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. Irene

    It is funny ti read all of the obamabots posts that continue to support their "great leader". He spent the entire primary season. saying that Hillary was a politician that would say anything to get elected and he was different. Isn't that a laugh. He is the politician who will do anything and say anything to get elected. He is bobing and weaving so hard I'm surprised he does not sprain his back. He lied all the way through the primary season. So has John McCain. I don't trust either one of them. It is a sad commentary for America that these are the two candidates for President. I believed in Hillary. but now I don't believe in any of them. It doesn't matter who I vote for. Neither one will help the American people. They will only help themselves and big business. Obama was a hope. He no longer is. I think I'll stay home for the first time in 25 yrs and will become an independent.

    July 2, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. enomisa

    This is the Election year when NO democrat could lose.
    This is the Election year when NO Republican can win.

    That is why the DNC thought that EVEN Obama- with no experience, no service to country, no qualifications and with dubious connections to questionable people (Rezko, Ayers, Wright)- WOULD win.

    They saw it as a golden opportunity to advance their left wing agenda, and to make history with the first African American President.

    The line of reasoning was: Americans will all go to the voting booth and look for the big "D". As if the candidate did not matter at all.

    July 2, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Peter E

    Curious... when Bush laid out plans to expand service, whether it be community programs or military service the democrats criticized him of being a fascist. They criticized him of sticking the government's nose into every aspect of our lives.
    Now that Obama lays out a plan that looks eerily similar he's being a 'leader' and 'visionary?'
    Blind-sight is 0/0!

    July 2, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. AMGC

    A way for the everyday person to make a real impact, by expanding these programs and participating. Yes, a president CAN motivate people to get involved. And not just to speak up, but to act. *applaud*

    July 2, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. dave g, Minneapolis

    That's a 6% increase in active duty military personnel. Is he planning on staying in Iraq for 100 years or just invading Iran?

    July 2, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. puff

    Didn't Hitler do this too?? Wake up everyone. I am so sick of this guy I wish he would just go away. Kick him to the curb America, he will ruin this country. He will say and do anything to get elected but it is NOT going to work.
    PUMA

    July 2, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Len in Washington

    You have to give this Campaign credit for "Site Selection" for this speech.
    Colorado Springs....at the base of Pikes Peak where the wonderful song "America" was written. "...and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea" would seem appropriate.

    Let's all come together and stop the squabbling and name calling.

    July 2, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Neal

    National Service, is important. Everyone in America should 'work' for the government at one time in their life. This way we can remember that it is OUR government, not theirs (the rich pigs ruining it).

    July 2, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. al

    **********************************************

    MAN OF IDEAS.

    UNLIKE THE CURRENT ONE WHO MADE HIS WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE BY LIES , DECIET, COERSION WHICH WHAT WE GOT DURING HIS TERM. THE SMIRKING BOY BUSH WITH HIS GREEDY GROUCHY SIDEKICK CHENEY. UNLESS YOU WANT A CONTINUATION OF THE DYNAMIC DOO-DOO'S POLICY WITH MCCAIN OR SEE THE LIGHT AND CHANGE.

    STOP THE MADNESS. VOTE OBAMA.

    July 2, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Obama mirrors the brillance and diligence of this great nation. He will jump start this great sleeping Giant. Americans will reclaim the torch of progress and hope that we have been encouraged to stiffle over the last 40 years. GO OBAMA

    July 2, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Ahmed from Middle East

    So America is going to "volunteer and service opportunity" itself to be better? What we want is for you to relax and never mind my backpack. Please, please, please elect Mr Obama – he is our friend!

    July 2, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. 2012

    "Enabling more Americans to serve in the armed forces".

    Some of you babies are gonna get quite a shock when you find out what that really means.......lmao!

    July 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Lisa

    That's all I'm saying stick to the issues that matter. John McCain wants to continually talk about non issues such as his career as a military person. Great job Obama.

    July 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Judy in the heartland

    Yes, yes, yes cheers for our next President...Barack Obama!
    Call us to action! We need to be able to stand tall in the world arena again and the only way we can do that is to first stand tall at home. He'll make a great president . And for all of those that dis Michelle Obama...she's beautiful, intelligent, a great wife and mother and stands with her husband. You can't ask for more in a First Lady.
    Change...it's gonna come

    July 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Truth be told

    Obama has no resume, no experience, has never done anything( but deliver prepared speeches well) for his country and has absolutely no track record or qualifications for president.

