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. randy

    Obama will make on on great president i am so going to vote for him.

    July 2, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Chuck

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

    July 2, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. DD, New York

    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 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Frank

    What's next?? The Obama Youth organization?? By attending your church for twenty plus years Obama you have been a part of providing acceptance of America and racial bigotry! Do not preach anything to me you fool!

    July 2, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Shawn NJ

    Where do I sign up?

    July 2, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Michelle

    Even when Obama states "plans"–they are very vague.

    They are more like wishful thinking.

    He doesn't get into specifics or tell HOW exactly he will accomplish these "goals."

    Obama just says things that "sound good."

    Do I trust Obama to get the job done? No.

    He has NO legislative accomplishments. He is a talker not a do-er.

    July 2, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Puma pac er

    N better time than now for an unqualified candidate with no experience and no mandate to take over the white house.

    That was the thinking of the left wingers when they demanded that Obama be installed as nominee-

    That was the fuel behind the Hillary hate and the raping of HRC just to advance the weak and suspicious candidate, Obama.

    No one knows him, he has not built up any track record for us to trust. He changes his positions daily, he acts cocky and boastful just like Bush, wears his faith on his sleeve just like Bush, will say or do anything just to win. Ran a sleazy, race-baiting, hateful campaign of destroy the other candidate of your own party.

    But heck, the Nation is a mess, so lets just vote for Obama ANYway.

    You all created a Nov loss for the democrats in a year when that should have been impossible.

    Dirty politics backfire in the end.

    The Democratic party will suffer for decades from this travesty of justice.

    July 2, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Becky

    All who have served and are currently serving in Iraq will be honored. For people to say that if we pull out of Iraq, that they will no longer be honored is absurd. I support the troops in that I don't want anymore to die for such a questionable cause. Osama Bin Laden will probably die of natural causes at this point.

    July 2, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Ed, Fl

    He sounds s presidential. He will be one of our best visionnary president that America has ever seen.
    OBAMA 08

    July 2, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Mark

    This guy does have a vision – and it seems to be a great one!

    July 2, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Michelle

    I find it hypocritical for Obama to talk about service to others.

    He helped the slumlords get rich while his poor constituents
    suffered in deplorable conditions.

    July 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Growl on PUMAS

    God don't like UGLY....

    Apparently millions of regular lifelong democrats don't either.

    The price to pay for installing an unfit nominee over the BEST candidate the party had to offer..... a loss in NOV? A divided party for years?

    There are consequences for every deed. Obama, his campaign, his celebrity followers, his adoring cult worshippers, the biased media- all played a role in destroying our democratic principles and ideals this year. There will be consequences for swaying, fixing the primary.

    July 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. David Illinois

    Wow!!!!!! Another idea stolen from Bill Clinton. Notice how the race is getting tighter the more Obama speaks. running to the center won't save him or the party.This man has no shame. He will say anything, steal anything and throw anyone under his "no longer useful" bus. Wake up Dems. You are giving this election to the Republicans.

    July 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Glen in Maryland

    For those who think it's a choice between inspiration and action, here's your answer. Americans will do great things when given the opportunity to focus their energies.

    July 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. William, from Cali!

    Hindsight is 20/20............................................It takes a "visionary" to see, far into. the future...........and as we all know; that can be very dangerous, as well as costly............... (politically, incorrect).................Just ask, G.W. Bush

    July 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. adam

    a politician challenging a Americans to serve each other

    July 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama is absolutely correct and we as Americans need to reevaluate ourselves and what the future looks like for our beloved children. How did we allow George W. Bush, in eight years, destroy everything we have worked for. How can we allow John McCain to continue Bush's destruction, it doesn't make sense.

    July 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Socialist?

    Can we get more socialistic than this man?

    The government is not our parents. We don't need it to tell us what to do, when to do it, and how it can be done. Freedom is the American way, not strict regulations that "make" everyone equal by putting us all at the lowest common denominator.

    July 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Veteran for McCain

    No really, so he will say " "We were ready to step into the strong current of history, and to answer a new call for our country. But the call never came,"? SO now we are supposed to just sit back and wait to be asked for our support? I'm sorry, but I picked up the phone and donated $ without being asked, then I started collecting items for our church so that we could send it to the firefighters and police who were searching the rubble. That is the problem with LIBS you always a reason, or excuse, for not doing something that you should of been doing in the first place!!!!

    Give me a break Obama!!!

    July 2, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    What a crock! What service did this callow young fellow ever perform?

    July 2, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. mj

    Great ideas–I don't think anyone can find fault with this, regardless of who you support.

    July 2, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Franky

    By the way, I don't need "training." Just send me where you need me, LOL!!

    July 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Irony

    The history making:

    For the first time, Millions of democrats CAN NOT and WILL NOT vote for the nominee of their own party.

    For the first time in decades or a lifetime of voting, democrats will defect from their own party.

    Ironically in a year where THAT should be inconceivable.

    Just because the least qualified and the most dangerous, the least trusted,and the most radical, the least accomplished and inexperienced DEMOCRATIC candidate was chosen, selected and installed by celebrities, the media and the DNC. OVER the will and the votes of the majority of the democratic party base.

    Wow! who'd have thunk it possible. Stage a coup and install a left wing socialist dictator JUST because America is ripe for the takeover.

    July 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Typical White Person

    Islamic extremists want to destroy the west...

    The north pole may be free of ice for the first time in recorded history...

    Energy prices are skyrocketing...

    American schools are falling behind other industrialized nations...

    ...And Obama's big plan is to expand the Peace Corps and "engage disadvantaged young people".

    July 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Now 900+ comments on fist bumping...

    July 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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