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. Independent-Minded American

    I'm really beginning to like this guy! I was skeptical for a while, but the more open-minded about him I become, the more he makes sense!

    You know, I think he's better for our country than McCain. I'll vote for Obama!

    July 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Sue/PA

    I cannot wait to vote in Novemember....GOOD-BYE Republicans.........................HELLO DEMOCRATES

    Sen Obama will rebuild America one step at a time.

    God Bless Barack and Michelle and the girls.

    Obama-The Peoples President!!! 08/12

    July 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. David

    Finally someone with the foresight to know that to build a better society, you need to start with a solid foundation. "Trickle down" does not work. Everyone knows: You build from the bottom up. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    Nader '08 (I live in Cali so I don't have to vote for Obama)

    July 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Gaylord, ND

    This is my country
    Land of my birth
    This is my country
    Grandest on earth
    I pledge thee my allegiance
    America, the bold
    For this is my country
    To haveā€¦. and to hold

    Love you Barack, press on...........

    July 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Joe Regis

    A pragmatic and solutions based approach to change rooted on issues that affect every day life of the American people.

    Landslide Obama.

    Obama 08 & 12.

    July 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. FLORIDA Voter for Obama

    "Instead of leadership that called us to come together, we got patriotism defined as the property of one party, and used as a political wedge to take us into a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged."


    July 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Jan

    Does his plan also include leaving our country open to attack by depleting our military? I believe it is elitist to think that everyone wants or is capable of graduating from college. Whatever happened to pride in doing an honest day's work without asking for handouts from those that are willing to do non-college trained jobs?

    July 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. John in Ohio

    The Civilian Conservation Corps did some very impressive things. I hope it ges brought back.

    July 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. CT voter

    Tell it like it is Mr. Obama! Great work! Patriotism is not reserved for one party, republicans need to go into hiding after the stunt Bush pulled to get re-elected!

    July 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Doers and Achievers

    It is truly my belief that service to one's country makes for a better citizen.

    I don't think that any person who thinks for themselves would be against this, but then again...

    July 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Naomi, Texas

    Tell it like it is Obama!

    July 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Bulldog

    Great job President Obama. I love how the Republicans love to tout how well Iraq is doing but fail to ever bring up AFGHANISTAN which is failing miserably. The reason is we pulled our recourses out of Afghanistan and put them in Iraq. Now our soldiers are getting killed at a much higher rate in Afganistan. Why doesn't McCain explain how is "surge" strategy in Iraq was at the sacrifice of our troops in Afghanistan and terrorists groups are growing at an alarming rate. All McCain and his cronies talk about is Iraq because they know how horrible the other war is doing all because of McCain "surge" strategy. McCain has some explaining to do and media has a responsibility to call his bluff.

    July 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Thank God for a president who understands the need for community organizing and service by and to the less fortunate! This is what American youth need to see and become participants. Yes we can!

    July 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Henrietta, VT

    November 4th is going to be one of the happiest days of my life. I can't wait to vote for Barack Obama. America is turning a corner, and I can't wait.

    Thanks George for doing a horrific job. We need a new direction and that direction will give us our country back. No more torture, no more spying on Americans, no more job discrimination in the Justice Department if you weren't a Republican.

    Yes, we can and we will-Obama 08.

    July 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. eam


    July 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Turnabout is Fair Play

    This is why I voted for Barack, He had vision and a plan to help us to help ourselves without corruption from lobbyists and with a strong sense of Americanism. God bless you Barack!

    July 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Sen.John McCain't!

    THATS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT CNN... NOW THIS IS NEWS..keep sticking to the truth Barack..inovative, presidential, and i especially like the fact that somethimes he says what i am thinking... i was thinking the other day about Bush's "call" to shop as a way to spurt the ecomony and the "take-this-terrorist attutude! horrible!

    July 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Frantz (Atlanta)

    You the man!!!!

    Obama '08!

    July 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. piper

    Good way to highlight the fact that serving in the military and dying for your country is not the only way for young people to be heroic and patriotic. (I am an Iraq war vet and an AmeriCorps volunteer).

    July 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. david

    thank you, its about time that we have seen some POSITIVE REAL news coverage.

    Obama '08

    July 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Iris, GA

    Sign me up, I'm ready.

    America 08

    July 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Joshua

    Big Government in your face.

    Socialism gone wild.

    July 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. captain

    This middle-aged white male had forgotten what presidential leadership is. After 8 years of artifice and deception, its a breath of fresh air. Ordinary, working Americans have a chance to put "one of their own" in the White House.

    Thanks, Barack.

    July 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Billy Pilgrim

    This is a fantastic plan that will allow America to reconnect with its greatness. We forget that the "greatest generation" was so named because of their willingness to serve the greater good of the country. Military service is a big part of this, but not the only aspect. There are thousands of ways to serve our country.

    We all should serve somehow. This country became a beacon in the world because of that attitude in the past. It should again become a part of our national identity as we look toward the future.

    July 2, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Mike Jones

    Why is McCain in Central America? He should be in central Missouri. Loser!

    July 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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