President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney courted the country music vote Wednesday night, both making appearances in the opening segment of the CMT Music Awards.
The video featured a faux news report in which the show's co-hosts - actress Kristen Bell and country star Toby Keith - refuse to share the stage, prompting a campaign between the two over who will win the spotlight.
Included in the mock news story were interviews with actor Matthew McConaughey, journalist Steve Kroft and rocker Jon Bon Jovi, all of whom debated the choice between Bell and Keith.
"As they say, as country goes, so goes the country," Bon Jovi said, tweaking a famous political phrase about the swing state of Ohio.
The segment then switched to Obama, seen staring pensively out an Oval Office window as someone off camera asks with urgency, "Mr. President, do you have a decision?"
Turning to the camera, Obama replied, "This is one of the toughest decisions I've had to make since I've been in office. But I think I've decided."
He then walked to his desk, leaned over an official-looking document and circled both names on the sheet of paper.
"I want them both," he said.
The segment immediately cut to Romney, who was staring into the camera with a giant Texas flag hanging behind him. (The presumptive GOP nominee has been campaigning in the Lone Star State this week.)
"Boy, I thought the presidential election was a tough race, but it's nothing compared to the politics at the CMT Music Awards," Romney said.
Offering a solution, he proposed that both Bell and Keith host the show.
"See, I just put two people back to work," he joked. "You're welcome, America."
After the candidate cameos, the story line turned to reveal that the race between Bell and Keith had turned "negative."
The segment aired a Bell opposition ad against Keith, slamming him for such crimes as having all-ivory teeth, leaving the toilet seat up and forgetting to call his mom on Mother's Day.
Meanwhile, Keith's attack ad against Bell hit her for telling lies - as an actress.
After some final input from none other than country legend Willie Nelson, the actress and the musician agreed to take on the show together.
In a nod to Keith's 2011 hit, the pair arrived on stage in a giant red Solo cup.