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.

Full Story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. Blue13616

    This guy is a slick talking, Rico-suave typical politician. He is untested, unproven and epitomizes the idea of what politicians are in the minds of people.

    Say anything, do what they like, and above all, don't pay too much attention to what I do. And by the way, what I said 3 or 9 months ago – well things have changed and it is the Republicans fault. I have to break my prmise because they are bad.

    I see a Bill Clinton here. How ironic is that? Prediction: the womanizing will surface in sometime in the future.

    July 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Richard

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama you are a lying arrogant snake.

    You would make a lousy President.

    You are a Dreamer!!!

    You are going to wave your magic wand??? Yea Right!

    July 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. marge

    Finally! Someone who sees the need for Americans to get involved in their country again. Bush squandered this opportunity after 9/11. We were willing to do something, anything, but he sent us adrift where we lost focus on what really matters. People are surprised by Obamamania? Not me, he is just doing the job Bush should have done eight years ago.

    July 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. MIKE

    My only hope is that he gets elected President. No matter who gets elected in 08, the American people are in for a rough 4 years. Obama offers us hope for the long term while McSame offers us four more years of the past.- -which translates into even more problems for the future.

    July 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. whatime

    Obama is awesome!!!!!

    Obama 08

    July 2, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. karen-phoenix

    I was a "candy stripper" at 14 in our local hospital and it set my goals for the rest of my life. Alot of great volunteering and helping people. I'm in my 60's, work a full time job and still do a little service at my church. Love it!!! I also had sooo many friends that went in the peace corp–One of the greatest thing for our country's image ever invented. We need a strong military, but we need PEACE and CARING! Great job Obama!!!!!

    July 2, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Shawna

    Just reading these words makes me proud. This is the call to service that people should respect, not wearing a flag pin on your lapel.

    July 2, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Michael

    Aww, Jamaal, all your going to have left after this election is this ecumenical goo you are wallowing in. Find a Republican. He can explain the words to you.

    July 2, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. The Surly Scholar

    Sorry to sound like a shouting zealot, but if all the anti-Obama folks want to question his patriotism and the substance of his campaign, how's THAT for patriotism and substance?! UNH. Yeah. Etcetera.

    July 2, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Ken

    Wow! And making that speech in Colorado's Republican stronghold and James Dobson's stomping grounds...

    July 2, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. exMil

    12 comments so far and no one has mentioned that Bush Sr. had the same ideas as did Bill Clinton. People don't usually volunteer in large numbers to help those that are too lazy to help themselves.

    July 2, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Obama 08: Female, 60, white

    Joshua: How is serving your country and in the process learning more about it socialist??

    July 2, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Marc PDX

    Excellent news! It's about time we put some of these "what's in it for me" dimocrats to work. Then we can collect taxes from them for a change. Ha!

    July 2, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. DD, New York

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Didn't Bush come up with something similar in the days following 911? Does this guy have an original idea of his own??? He steals from everybody!!! The reason why his political stance is so similar to Hillary's is because every time at the debates when he was asked for what his views were, AFTER Hillary answered what hers are, he said his were similar to hers/shared the same views. Wake up folks. This guy steals from everybody. Didn't he give a speech with lines lifted from somebody else's speech. His faith based incentives are the same as what Bush proposed. Nobama noway!!!!!

    July 2, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Harvard Ayers

    First time since JFK anyone has really tried to inspire Americans to act on something bigger than themselves. Where is McCain's call to our youth and retirees alike??

    July 2, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |

    Chuck said:
    July 2nd, 2008 12:54 pm ET

    Don't cha just love Socialism?!?!?
    _ _ __ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ ___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


    1) Who's a socialist? and

    2) So how are YOU doing in the worst economy since the depression?

    July 2, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. syl

    Could you tell us something about the Obama special mortgage rate story?

    July 2, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Tim Hutchins

    What's the catch, BO? This means that you think the president owns Americans and can use WHAT to "call them to service": IRS?

    July 2, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |

    aware said:
    July 2nd, 2008 12:01 pm ET

    Talk is cheap – Obama's trillion dollar deficit is not!
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    OBAMA is not president..... YET....

    you MUST mean BUSH and McBUSH's trillion dollar deficit, right?

    p.s. Didn't Bush inherit a SURPLUS?????

    July 2, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Justwannaknow July 2nd, 2008 12:12 pm ET

    I just want to know …… where are McCain's iniitiatives? More specifically what is his vision of and for America ?

    I don't have time to answer that one, would just take to long. go any other place than cnn. cnn is an obama only site. they only post good about Obama and bad about McCain.

    July 2, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Andrew "Hussien" Jackson

    The President is the Chief Executive … the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) … of a business enterprise known as the United States of America. Directing the various operating units of this “company” is what the job requires.

    While the reference to “Commander-in-Chief”, particularly at a time when there is a military conflict underway, gives rise to an important aspect of the job, it is not the majority of the job and it does not necessarily require the majority of the President’s intellectual brainpower. Qualification for the job has little to do with whether or not someone enlisted in the service or was captured and held as a prisoner. Being an excellent president has little to do with any knowledge of current military doctrine & tactics or knowledge of the capabilities of the latest weapon systems. The president hires very capable functional directors for those roles.

    What we want the President to be the “Commander “ of is the VISION for our country, the STRATEGY to achieve the Vision, and the JUDGEMENT and FLEXIBILITY to make the right decisions when the strategy needs to be adjusted. We are not so arrogant to think we will get the Strategy right all the time.

    More than anything, we want a President that will be a good executive MANAGER. The best corporate managers are most effective when they build high performing TEAMS.

    You've got America on the right track Barack.

    July 2, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. DJ, LA, CA

    Hey better than people sitting around the house all day listening to Rush Limbaugh pushing hate making $400 from Clear Channel's fascist agenda

    July 2, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Lilah

    "Don't cha just love Socialism?!?!?"

    Actually, yes. If people would forget the foolish stigma that socialism is bad, maybe our country wouldn't be such a disgrace. Maybe citizens would actually (gasp!) do something to make things better in their own neighborhoods.

    I think this is wonderful, and Obama will be an amazing president that WE can ALL be proud of.

    July 2, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |


    no matter WHAT the man proposes, he will be attacked!


    GEEZ CNN.... why have I been banned while you post lies from Lim, jeff spangler and peter e. ?????

    July 2, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. DJ, LA, CA

    400 million rather Rush just got paid

    July 2, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11