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Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's shrewd CMT Music Awards video
By pretaping tongue-in-cheek cameos for the country music awards, the presidential rivals strategically woo heartland voters
Demonstrating passable comic timing, Mitt Romney loosens up during a pre-taped sketch which aired during last night's CMT Music awards.
Demonstrating passable comic timing, Mitt Romney loosens up during a pre-taped sketch which aired during last night's CMT Music awards.
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he video: Looks like it takes country music to unite President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The rivals both made cameos in a pretaped segment that opened Wednesday night's CMT Music Awards. (Watch video below.) The sketch documents a faux-spat between co-hosts Kristen Bell and Toby Keith, who each declare their desire to host the awards show alone and swap election-style "attack ads" to bring each other down. Asked to choose his favorite of the two, President Obama says with mock-seriousness: This is "one of the toughest decisions I've had to make since I've been in office," before circling both hosts' names on a ballot. "I want them both." Romney then follows Obama's lead, suggesting that Bell and Keith host together, deadpanning, "See, I just put two people back to work. You're welcome, America."

The reaction: This lame video is a real swing and a miss, says Lisa de Moraes at The Washington Post. "Note to presidential candidates in 2016: Demand better writers." Still, Romney probably benefits most from the bit, says Alex Biles at Business Insider, which lets audiences "witness a more loose side of the likely Republican nominee." Surprisingly, he "delivered his punch line pretty well," says Brett Smiley at New York. But let's call this what it is: A shrewd political move for both Obama and Romney, says Trip Gabriel at The New York Times. "It would be hard to find a better demographic for a presidential candidate than the heartland fans of country." See for yourself:

 
Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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