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Obama promotes large-scale volunteerism

July 3, 2008 at 10:42 AM

COLORADO SPRINGS, July 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama urged his audience "to do your part" and volunteer for national service, pledging to expand opportunities for those who heed his call.

The call for volunteerism is part of Obama's campaign on themes and in areas that are traditionally Republican strongholds, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Obama spoke of patriotism in Missouri, pledged to grow federal assistance to faith-based service groups in Ohio and called for national service in Colorado.

"That's what history calls us to do, because loving your country shouldn't just mean watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. Loving your country must mean accepting your responsibility to do your part to change it," the likely Democratic presidential nominee told an audience at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Obama's $3.5 billion-a-year plan, among other things, would expand the AmeriCorps and Peace Corps programs, create an Energy Corps for energy and environmental-cleanup projects, and offer $4,000 to college students for 100 hours of public service.

Several normally Republican states have changed politically, the Illinois senator said, which could benefit Democrats in the general election, The New York Times reported.

Obama told a crowd at a fundraiser he and former President Bill Clinton discussed the changing political landscape in states such as Colorado.

"He said, 'When I ran the first time, it would have been tough to win if (third-party candidate) Ross Perot hadn't been in the race, but you've seen a seismic shift in attitudes here,'" Obama said.

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