!!!

    July 2, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Jimmy P - Chicago

    Yea, everybody join the peace corp and smoke pot? National service ought to be the reintroduction of the draft. Make these spoiled idiots earn and respect what they have living in the USA.

    July 2, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Shane LAS VEGAS,NV


    July 2, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |

    which helped register 150,000 new African American voters in Chicago, according to his campaign.

    Funny how the white numbers was not taken count....

    as for his service plan....you wait and see-this will not happen-he will flip flop on this too!

    Any questions people?
    Vote McCain 08

    July 2, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    This is a great plan for the new Republican-induced Depression that we are about to experience...I personally would like to thank Dumbya and his minions for allowing the once strong US dollar to slide unabaited for 8 years...For all the DRILL talk, why is no one talking about the weak dollar as a key reason for expensive oil? If your money is worth less, it takes more to buy comodities....

    July 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Bulldog

    This is the exact type of leadership America needs to clean up the Bush/Cheney disaster. The only chance the GOP has is to scare people and instill so much fear so naive people will be AFRAID to vote for Obama. I sure hope the Republicans fear mongering doesn't work this time around and the American people have finally realized what their dirty tactics strategy really is.

    July 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Edna, MO

    I'm ready for this ambitious plan. I would like to serve my country since I feel good about it again, now that I know George Bush is leaving.

    Obama 08

    July 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Sweetie

    Am I reading this right when I see BIG money for the Directors of these programs running off the backs of volunteers?

    I don't like the idea at all, we already have too many Tax funded programs that keep the well connected in a nice salary while providing very little to the community.

    I smell a big tax increase for nothing that we can't afford!

    McCain 08

    July 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Lynn

    Gosh, he has a plan for everything. I think he needs to think about the war in Iraq, gas prices which is affecting food prices and everything else, healthcare and job loss first of all. I have read his solutions on his website and I'm not impress with his ideas.

    July 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. sherry



    OBAMA IN 2008 AND 2012 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. RJ, CA

    Expanding AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots and double the size of the Peace Corps – HOW? WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR IT?
    Integrating service-learning programs into schools and universities- HOW? WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR IT?
    Providing new service opportunities for working Americans and retirees – HOW? WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR IT?
    Expanding service initiatives that "engage disadvantaged young people and advance their education" – HOW? WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR IT?
    Expanding the capacity of nonprofits to innovate and expand successful programs across the country – HOW? WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR IT?
    Enabling more Americans to serve in the armed forces – HOW? WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR IT?

    July 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. urbantexan

    The Coon News Network..

    the next story Obama ate a whole plate of soul food with chitterlings, neck bones, fat back and some greens with cornbread on the side . oh yeah did we forget to tell you he had red kool-aid !!!

    July 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Angela Sandri

    This is what its all about. This is what HE is all about. The call to all of us to serve our country, young or old, man or woman, black, white, and all nationalities. Many in America want this naton to be a nation of all its people. What we need is a LEADER and this man will be that. He will lead the people to be the best they can be if they desire that. There will be many who will continue to prefer the easy way, the consumptive way. But hopefully, there will be many who choose to take the higher road, which Barack has to offer.

    July 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Not fooled by distractions

    Excellent plan Obama. This notion has been missing in our country for quite some time. We are our neighbors keeper and we need to start acting that way again. We're all in this together and we can either make it easy or hard – it's our choice.

    New ideas for our future. I love it!!

    July 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Independent Voter

    Gee, the Everything You Want at Christmas guy barely enlisted the forces of Good with all the God talk, and now he's giving us this!

    No matter than nobody hates Roe v. Wade more than Evangelicals, ladies. (Did you Obama girls promise to "obey" as part of your wedding vows?)
    By the way, what does "enabling more Americans to serve in the armed forces mean? That he can't get out of Iraq after all?

    Something for everyone from Santa this year. The barrage of crap programs he's putting out there are designed to attract just about anybody who could cast a vote. This one is for inner-city Chicago, remembering that they cast two votes each in Chicago while the rest of America gets only one apiece.

    Engaging "disadvantaged young people." Please. They've had countless opportunities to be "engaged." Their idea of "engaged" is being handcuffed to a cop at their trials.

    July 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Faith, SC

    This is MY next president. I am with you Barack and I will do what it takes to make this country better.

    America 08

    July 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Joe on the Street

    Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah....... in other words give the mounting unemployed something to do. Where's your fix for the economy??


    July 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. It takes sound judgement, not experience

    His judgement is brilliant. If he runs the country like his campaign we will be a greate nation again.

    July 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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