Candidates Encourage Community Service

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Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are encouraging more Americans to step up and volunteer for community service.

The candidates came together for the "ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum" held at Columbia University in New York.

The forum was organized by ServiceNation, a coalition of organizations dedicated to solving problems through civic service.

The candidates appeared separately and were questioned on their views of the meaning and importance of service.

Obama has promised that a call to service would be a cornerstone of his presidency. He wants to spend $3.5 billion to expand government service programs like the Peace Corps and Americorps.

"I want every young person around the country to recognize they will not fulfill their full potential until they hitch their wagon to something bigger," Obama said.

McCain agrees that the government should ask more Americans to serve. But he says he does not want to create more government bureaucracy in the process.

"Let's not have government do things that the private sector can do," McCain said.

"Americans are so frustrated now with our government -- 84 percent of the American people think the country's headed in the wrong direction," he said. "The approval rating of Congress is down to 9 percent, I believe, down to blood relatives and paid staffers ... and this is an opportunity to lead the nation and talk to the American people and reform our government and ask for more service."

Both candidates say part of their plan will include encouraging more Americans to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Sources: CBN News, Columbia University

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