- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama kicked off a nationwide volunteer program Monday with an advertising campaign aimed at what the Presidential Inaugural Committee characterized as a “new spirit of service in America.”

The TV and radio ad campaign, a public service announcement that also appears online on YouTube, is part of the “Renew America Together” initiative that Mr. Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden have been promoting for several weeks. The initiative begins on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 19.

The ad campaign features Mr. Obama asking Americans in two separate spots in English and Spanish to log on to USAService.org to learn how they can serve their communities by choosing among nearly 6,000 volunteer projects nationwide that are listed on the Web site.

“The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Advertising Council launched [Monday] a new public service advertising campaign aimed at summoning a new spirit of service in America,” a joint statement said.

The Ad Council is distributing the radio and TV ads to stations nationwide this week. The airtime will be donated, it said.

“President-elect Obama believes each of us, as Americans, has a responsibility to do what we can for our communities and fellow citizens,” Josh Earnest, the inaugural committee’s communications director, said in a statement.

“We’ve launched USAService.org to connect volunteer organizations with Americans in their community and make it easier to serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and beyond,” he said.

The 34-second TV ad is a black-and-white montage of photos of Americans working together in service to others. It opens with an image of part of the star field of a waving American flag.

Two side-by-side photos show profiles of Dr. King standing before thousands of people in Washington, possibly on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he gave his “I have a dream” speech Aug. 28, 1963.

Mr. Obama opens the ad saying, “America’s greatness was not crafted in skyscrapers alone…But on the ground by those who could see what needed to be done.”

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