    That means Obama was NEVER electable.

    But because this is the year when Democrats can't lose- and the out of favor Republican brand cant' WIN- Oprah, Caroline, Michael Moore, democratic celebrities, the media and the DNC all decided to eliminate the BEST Democratic Candidate (HRC) out of the race just to clear the way for Obama.

    These blogs were all filled with vile, filthy, vulgar hatred of HRC and her supporters.

    Everyone posted how ANY democrat could win this election and how Obama could sleep walk his way into the white house. Why? Well because the country is in such a bad way, Bush is the most unpopular president ever, The republicans are out of favor, there is a unpopular war, a trashed economy, a broken nation, AND a poor Republican Candidate.

    Yet, Obama is SO bad that he may actually lose a shoe-in Election for the democrats.

    July 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. leadership

    wow!!! A leader advocating community responsibilty and sacrifice for our nation, for something other than oil and his pocketbook! He's got my vote.

    July 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Obama or Bust

    For the complainers who want plans – here they are. Obama is more than just speeches. Say what you will about his lack of experience – the mad has the ideas AND the ambition to put them into action. He also has the support of millions of Americans. Obama stands for change, but it won't be him who causes the change – it will be all the Americans he has inspired who make things happen.

    I can think of no better reason to support Obama – this IS a movement.

    July 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Rick

    This idiot just can't have a big enough government. What a fool! When will the dems ever understand that there is no more poorly organized, poorly managed and poorly operated entity than the government. The less they are involved in, the better off we are.

    July 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. RSR

    More empty promises & hot air from the empty suit. Obama HAS NOT elaborated in detail on any of his plans. His only real plan is to 'say anything, do anything' just to get elected! He is the 'Pied-Piper' of America leading the uninformed into the abiss. Do you really know anything about this guy? Oh yeah, ask him who he plans to pay the 845 BILLION dollars in taxes? YOU. Get informed, goggle in: 'Obama's Global Poverty Plan'. Learn about this 'Tax' on Americans. And how he plans to give the sovereignty of America away and make us subordinate to United Nations doctrines. This is real, this is Senate Bill: S.2433. Obama has already sold the USA down the crapper. Read about it, and learn the thruth...as I did.

    July 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. ET from OMAHA

    I don't like politicians because they are all lyers but at least I see OBAMA as someboby I can trust in this 21st century to put AMERICA back on the right track compare to an old man with old mentalities.
    Don't be supprise that the Media will make big deal of ANY racial (Black in America comming soon, National anthem sing by a black woman, fiss bump, some other nonsense) issues and play it over and over to try to divide us one more time and make people vote against their own economical interest. CNN you can't fool me.

    July 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Catty

    And the best part???

    All these new or increased programs are funded by the american taxpayer!!

    Our own modern day Robin hood...take from the wealthy (the hard working american) and give to the government!

    July 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Down with Obama

    I think Obama should be one of the first to join his service plan and join the Marines and go to Iraq!!

    July 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. larry buchas

    CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN. SIGN ME UP!

    This is more than a campaign. It's a movement everyone can believe in. Not the same old politics!

    Even republicans with good morals must agree.

    July 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. NGU SIMON MBUH

    AS A CAMEROONIAN INTERESTED IN THIS ELECTION, FOLOWING OBAMA OVER THE NET AND TV MAKES ME LOOK AT HIM WITH ADMIRATION. AS FOR MCCAIN I WILL LIKE TO LET KNOW HIM THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE YEARS TO LEARN HOW TO DRIVE A CAR JUST BECAUSE SOMEBODY TOOK YEARS TO CONCIVE IT.

    July 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Concerned Democrat

    Isn't this just expanding upon ideas already put into place by Former President Clinton? How is this change? It just seems that he takes good ideas from other people and says he will expand them. How are we going to pay for these programs? What we he cut to find the money to expand these programs? These are the questions that he never seems to answer.

    July 2, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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