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. tigerakabj

    Keep on keeping on Barack.

    I've got my cross-training shoes, ready to sprint a 1/2 mile to my polling place on Nov. 4. Until then, I'll give $50/month.

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

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

    July 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. al

    If he can just overcome the hate, he will make a wonderful president.

    July 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. joe in VA

    Sounds like "a thousand points of light" to me, first proposed by George H.W. Bush.

    I don't think BHO has a single fresh idea in his head. He's just a same ol same ol politician with no experience. Where's the "change" he keeps preaching? all I see is the same old promises with nothing to back it up.

    Obama is not a "change agent", he's an agent for his own ambition.

    July 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Young Voter from TX

    Oh so he's going to expand the armed forces. Is he going to make his daughter sign up? Nope. Oh well, the McCain kids beat them to it; they are the true Americans who serve their country.

    MCCAIN 08

    July 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. David Goldman

    LETS NOT HAVE ANY OF THIS!!!!

    AMERICANS HELPING AMERICANS IS UNPATRIOTIC

    AND TOO LEFT WING??????

    OUR TAX DOLLARS BELONG IN IRAQ!!!!!!

    WE HAVE BEEN SOLD BY THE REPUBLICANS THE BIGGEST

    LOAD OF CRAP SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. THEY HAVE

    TURNED THE WORD LIBERTY INTO A DEROGATORY WORD.

    July 2, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Mary

    Blah, blah, blah.

    July 2, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. California Gold

    Yes we can!

    I served my country in the US military and realize the military isn't for everyone. But I do believe in other opportunities to serve. The fact we have a candidate who shares the value of serving and contributing is something that reminds me there is promise in the future. People have value.

    He will make a great President.

    July 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. p Coleman

    These people are running for president, not charity work and community organizing.

    What about Health care, the economy, jobs, gas prices????????????

    Does Obama want to be president or take Bill Clintons new job as relief efforts????

    Have not heard anything about the issues since Hillary dropped out of the race as a matter of fact have not heard anything that made much sense since she dropped out.

    July 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    This will not be a call issued in one speech or one program — this will be a central cause of my presidency,"

    That is like the 80ith central cause of his presidency. It is getting hard to believe that he plans to do all of this in one or two terms. he plans to handle in 4 years what no other president could handle in 8.Is this ambition or pandering.

    Angus
    It is alway popular to take a shot at Bush Should help drum up some additional votes.
    fear monger are we. I love it. if a repub even mentions terrorism it is fear mongering not a real threat. bush is very unpopular and you use fear of his polices to (as you put it ) drum up votes

    July 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Jeana, DC

    I'm an African American, and a Democrat, and I felt the same way Michelle did. For a long time, politically, I wasn't proud of the country. After Republican president after Republican president, you do get weary. There really hasn't been a lot for Dems to smile about, particularly the Supreme Court. The first Bush appointment was horrible, the appointment of Clarence Thomas...and other Supreme Court Justices. Renaming Washington National Airport to the Reagan National Airport, which was political and cynical. It has been tough for Democrats.

    But today I'm hopeful. I feel proud that we are turning a corner.

    Obama 08

    July 2, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Mk

    It's nice to see a candidate really focusing on the people here in the US. It's been along time since anyone paid attention to US.

    July 2, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    GOOD GOING OBAMA. WE JUST LOVE YOU.

    REBUILDING AMERICA, IS WHAT WE DESPERATELY

    NEED & WANT. WE ALL ARE ON BOARD.

    July 2, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. larry buchas

    He gets us involved. That can only create new bonds & relations. This plan will carry over with other nations.

    And its a volunteer plan. Maybe there's opportunity for some to get help with their every day problems?

    How can anyone not like it?

    July 2, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Dave in Houston

    Good stuff. He's saying all the right things. This is the Democrats' best candidate since Bill Clinton! Al Gore, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis should all be taking notes to see where they went wrong.

    I think we are in for a shift of the quality of the President like we had when we went from Herbert Hoover to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    July 2, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. MM

    Mitt Romney as a one term governor does not have enough experience to be vice president or president

    July 2, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. ProundToBeDemocrat

    This man makes me more proud ever time he speaks out. America need to understand this guy is a leader once in a life time leader and First balck president and the best president America ever seen.

    July 2, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Generation X

    And, on...5....4...3...2...1...here comes; Belle 1&2, Hillary Supporter, Sharon MN, Charlotte, Michelle, Down with Obama (real nut case), Lisa, Uncle Sam and fred with the same old Obama basting...write Hillary in, his an empty suit, Hillary or McCain, Michelle is scary, his a muslin...and on and on.....Guess what tools; NOT THIS TIME.

    July 2, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Charlotte

    Obama never did anything to help the people of Chicago. He was too busy planning his next move to the US Senate. He did help the slum lords, the likes of Tony Rezko. Did he help stop the violence in the streets of Chicago? What has he done that really improved anything? He sits on the fence on the issues, by not voting. Does he ever take a firm stand? Registering voters is pretty easy, getting them to actually vote is another matter. Of those 150 thousand, how many showed up to vote? He headed the group, how many did he personally register? I don't like Michelle at all, and he is such a flip-flopper I don't know where he really stands on anything. Today is one stance, tomorrow is another. I will write Hillary Clinton on my ballot in November, if not, I'll vote for McCain.

    July 2, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. JSAM

    How do you "create" new volunteer opportunities. I have no interest in this government sponsored volunteer program. What starts off as a volunteer program eventually becomes mandatory. People including myself volunteer for church organizations and local community groups all the time without any help from Mr Obama. And before you call me a racist or some other silliness I am a 26 year old African American.

    July 2, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Jason

    Where is all the money coming from to double the size of everything. We need fiscal responsibility and there is no way he can get 25% of his promises done in this economic climate. Pandering to no end and endless spending proposals is reckless. Everyone saying he can fix the economy has not taken a basic economics course because the economy does not get fixed by increases taxes and spending more government money on outlying programs that have nothing to do with infrastucture.

    July 2, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. INDEPENDENT WHITE WOMAN FOR OBAMA

    (CNN) — Continuing his week-long focus on patriotism and national service, Sen. Barack Obama will lay out a plan Wednesday to create new volunteer and service opportunities to address some of the nation's most pressing challenges........You know this GUY is ready on DAY 1..............The Media, McCain and Others beat up on him and his WIFE DAILY..... and he is still Standing ......sticking to WHAT really Matters.........It.is in his HEART to become PRESIDENT not for FAME he LOVES AMERICA !!!

    CNN PLZ POST

    July 2, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. CITIZENS FOR AMERICA FIRST

    GOD HEARD OUR PRAYER, WHEN HE SENT THIS YOUNG

    MAN TO US. WE HAVE LOST OUR PLACE & WAY. WE CAN'T

    LEAD THE WORLD IF OUR OWN PEOPLE & NATION IN

    FINANCIAL & MORAL DISTRESS. WE NEED TO STRAIGHTEN

    OUT OUR OWN HOUSE FIRST.

    AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS FOR AMERICANS, FIRST.

    July 2, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. trudy

    i loved Obama from Day one , he will be the Best President , i cant wait ,untill i see him in the White House

    July 2, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Venus

    Way to go Bam! You are going to be a great president!
    Obama '08! It's going to be great!

    July 2, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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