Hickenlooper leans away from 2016, while Rove leans in

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday at the Aspen Ideas Festival that he does not plan on running for president in 2016. “I have no interest in running in 2016, just so that we are absolutely clear,” Hickenlooper said in response to a question from interviewer Derek Thompson, business editor at The Atlantic. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was elected to a four-year term as governor in 2010 after serving as Denver’s mayor for almost eight years. “I’m amazed I got elected governor,” he said during a question-and-answer session at the Aspen Meadows restaurant. “We’ll see what happens in the re-election.”

The question to Hickenlooper sounded relevant in the context of other discussions on Thursday.

Ideas Fest on the concept of national service

The first “big idea” to be rolled at out at the ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival, which started on the Aspen Institute campus Wednesday afternoon, is the notion of creating a national service program in America that would attract one million young people annually. The Institute has created a new policy program around the idea of giving Americans a way to serve their country for a year — for a modest stipend — without volunteering to join the military. “The idea in this is to stop defining service as only someone who wears a uniform,” said Stanley McChrystal, a retired four-star Army general and former commander of troops in Afghanistan. “What we’re really talking about is culture change.”

McChrystal raised the idea of creating a national service campaign during last year’s Ideas Festival and has been working on the concept with the Institute since then. He was part of a panel on the topic Wednesday along with John Bridgeland, author of a forthcoming book on volunteering in America called “Heart of the Nation.”

In a recent op-ed piece for Politco, Bridgeland said a new national service program “should mean a period of full-time national service as a rite of passage for every young American, ages 18 to 28.”

Service would not be mandatory, and it could include the military, but it would also include the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or programs such as Teach for America.